We’ve made it clear that increasing Ontario’s exports is a key element to Ontario’s economic future. That’s why we’re helping SMEs in the province take advantage of new opportunities in the global economy and expand their presence in foreign markets through our Global Growth Fund.
Here’s what the OCC’s Louie DiPalma, Director of SME Programs, has to say about how businesses in Ontario can best capitalize on our market-entry programs.
What programs are available to assist SMEs with market entry beyond Canada’s borders?
There are three programs under the OCC’s Global Growth Fund umbrella, which is funded by the provincial government, to help Ontario companies either increase their footprints abroad or access new markets:
Export Market Access (EMA): Funding of up to $30,000 for companies with five to 500 employees and a minimum of $500,000 in sales. Eligible activities include market research, a market-entry plan created by a third party (cap of $5,000), participating in trade missions or trade shows, developing marketing tools (e.g., promotion products, translation and trade-show booths) and foreign bidding support.
Ontario Exporters Fund: Funding of up to $80,000 over two years for companies with five to 500 employees, $1 million to $20 million in total sales, 10% to 50% in export sales and considered part of Ontario’s priority sectors. Eligible activities include hiring an export manager. The program is ideal for companies that have tapped into export markets but need to develop markets further.
Early Stage Fund: Funding of up to $30,000 for companies with a minimum of three employees, between $300,000 and $500,000 in sales and part of Ontario’s priority sectors. The program is targeted at companies with export-ready products and strong growth potential.
What advice would you give to companies to maximize their chances of receiving funding to assist in entering or expanding into foreign markets?
One of the most important things a company can do is to understand how a program works before applying. For OCC programs, you can access our free consulting service. We will explain how the programs work and help frame your application to make it review-ready. Other tips to maximize your chances of success:
Have a focused project. Don’t pretend you are coming to a buffet table to maximize a grant.
Be clear and concise in telling your story. Succinctly explain what you want to do, when, why your product or service will get traction (your unique selling proposition) and the anticipated results.
Explain any research or pre-work you have done to assure application reviewers that you are not casting your line into unknown waters.
Be realistic in your expectations. Demonstrate how you arrived at the numbers for your anticipated results and resist padding your budgets.
Stay within scope. Avoid requesting funds for activities outside the boundaries of the program.
Submit all required documents.
Tap into the services of Ontario’s Business Advisory Services and International Trade Branch and the staff at the OCC. There are many advisors with good insights into available programs who can help with the application process.
For more information on any our Global Growth Fund programs, contact Lesley Cole, International Trade Consultant.
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Ontario's Path from Recovery to GrowthLearn more
Source: Report 23 – Leading Growth Firm Series, Ministry of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure and Ministry of Research and Innovation.
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