Export Market Access (EMA) is an Ontario government funding program that helps businesses enter and expand their market share in international markets. Companies can receive Ontario government grants to directly offset one-time, project-specific costs such as exhibiting at trade shows, performing in-market research, and upgrading e-commerce to serve a greater number of foreign clients.
Although the program has been very successful since its inception, some recent changes will improve the value it offers to businesses. EMA’s mid-2018 program update included the increase in funding possible per application, additional project/expense areas, and merger of Early-Stage Exporters (ESE) a startup funding program that offered grants to smaller exporters.
Effective immediately, Export Market Access offers up to 50% of eligible project expenses to a maximum $50,000 per application. Companies can apply twice per 12-month period.
These recent changes could impact the way your business uses the Export Market Access program. As such, this article evaluates EMA’s updates and suggests what your business can do to take advantage of them.
Export Market Access (EMA) Funding: Program Updates in 2018
The Export Market Access program is an Ontario government grant uniquely positioned to help companies gain or expand international market traction. Through the program, businesses can exhibit at public trade shows, execute marketing campaigns for foreign audiences, develop relevant e-commerce portals, and perform market research.
The program used to co-exist alongside the Early-Stage Exporters program, but they two funding initiatives have consolidated into one program.
There have been substantial changes to the EMA funding program in 2018.
Although Export Market Access is a well-known and used funding program, changes implemented earlier this year will strengthen the program and make it even more successful. Among these changes are:
- Changing the amount of funding provided per project, per year, and per company;
- Changing eligibility criteria support early-stage businesses; and
- Expanding and clarifying support for new activities.
Export Market Access Funding Amounts
EMA has increased its maximum funding request per application to $50,000, up from its previous maximum of $30,000. Companies can apply up to twice per year until they reach their lifetime maximum contribution of $250,000.
After the program’s revision, EMA now provides up to $50,000 per application.
These changes make EMA a more attractive program than ever before from a cost return prospect alone, however there are other improvements to the program as well.
EMA Eligibility Criteria
Because Export Market Access and Early Stage Exporters consolidated into one program, EMA now supports both early-stage businesses with proven revenue models as well as mature companies that were exploring international opportunities whereas EMA focused only on mature companies.
The updated Export Market Access program merges these two programs into one for more simplified application and funding administration process.
Accessing EMA grants for export development now requires companies to be incorporated for a minimum two years, have 3-500 employees, and generate $300,000 or more in annual revenue.
EMA Project Types
There are a range of export market development projects that companies have access EMA funding for. Not all these project types were explicitly eligible through EMA’s program guidelines before though, which meant not companies were aware that the projects could be included for support.
Revised EMA program guidelines have recently included in-market research, temporary in-market office space, and upgrading e-commerce capabilities as eligible activities.
Applicants can include up to three activities per application; this includes exhibition at foreign trade shows where company representatives can develop new leads.
Apply for Export Market Access Grants Ontario
If your business is ready to develop new markets or expand existing ones, consider using the Export Market Access program. EMA funding accelerates export projects by offsetting a portion of project expenses and enabling companies to invest more in their market development plans.
To explore if your upcoming project is a good fit for the Export Market Access program, please contact Mentor Works.
Posted: July 4, 2018 by Jeff Shepherd. Updated: July 4, 2018 by Jeff Shepherd.