As of April 15, 2019, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s Global Growth Fund is no longer accepting funding applications. Both programs managed through the program, including Export Market Access (EMA) and the Export Manager Program (EMP), are fully subscribed and unlikely to re-open under these naming conventions. While provincial export-oriented funding programs may be available in the future, businesses should direct all current funding applications towards federal export grants.
From 2014-2016, Export Market Access helped 423 Ontario companies generate $89 million in export sales by de-risking export market entry strategies including trade show participation.
In the absence of these two Ontario government funding programs, businesses are encouraged to apply for federal grants and incentives instead. While nothing is available federally to replace the Export Manager Program, companies seeking trade show and marketing support should explore the CanExport and AgriMarketing programs. Whereas CanExport is generally open to most businesses with 1-500 full-time employees, AgriMarketing is only open to agriculture and agri-food businesses with fewer than 250 employees.
Closed: Export Market Access and Export Manager Program
The recent closure of Export Market Access and the Export Manager Program came as a shock to many Ontario businesses who’ve tapped into the programs. EMA supported hundreds of businesses to reach new markets each year, while EMP encouraged the hiring of an experienced export professional who could help spur revenue in foreign markets. Together, these programs bolstered the ability of businesses to succeed internationally.
Applications will no longer be accepted for either program, and applications that were in review are likely to be rejected. Previously approved projects will still have access to funding and need to report their outcomes once the project is complete.
Export Market Access (EMA) Grants
The Export Market Access program helped businesses participate in trade shows, develop marketing tools for foreign audiences, perform market research, and bid on foreign projects. Applicants could receive up to 50% of eligible project expenses to a maximum $50,000 per application, and companies could apply twice per 12-month period to a lifetime maximum $250,000.
Export Manager Program (EMP) Grants
The Export Manager Program provided funding for hiring an Export Manager or International Business Development Manager to help develop a business’ international revenue streams. Applicants could receive up to 50% of the new hire’s salary to a maximum $40,000 per year for a maximum of two years, offering a total value of up to $80,000 per company.
Open: CanExport and AgriMarketing Funding
Although those two Ontario government funding programs no longer accept applications, there are Canadian government grants for exporting that can provide similar support. The CanExport and AgriMarketing programs closely resemble the Export Market Access program, which makes it easier to pivot your EMA project towards available export grants.
The CanExport program is a government funding mechanism that supports export marketing projects including participation in trade shows and government-led trade missions. A wide range of businesses can access its funding to target international markets where less than $20,000 or 10% of total international sales have been generated over the previous 24 months.
CanExport grants offer up to 25-50% of eligible project costs to a maximum $50,000 per project. Up to two applications can be submitted per government fiscal year to a maximum $99,999.
To qualify for CanExport funding, companies must maintain 1-500 full-time employees, not be in the agricultural or agri-food sector (see program below if you are), earn annual revenues of $100k to $100M, be federally incorporated, and generate eligible project expenses of at least $20k.
AgriMarketing is like CanExport in terms of the projects it offers funding towards, but the type of applicant it seeks is quite different. The program supports food and beverage businesses performing international expansion projects, including trade shows and related marketing activities. As part of the Canadian Agricultural Partnership suite of funding programs, AgriMarketing manages a pool of funding that will last until 2023.
Businesses may receive up to 50% of eligible project expenses to a maximum $50,000 per application. Companies can apply multiple times to a maximum $50,000 annually or $250,000 over the program’s lifetime.
To qualify for AgriMarketing export market development grants, agricultural producers and processors must perform prior market research to identify an opportunity-rich target market, maintain fewer than 250 employees, and earn less than $50M in annual revenue. Those interested in learning more about eligible trade shows and international marketing events can read Mentor Works’ blog on Export Trade Shows for Canadian Businesses.
Discover Export Grants and Funding for Global Expansion
The Canadian government funding landscape is constantly evolving. For many business leaders, this creates confusion and can impact project plans. Mentor Works helps clarify government funding trends and can show your business additional grants and loans that can help support your strategic projects. We communicate these program changes to our clients as soon as possible and educate the public through written content and through interactive business funding events.
Register for a Canadian government funding event to learn more about export grants and additional business expansion opportunities.