Between 1990 and 2005, the US dollar was considerably stronger than the Canadian dollar. Seeing this as an excellent opportunity to export, Canadian manufacturers began to aggressively enter the US market. Canadian printers were one group that experienced a tremendous amount of success south of the border since they had so much to offer – including high quality print and quick turnarounds – all at US prices that resulted in healthy profits. With the Canadian dollar now sitting at around 75¢ US these days, many printers are once again seeing an opportunity to enter this large and lucrative market.
Government funding programs for exporters. If your company is considering exporting to the US (or any other country outside Canada) consider federal and provincial government funding as part of your strategy. They’re eager to help companies that are exporting, as it brings valuable revenue back into the Canadian economy. Two government programs that will assist include Can Export (for market development in countries outside of Canada) and the Export Manager Program (to hire a full-time Export Manager to develop an export market strategy).
Up to $80,000 to hire an Export Manager. If you’re looking to develop an export market, your company will need dedicated, focused sales staff to be successful. If you want to hire a dedicated Export Market Manager, most provincial governments will cover 50% of eligible costs to a maximum grant of $80,000 over a two-year period.
How do businesses qualify for Export Manager funding? To qualify for the Export Manager funding program your company must:
- Have sales between $2 million and $20 million annually
- Currently have exports sales ranging from 10% to 50% of total annual sales
- Have a minimum of three employees and a maximum of 500
- Must be currently established and operating in the province you’re applying in
- Must be in business for a minimum of two years
When determining eligibility based on export sales as a percentage of total annual sales, export sales to the US will not be considered if those sales result in the company moving above the 50% threshold.
How to apply for Export Manager funding. Please go to: https://exportmanager.ca/how-to-apply/. Companies should apply for funding at least six weeks before hiring the Export Manager.
The CanExport Program. CanExport provides up to $100,000 annually for market development in countries outside of Canada. The goal of the CanExport program is to assist businesses with international business development. The program will provide 50% of the costs to develop international markets and will cover business travel, participation at tradeshows, market research, adaptation of marketing tools for a new market, and legal fees associated with distribution agreements CanExport will not cover on-going or operational costs within a developed export market.
How do businesses qualify for CanExport funding? In order to qualify for funding, companies must meet the following criteria:
- Must be a for-profit company
- Must be incorporated or a limited liability partnership (LLP)
- Must have a Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) business number
- Employ no more than 500 full-time equivalent employees
- Have revenues of between $100,000 and $100 million in annual revenue declared in Canada during its last complete fiscal year.
As part of qualifying for CanExport funding, you may be requested to supply copies of your company’s financial statements.
How do I apply for CanExport funding? Please go to: https://international.gc.ca/trade-commerce/assets/pdfs/CanExport-applicant-guide.pdf. Companies should apply at least four weeks before planning their business travel, and can use the programs multiple times per year. But they can only have one CanExport application open at a time.