In this post, I will go over some of the key export grants and incentives for Canadian businesses to minimize risks of going global.

With modern technology and global interconnectivity all around industries, it is hard to imagine that there are small businesses that still have not at least considered selling their products or services internationally. As Statistics Canada regularly updates us on the state of the Canadian economy as well as the balance between export and import, I thought it was time to take a quick look at government programs which support small businesses implementing global initiatives.

One organization which plays a key role here is Export Development Canada (EDC). There are a number of initiatives under their umbrella that apply for all Canada and which I will briefly describe here.

Export Development Canada provides insurance for Canadian companies that minimizes financial risks of going global. As they say it in one of their brochures, “recoup most of your cash, whether your customer goes bankrupt or your overseas assets are seized during a political upheaval”.

Other two great things offered by EDC is the Export Guarantee Program (EGP) and SRED Guarantee which are financing solutions to manage all kinds of upfront costs before your export sales money land in your bank account.

But that’s not all. There are three important grants offered on the provincial level and applicable for Ontario based companies with less than 500 employees. These grants are intended to help you grow and become even more recognized on the global scale.

The Early Stage Exporters Fund (through Ontario Chamber of Commerce) is designed for companies with at least 3 employees and between $300,000 and $500,000 in revenue.

Export Market Access — A Global Expansion Program (jointly sponsored by Ontario Government and Ontario Chamber of Commerce) is for companies with at least 5 employees and more than 500,000 in revenue.

What I like about these programs is that they seem to understand what ‘going global’ really means. They fund activities such as going to tradeshows, developing marketing strategies and promotion material, cost of participating in the foreign bidding projects, etc.

Last, but not least, is the Ontario Exporters Fund (also through Ontario Chamber of Commerce). This is program specific to Ontario and covers the salary of a newly hired export manager. This grant is suitable for relatively established companies – with revenue more than $1M and more than 5 employees.

So how much money is on the table with these three grants? Your small business may be eligible for up to $150K in free money to get more export sales.

Finally, there is a Canadian Technology Accelerator managed by Canadian Trade Commissioners Service. This program doesn’t give your small business cash per se, but what it offers is still quite amazing. The program places eligible, early-stage technology companies from all over Canada in the ‘hot zones’ around the world (mainly in the USA, though). During the 4 months of the program, your small business gets exposure to strategic partners, customers, and office space. The idea behind this is that it will help companies get more customers, become well recognized, help refine business plans, and raise venture capital.

So, I hope that was helpful!

A special Thank you to Antonio Lopes from EDC for providing feedback on this bog prior to its publication.


ConnexFund is a Canadian business financing firm specializing in government grants with focus on organizations in technology and innovation. Feel free to check our FAQs or contact us with any question you may have about our business model, available for you grants or anything else around finding money for your small business to grow!