With expansion occurring in many countries within the global economy, now is the time for manufacturers to take advantage of lucrative markets outside of Canada. The first step to prepare your business to export is to draft a comprehensive export plan. An export plan is an extension of your business plan and an evaluation of the risks and opportunities associated with exporting. The plan should outline how your business plans to mitigate the risks involved, capitalize on the opportunities and define the legal and cultural barriers put before the company. The next step is to develop a marketing plan which summarizes how to access the target market as well as the method of delivery for the products to market.

Although the planning involved prior to exporting may seem daunting, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) has made it easier on manufacturers with the creation of the Ontario Exporter’s Fund (OEF). Under the program, eligible companies are able to hire an export manager to complete the planning involved in accessing markets outside of Canada and have 50% of the wages subsidized (up to a total of $80,000 for 2 years).

The OCC also provides aid to ease the financial burden of exporting through the Export Market Access (EMA) program. The program will contribute up to $30,000 towards marketing activities such as trade shows, direct contacts, foreign bidding and promotional materials related to the export plan.