Discover the changes to Export Market Access and Export Manager Program funding


Man holds a notebook with image of world map

Man holds a notebook with image of world map

Changes to export grants and funding

The Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s Global Growth Fund is no longer accepting government funding applications. Both programs managed through the program, including the Export Manager Program (EMP) and Export Market Access (EMA), are fully subscribed and not likely to re-open under these naming conventions. While provincial funding programs for export initiatives may be accessible in the future, businesses are encouraged to direct all existing funding applications towards federal export grants.

From 2014-2016, Export Market Access helped 423 Ontario companies generate $89 million in export sales by de-risking popular export market entry strategies.

In the absence of these two funding programs, businesses are encouraged to apply for federal grants and incentives instead. While nothing is available federally to replace the Export Manager Program, companies looking for marketing and trade show support should explore the CanExport and AgriMarketing programs. CanExport is generally open to most businesses with 1-500 full-time employees, and AgriMarketing is only open to agriculture and agri-food businesses with fewer than 250 employees.

Export Manager Program and Export Market Access

The recent closure of the Export Manager Program (EMP) and Export Market Access (EMA) came as a surprise to many Ontario businesses who’ve tapped into the programs. EMP encouraged the hiring of an experienced export professional who could help spur revenue in foreign markets and EMA supported hundreds of businesses to reach new markets each year. Together, these programs strengthened the ability of businesses to succeed internationally.

Applications will no longer be accepted for either program, and applications that were in review are likely to be rejected. Previously approved projects will still have access to funding and need to report their outcomes once the project is complete.

Export Manager Program (EMP) Grants

The Export Manager Program provided funding for hiring an Export Manager or International Business Development Manager to help develop a business’ international revenue streams. Applicants could receive up to 50% of the new hire’s salary to a maximum $40,000 per year for a maximum of two years, offering a total value of up to $80,000 per company.

Export Market Access (EMA) Grants

The Export Market Access program helped businesses participate in trade shows, develop marketing tools for foreign audiences, perform market research, and bid on foreign projects. Applicants could receive up to 50% of eligible project expenses to a maximum $50,000 per application, and companies could apply twice per 12-month period to a lifetime maximum $250,000.

CanExport and AgriMarketing funding programs are open

Although those two Ontario government funding programs no longer accept applications, there are Canadian government grants for exporting that can provide similar support. The CanExport and AgriMarketing programs are very similar to the Export Market Access program, which makes it easier to pivot your EMA project towards available export grants.

CanExport Grants

The CanExport program is a government funding mechanism that supports export marketing projects including participation in trade shows and government-led trade missions. A wide range of businesses can access its funding to target international markets where less than $20,000 or 10% of total international sales have been generated over the previous 24 months.

Through the CanExport program, companies may access up to 25-50% of trade show costs to a maximum $50,000 per project. Up to two applications can be submitted per government fiscal year to a maximum $99,999.

To qualify for CanExport funding, companies must maintain 1-500 full-time employees, not be in the agricultural or agri-food sector, earn annual revenues of $100k to $100M, be federally incorporated, and generate eligible project expenses of at least $20k.

AgriMarketing Grants

AgriMarketing is like CanExport in terms of the projects it offers funding towards, but the type of applicant it seeks is quite different. The program supports food and beverage businesses performing international expansion projects, including trade shows and related marketing activities. As part of the Canadian Agricultural Partnership suite of funding programs, AgriMarketing manages a pool of funding that will last until 2023.

Through the AgriMarketing program, Canadian agri-businesses may receive up to 50% of project costs to a maximum $50,000 per year. Businesses may apply multiple times to a maximum $50,000 annually or $250,000 over the program’s lifetime.

To qualify for AgriMarketing export market development grants, agricultural producers and processors must perform prior market research to identify an opportunity-rich target market, maintain fewer than 250 employees, and earn less than $50M in annual revenue.

Get help with export grants and funding for global expansion

The Canadian government funding landscape is constantly evolving. For many business leaders, this creates confusion and can impact project plans. Through interactive business funding events, Mentor Works helps clarify government funding trends and can show your business additional grants and loans that can help support your strategic projects.

To learn more about export grants and additional business expansion opportunities, register for a Canadian government funding event.

Mentor Works is a business support organization specializing in Canadian government funding. The Ontario-based business has helped hundreds of businesses build and execute their funding strategy through a mix of federal and provincial government grants, loans, and tax credits. Mentor Works offers free online resources, funding webinars, and news via their website at

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the contributing author, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Forum for International Trade Training.

About the author

Author: Jeff Shepherd

Jeff has a passion for helping business owners and executives discover Canadian government funding programs. As Marketing Coordinator at Mentor Works, an organization that helps optimize the funding discovery and application process, Jeff educates and inspire leaders on ways to enhance their business’ growth projects. To read more of Jeff’s government funding content, view Mentor Works’ blog.

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