Is Your Next Trade Show Eligible for Export Market Access Grants?

How to Qualify for Export Market Access Export Grants

Please Note: Export Market Access is now closed and not accepting further applications. For trade show grants and other forms of export support, learn more about the CanExport program.

Export Market Access (EMA) is an Ontario government funding program that helps small and medium-sized businesses expand their reach in international markets. Through the program, eligible Ontario-based companies may receive export grants to reduce the costs of traveling and participating in international trade shows.

Businesses are awarded up to 50% of eligible project costs to a maximum $50,000 per application. Up to three trade shows can be included per application.

To qualify for EMA Ontario export grants, businesses must maintain 3-500 employees, generate at least $300,000 in revenues annually, and be incorporated for at least two years at the time of application. Other eligibility criteria apply; continue reading this article to further explore whether your company, project, and proposed expenses are eligible for EMA funding support.

What is the Export Market Access Funding Program?

Export Market Access (EMA) is an Ontario government grant that offsets many of the costs commonly incurred when businesses attend international trade shows and/or government-led trade missions. This can include registration costs, airfare and per diems for up to two employees, and development of international marketing materials.

EMA funding supports up to 50% of project costs to a maximum $50,000 per application. Up to two applications can be submitted per 12-month timeframe.

Since EMA can support up to three trade shows per application, businesses should carefully construct an export market development plan that focuses on multiple trade shows; this will help optimize the application’s potential value. Applications are accepted on a continuous basis and businesses should apply well in advance (typically up to three months) before incurring costs for international events.

To learn more about Export Market Access funding, please read Mentor Works’ EMA overview blog.

EMA Export Market Development Grant: Is Your Business Eligible?

Export Market Access (EMA) grants may be awarded to established businesses that:

  • Are based in Ontario;
  • Make products or services in Ontario;
  • Employs between 3-500 full-time equivalent workers;
  • Are incorporated for at least two years; and
  • Generate annual revenues in excess of $300,000.

Types of Projects Eligible for Export Market Access Grants

The Export Market Access program is designed to support marketing projects which help businesses expand internationally and increase export sales. Examples of these projects include:

  • Acquiring direct contacts through trade shows or trade missions;
  • Creating marketing tools (resources) for foreign customers;
  • Conducting market research;
  • E-commerce integration;
  • Securing temporary in-market office space; and
  • Obtaining international product certification.

What Expenses can be Included for EMA Funding Applications?

Export Market Access may cover up to 50% of expenses related to:

  • Trade show booth and accessory rentals (ie. Carpet, cleaning, lighting, furniture);
  • Trade show marketing materials (including translation);
  • Economy airfare costs and up to $250 daily per diem allowance per representative (up to 2 eligible);
  • Freight costs associated with trade show materials, booth structure, etc.;
  • Product testing to achieve international certifications;
  • Development and adaptation of e-commerce tools;
  • Temporary in-market office space rental;
  • Consulting fees related to gathering market intelligence;
  • On-site translation services; and
  • Purchase of bid/tender documents.

Expenses Ineligible for EMA Ontario Export Grants

Some project expenses cannot be included for EMA export funding support. These ineligible expenses include:

  • Shipment of product samples for activities other than tradeshow promotion;
  • Travel of consultants or more than two company employees;
  • Travel costs within Canada;
  • Website hosting expenses;
  • Salaries (except eligible consulting fees);
  • Taxes;
  • Hospitality and entertainment;
  • Capital costs including office space, office equipment, computers, and trade show booth purchase;
  • Courier fees for marketing materials directly to recipients (ie. Post-show mailers);
  • Online marketing tool development outside of e-commerce, such as newsletters, blogs; and
  • Costs to modify products or packaging for foreign standards/preferences.

How to Apply for Export Market Access Trade Show Grants

To apply for Export Market Access, companies must develop a comprehensive application package which includes information about their chosen target market(s), activities, and budgeted expenses. These applications can be submitted year-round and are typically reviewed in 40-60 days from submission.

While airfare and booth rental expenses can be incurred ahead of approval from the program, applicants are advised to apply well in advance of their chosen international event(s).

To learn more about EMA’s eligibility and optimize the process of developing a government funding application, please contact Mentor Works.

Funding Funding Now, Contact Mentor Works

Posted: January 25, 2015 by Jeff Shepherd. Updated: June 19, 2018 by Jeff Shepherd.

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