The Government of Canada has several programs to help companies achieve various business goals, including expansion to international markets and generation of export revenue. This is the core value of the CanExport grant, one of the more popular grants in the country.

This article will try to provide all the essential details you should know about CanExport. If you need more information, you can talk to funding specialists from EVAMAX.

EVAMAX is one of the industry leaders in identifying and maximizing government grants for businesses across Canada.

What is the CanExport Grant?

CanExport is a government grant that provides financial aid and advisory services to help SMEs across Canada explore business development opportunities abroad.

It is designed for Canadian businesses to increase their presence in currently underdeveloped global markets.

For a foreign market to be considered viable, the sales generated in it by the applicant for the past 24 months must not exceed $100,000 or 10% of their total sales.

How Did COVID-19 Affect Its Implementation?

Grants involving travel are suspended for the time being. This includes trade shows, trade missions, and all visits to foreign markets. Support for these events will resume once travel restrictions are lifted.

If you have paid for an approved event and could not get a refund from the organizers, 75% of it will be reimbursed by CanExport SMEs.

If instead of a refund, the organizers offer credit for other events in the future, you can still claim this expense.

The COVID-19 situation is very fluid and could change at any given time. For the latest updates on CanExport and other government grants, you can reach out to EVAMAX.

Who Manages CanExport?

The program is managed by the Trade Commissioner Service (TCS) of Global Affairs Canada and the Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP).

The combined expertise of the two agencies allows them to deliver a wide range of services. This includes identifying all potential markets, international business partnerships, and opportunities that you would not think possible.

What Are the Sub-Programs and Their Funding Amounts?

CanExport SMEs is the most popular stream under the program. It offers up to $75,000 to eligible SMEs with export market development projects.

The Innovation stream targets small businesses focused on R&D rather than export opportunities. It enables participants to work with foreign partners in developing, adopting, and commercializing new technologies. It also offers up to $75,000 to qualified businesses.

The Associations stream is designed to help national trade organizations in creating business opportunities overseas for their members. Qualified organizations can get financial support to cover 75% of project costs to a maximum of $400,000.

Lastly, the Community Investments stream is open to Canadian communities looking to attract, expand, or retain foreign direct investments. It offers $3,000 to $500,000 for qualified projects, which can be used to cover up to 50% of eligible costs.

What is the Eligibility Criteria for Applicants?

The SMEs stream is open to for-profit companies with no more than 500 full-time employees and revenue of $100,000 to $100 million for the past fiscal year.

The Innovation stream accepts proposals from SMEs, academic institutions, and research centers. Applicants must fully or partially own the IP rights to a Level 4-ready prototype technology that can be launched within five years.

The Associations stream targets Canada’s trade organizations, business councils, and multi-sectoral organizations that are not profit-oriented.

The Community Investments stream is open to Canadian communities and non-profit indigenous organizations that are incorporated locally or federally.

What Activities Are Eligible Under the Program?

In light of the ongoing global pandemic, CanExport funding is limited to the following non-travel development activities:

• Gathering studies, reports, custom market research, and other forms of market intelligence
• Applying for IP protection internationally
• Applying for international market certification
• Fees for legal and business advice
• Launching an SEO campaign
• Translation or creation of marketing tools and materials
• Joining virtual trade shows, meetings, and networking events

Once it is safe to travel, support for international trade missions, foreign market visits, and other in-person events will resume.

How to Apply?

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to approach the application process:
1. Look for five potential export markets. Remember that the revenue you generated in this market for the past 24 months must not exceed $100,000 or 10% of your total sales.
2. Identify potential customers, trade shows, and other events available.
3. Determine the related expenditures such as promotional materials and registration fees. You must be able to show that these costs could generate sales in the target markets.
4. Prepare an outline for your export strategy, estimated budget, and proposed timelines.
5. Access the application forms online. These forms are eight to twelve pages long, not including the supporting documents.
6. Complete the application forms and other requirements, then submit them online. The time it takes to finish the application process depends on the export market readiness.

When Should You Start the Application Process?

Expenses incurred before the approval of the project would not be considered for funding, so it is important to start the application process early. Three months of lead time prior to the planned start date is recommended, especially for the SMEs stream, which is extremely popular.

When is the Deadline for Application?

The CanExport funding program has a continuous intake, so you can apply whenever you are able. Just take into account the lead time recommended when looking for a project.

How Long Does It Take for a Decision to Be Made?

The time it takes to process an application varies, but it could take up to 60 business days. If the application is not eligible, an email is sent explaining the reasons why the project could not be considered. Otherwise, you will be sent an approval and asked to sign a Contribution Agreement.

When Will the Funding Be Given?

Applicants must submit the claim immediately after the completion of the project, as outlined in the Contribution Agreement. It normally takes up to 20 days for claims to be processed.

Receipts are not required when claiming unless specified, but the applicant must keep them and maintain a record of expenses for the duration of the agreement.

What Are the Expectations for Qualified Applicants?

Once a project is approved and the Contribution Agreement signed, you will be responsible for submitting expense claims for the project. You will also be asked to submit detailed reports about the project’s progress.

Every year for three years after project completion, you need to submit a report describing how the project enabled your business to make an impact on Canada’s economy.

Can You Apply for CanExport Even If You Have Other Funding Sources?

You can apply for CanExport on top of other funding sources, but the maximum government assistance for any given project would not exceed 75% of the total cost.

Can You Submit Multiple CanExport Applications?

Companies can submit several funding applications, but the initial project must be finished before more export market development grants will be given.

Are you ready to explore business opportunities overseas? Call EVAMAX today and maximize your chances of submitting a successful CanExport application.