Export Market Access: A Global Expansion Program

What is it?

Export Market Access (EMA) is a $5 million initiative, jointly sponsored by the Government of Ontario and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC). It is designed to help small and medium-sized enterprises SMEs)increase their access to global markets.

What is the benefit to your company?

Generally the EMA program will cover 50% of the eligible costs in four specified areas. Non-repayable contributions generally range from a minimum of $5,000 to a maximum of $30,000 (with the exception of capital bidding projects which generally would not exceed $35,000).

Who Qualifies?

  • SMEs in Ontario currently offering a product or service
  • A new or emerging exporter - minimum of five employees to a maximum of 500 employees - or partnerships/consortium of small to medium sized new or emerging exporters meeting the following criteria:
  • Annual sales of $500,000 or more.
  • Currently established and operating in Ontario.
  • Registered (federally or provincially) for minimum of two years.
  • In full compliance with all government laws and regulations.
  • Not receiving any other contributions from public funds towards the activities contained in the funding application.

What Qualifies?

Expenses incurred by companies undertaking activities in the following four areas may be eligible for funding:

  1. Direct Contacts: participation in international trade shows, fairs, exhibitions, and incoming and outgoing trade missions, supported by a recognized third party such as governments or trade related organizations.
  2. Marketing Tools: development of electronic media, promotional materials, and generic branding material.
  3. Market Research: to enable more precise international market targeting.
  4. Foreign Bidding Projects: intended for providers of professional services (engineering, consulting, constructions, etc.) bidding on foreign projects against foreign competition.

Project Examples - Direct Contact

Market Research/Market Intelligence

Conducting market research for more precise market targeting such as:

  • Contracting market research on areas such as market size and segmentation, growth rates, trends, buying attitudes, regulatory requirements, product requirements, distribution channels, and competitor activity strategy and performance; and
  • Developing an international marketing/market entry plan.
Eligible Costs:

Up to 50% may be contributed towards the cost of the following:

  • Consulting fees; and
  • Per diem allowance - maximum $125 per day for company officials while on travel status outside Canada (business, personal and incidental expenses will not be covered).

Project Examples - Marketing Tools

Development of Promotional Materials

Developing materials to be used for increasing awareness of applicant's activities, and goods and services for potential buyers such as:

  • Marketing materials and other promotional collaterals - not to include product documentation; and
  • Translating documents into local language for target market to be used in promotional material.

Development of Generic Branding Material

Developing promotional material for foreign audiences to broadly market the applicant's products and services such as:

  • Display panels, pavilions or information booths (not to be used for retail activities).
Eligible Costs:

Up to 50% of eligible costs paid for the production and development of marketing tools.

Project Examples - Market Research

Custom Market Research/Market Intelligence

Conducting market research for more precise market targeting such as:

  • Developing market intelligence or contracting market research on areas including market size and segmentation, growth rates, trends, buying attitudes, regulatory requirements, product requirements, distribution channels, and competitor activity strategy and performance; and
  • Developing an international marketing/market entry plan.
Eligible Costs:

Up to 50% of eligible costs of consulting fees and cost of per diem allowance (up to $125 per day) for company officials while on travel status outside Canada (business, personal and incidental expenses will not be covered).

Non- Eligible Expenses (for all EMA activities)
  • Individual shipping of product samples other than for trade show purposes;
  • Travel to Canada for consultants hired by applicants;
  • Applicant officials' travel within Canada;
  • Web site hosting fees;
  • Salaries and commissions with the exception of consulting fees subject to prior approval;
  • All recoverable taxes;
  • Capital costs such as office equipment, computers, office space;
  • Entertainment and hospitality;
  • Postage and courier fees;
  • Building web applications targeting foreign customers;
  • Creating content for web site(s) promoting export capabilities;
  • Creating online tools promoting trade potential;
  • Developing e-newsletters, online journals, e-commerce portal;
  • Cost to modify existing products to meet foreign standards, consumer preferences, etc.;
  • Cost to modify or design packaging to meet foreign regulations and local customs; and
  • Purchase of generic and/or existing software applications.

How do I apply?

All of the forms required to submit an application can be accessed, completed and submitted online at http://exportaccess.ca/howtoapply.shtml.

You can apply for more than one category and you can apply more than once in a 12-month period.

You will be advised within 30 business days regarding your eligibility for EMA and will receive 25% of the projected eligible costs when you sign your contract. When you have completed the activities/ project, you will submit a final report along with other required documents. Upon approval and acceptance of the final report, the OCC will provide you with the balance of their contribution.

Where can I find more information?

More information, a guide and applicaiton forms can be found at the Export Access website.



Author: OMAFRA Staff
Creation Date: 30 October 2008
Last Reviewed: 13 September 2011