Expanding your business into international markets might seem daunting, which is why the government provides export grants and other types of support to help businesses grow overseas.
Markets are more global now than ever before, and if you don’t get in on that, you might be missing out on valuable opportunities!
And while it may be a bit of a process to qualify and apply to grants for exporting, isn’t it worth taking that one extra step that could see your business soar?
Exporting Incentives Available Across Canada
When you succeed, Canada succeeds. That explains why the federal government has a variety of different programs geared toward helping Canadian organizations achieve their goals, make international connections, and expand into international markets.
Take advantage of these programs to get in on the action as the world connects as it never has before. Who’s to say what you can achieve internationally until you try?
Export Grants for Businesses
The purpose of the National Industry Association component of the AgriMarketing Program is to help nonprofit groups in any of the agriculture sectors, including fish and seafood, deliver their product to an international market and identify any additional export opportunities.
Your organization could find itself with funding of up to $10 million over 5 years if you qualify for this grant, but you should know you will have to cover 50% of that.
So, do you qualify? Absolutely, if you operate in any agricultural sector, if you exist solely for the benefit of others (or pleasure/recreation), if you’re a legal body able to enter into agreements, and if you’re a member of the Canada Brand Initiative.
One more thing: your organization can operate nationwide or regionally, but if your sphere is regional, you’ll have to prove you’re able to deliver on a national basis.
If this sounds perfect for your group, you can easily apply by downloading and filling out the application form, the signature page (only to be sign by an authorized representative) and then submitting it online along with all the necessary supporting documents. These are the documents you’ll need to attach to the form:
- 1a copy of your Certificate of Incorporation or Articles of Incorporation
- 22 years of financial statements
- 3project endorsement letters and/or letters of support (this isn’t mandatory)
- 4the National Industry Association Component Questionnaire
- 5your membership listing
If you’d like to apply for this program, make sure you give them a call first at 1-877-246-4682 because it’s a popular program. But if you’d just like more information, you can download the applicant guide or get in touch with them in one of these ways:
Or by mail at
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
AgriMarketing Program – NIA
1341 Baseline Road
Tower 7, Floor 6, Room 215
Ottawa, ON K1A 0C5
Otherwise, you can apply for this program whenever you’re ready, but be aware they’re only accepting applications until September 30, 2022, or sooner if the funds run dry.
This is the same program as above only geared toward SMEs. It aims to offer funding to help your company put third-party assurance certification projects into action. By doing this, the Canadian Agricultural Partnership hopes to expand Canada’s agricultural export opportunities.
You could qualify for $50,000 in funding (half of which you have to provide yourself) if your company is an SME of any sort or an Indigenous group, part of any agriculture sector, including fish and seafood, and as a legal organization, can participate in legally binding agreements.
This program even allows you to fund more than one project! However, your total funding can’t be more than $100,000.
Just make sure your business is directly part of growing, harvesting, or processing (or some other part of the agricultural process such as transforming or consolidating products); is incorporated; has 250 employees or less; and has finished its market research and is ready to export.
Once you’ve gotten to that point and think you qualify, give them a call at 1-877-246-4682 to make sure you can apply. This program too faces a lot of demand. Then you can simply download and fill out the application form and send it in online with your supporting documents. Double-check that you have all these things before you hit Submit:
If you’d like some guidance on completing the application form, download the applicant guide they’ve put together for you. Alternatively, if you’d just like to ask some questions, here’s how you can do so:
Or by mail at
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
AgriMarketing Program – SME
1341 Baseline Road
Tower 7, Floor 6, Room 215
Ottawa, ON K1A 0C5
Did you know that only 16% of Canadian SMEs are women owned, and that number drops by half when considering SMEs with more than 100 employees? And yet if that number increased by just 10%, the financial benefit to Canada would total $198 billion!
That’s a strong argument for investing in women-owned businesses. So, while they’re not offering a grant per se, Export Development Canada is offering to invest in businesses owned and/or led by women that either already export or are nearly ready to do so.
Though you’ll eventually have to pay these funds back over time from any profit you make, this could be just the opportunity you need to get your business off the ground—or take it into the stratosphere!
So if your company meets those 2 criteria, contact an EDC trade advisor now at 1-888-434-8508. You can apply anytime, so there’s no need to wait!
You can also call 1-888-220-0047 or email them with questions about this or other investment programs they offer.
Is increasing your international market opportunities on your wish list this year? Does it seem like expanding your export capacity is just too daunting?
If you’re a Canadian SME with an exportation project in mind, then you’re in luck. This is the program for you.
If you’re an LLP or are incorporated, have a CRA business number, less than 500 full-time employees, and claimed between $100,000 and $100 million in revenue last year, get your application in for this program.
You could get funding from $15,000 to $75,000 for eligible international market development projects expected to cost between $20,000 and $100,000. You can even choose up to 5 international markets to expand into that you currently have little or no presence in. Total funding for this program will cover up to 75% of total project costs.
There are plenty of costs associated with international market development that are deemed eligible, such as travel, expert advice, market research, and taking part in trade fairs, so give this program a shot.
It’s as easy as applying online, and you can do so at any time because there are no deadlines for this one. If you have questions or want more details, check out the FAQs. And should you need a little guidance with the application process, take a look at the applicant guide.
Should you still have questions, go ahead and send them an email. Be aware they receive a lot of emails though because the program is so popular, so make sure you check the FAQs and applicant guide first as they’ll only answer questions that haven’t previously been addressed in those.
This program is the same as the one above, yet different. Rather than being aimed at helping SMEs expand their international market opportunities, this one targets Canadian bilateral chambers of commerce
and business councils, national industry or trade associations, national horizontal/multisectoral organizations, and sometimes, regional sectoral industry associations with a national perspective.
So apply for this grant if you’d like to create or further expand your association’s opportunities in international markets. Just be sure you meet these eligibility criteria:
- 1You’re incorporated.
- 2You don’t directly sell products sold by your members.
- 3You have enough financial resources from private revenues to cover your share.
- 4You’ve submitted financial statements for the past 2 years.
- 5You’ve shown the managerial and marketing capabilities needed for the proposed project.
- 6You don’t have access to other federal contribution programs with similar objectives like the ones listed in this article.
- 7You aren’t completely funded by government sources.
If you’ve made it through the elimination list, then you could get up to $400,000 to cover up to 75% of the costs associated with expanding international development opportunities for your association.
You do have time to plan out your projects for next year with your members however because they are no longer accepting applications, but keep checking back because after March 31, 2020, they will be looking forward once again.
When that time comes and you’re ready to apply, send them an email. Once they’ve determined you’re eligible, they’ll send you a link to their online application system.
For more information, check out the FAQs or get in touch with them by mail:
Global Affairs Canada
125 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0G2
Export Loans for Businesses
Speaking of other programs from Export Development Canada, here’s one that could help you grow your business.
The Export Guarantee Program isn’t quite a loan program, but it may just be the missing piece that helps you get that loan you need for working capital or get you a larger loan.
How does it work then? What the program does is offer to share the risk with your bank. If you qualify, the program will give your bank a guarantee on the money you borrow, which makes it more likely you’ll get that loan or that you’ll be able to access an amount you didn’t think you could get but need.
To qualify, you only need to be a Canadian business, a good credit risk, and have exported any goods or services or a combination of both sometime in the last year.
And applying is easy too! Just fill in the application form, have the borrower fill in the Borrower Profile and sign it and the application form (use the link in the document), and send those along with the other required documents to EDC online. The other documents you’ll need to send in include a copy of the fully executed loan agreement,
financial statements for the last 2 or 3 years, depending on your situation, interim financial statements if necessary in your case, and if the financing is only for a single contract, a copy of that contract.
Don’t hesitate to contact EDC for more details about the Export Guarantee Program. Give them a call at 1-844-889-5906 or email your questions.
Here we have yet another program from Export Development Canada. As opposed to the previous one, this one is a Direct Lending program.
It’s as simple as it sounds: if you’re an export-heavy business—big or small—then EDC wants to offer you a secure loan to help you achieve your international expansion plans.
This is often a better way to go than working with a bank simply because Export Development Canada is more likely to be able to and want to take a risk than a bank. So if you want, or need, to grow your business, get in touch with them first. They have a variety of different types of loans to suit you such as bilateral loans, club deals, or syndicated loans.
Contact EDC to learn more about the different loans and what they can do for your business.
This final program offered by Export Development Canada can give you the help you need to realize a global project requiring an enormous amount of capital. This is ideal when you’re dealing with billion-dollar projects or projects with lots of partners.
The Structured and Project Finance component of those programs offered by EDC includes access to international project experts to help you and offers funding for companies that export regularly and have global projects on a larger scale than usual in a number of sectors including industrial, infrastructure, utilities, and more.
This particular funding is designed specifically for long-term projects that require more capital than the majority of projects, such as those that bring in more than $50 million in revenue.
The Bottom line
While there isn’t a boatload of funding programs in the export world, there are still plenty to choose from, and more than certainly there’s one that could work for you.
Getting out into the big, wide world can be intimidating, but with the right support, it can be easier and more rewarding than you may think. You might be in just the right place right now to take your product, service, or process to a whole new level, and with the help of these programs, you may just find unexpected opportunities!
Infographic of 8 Exporting Incentives for Ontario Businesses
Maurice (Moe) Muise learned the ins-and-outs of government while an employee of the Government of Canada in Ottawa for 10 years. His current focus is helping small businesses in Ontario to identify and maximize government grants to grow their business.
Click here to learn more about Moe’s background and how he can help your business.