Export Support Fund

Funding to help export-ready Alberta companies access new international markets.

Important dates

Applications are now open for activities occurring from April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018. Learn more about how to apply.

The application period for the 2018-19 year will be communicated at a later date.


The Export Support Fund eases the cost of exporting for Alberta’s small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) by reimbursing up to 50% for a select range of approved export activities, such as:

  • registration at select tradeshows
  • specific travel costs
  • accommodation in a standard room
  • translation of marketing materials

The Export Support Fund supports companies as they look to enter a new international market or a country that currently represents up to 10% of their sales from the previous year. For China and the United States of America, the threshold is 15% of total annual sales. It is open to activities in all countries, provided Canada has not imposed trade or economic sanctions that apply to the proposed activities in a given country.

Companies may also be eligible for funding under the Export Readiness Micro-Voucher Program to assist with the development of a targeted international market strategy focused on one country.

Important information

  • Market entry plans deemed inadequate will be grounds for rejection. See the Government of Alberta’s Export Readiness Micro-Voucher Program or the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service’s Step-by-Step Guide to Exporting if assistance is required.
  • Applicants are expected to provide reasonable, economy airfare estimates in their application and that take into account advance booking, where possible.
  • Companies are responsible for clearly showing all calculations pertaining to project(s) on financial summaries upon return.
  • The Government of Alberta may request additional documents, including but not limited to company financials, to verify information provided in the application.


Eligible companies will be reimbursed from $1,000 to $20,000 per year for a select range of approved export activities, up to 50% of eligible expenses. The amount of the contribution will be determined on a cost-sharing basis and allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

The program does not pay SMEs in advance of carrying out their activity. Reimbursement occurs once the project and final report are complete.

Applicants may apply for and receive funding from other sources, but the total level of government assistance (i.e., federal, provincial, territorial and municipal) cannot exceed 50% of the total eligible expenses. Applicants must disclose all sources of funding for a proposed project, both in their project application and in the project report following the completion of the project activities.


Alberta SMEs promoting sales of products and services in a new international export market or a market that currently represents up to 10% of their sales from the previous year (15% for China and the USA) are eligible for funding.

Businesses expanding sales within established international markets are not eligible for funding.

To be eligible for funding, a company must:

  • have annual sales of $50,000 to $25 million
  • be a for-profit company
  • have a minimum of one full-time employee in Alberta
  • be an incorporated legal entity in Alberta for at least the last 2 years
  • be operating in Alberta
  • indicate interest in developing sales in a market that represents up to 10% of the company’s sales for the last 12 months
  • present an adequate market entry plan

Only Alberta SMEs operating in the sectors below are eligible for funding:

  • advanced manufacturing and materials
  • aerospace and defence
  • alternative energy and cleantech
  • cultural industries
  • environmental products and services
  • forestry
  • information and communications technology (ICT)
  • infrastructure and construction
  • life sciences and health technology
  • manufacturing (including agricultural equipment)
  • oil and gas products, services and technology
  • petrochemicals

The following sectors have modified eligibility criteria:

  • Tourism
    • to be eligible, companies must also be officially part of a coordinated mission that is led by government, or an arm's length organization such as Travel Alberta, Destination Canada, or the Aboriginal Tourism Association of Canada
  • Film
    • to be eligible, companies must also meet at least one of the following criteria:
      • annual sales of at least $50,000 in the previous year, or;
      • produced a minimum one hour of content that has been broadcast nationally or internationally on a recognized network, or;
      • had a theatrical release with a recognized distributer
  • Music recording companies
    • to be eligible, companies must also meet at least one of the following criteria:
      • annual sales at least $50,000 in the previous year, or;
      • produced music recording or published songs that have generated at least $50,000 in a one-year period, or;
      • received management income from an artist with at least $50,000 in annual sales revenue
  • Publishing companies provided they have:
    • to be eligible, companies must also meet at least one of the following criteria
      • annual sales of at least $50,000 in the previous year, or;
      • published a book that has generated at least $50,000 in a one-year period
    • Note: book publishers must not be self-published
  • Software and gaming companies provided they have:
    • to be eligible, companies must also meet at least one of the following criteria
      • annual sales of at least $50,000 in the previous year, or;
      • published software or a video game that has generated at least $50,000 in a one-year period

Selected technology sectors with long sales, such as cleantech, bioIndustrial technology and life sciences, which have business cycles that are markedly different from a traditional business cycle, typically taking multiple years from beginning to end and may not meet the requirement of $50,000 in sales in the prior year. These projects may be considered on a project-by-project basis. Please contact the program for more details.

Eligible expenses

Funded activities must aim at promoting international business development, represent new initiatives and provide an opportunity to yield concrete results. A maximum of two employees per activity are eligible for funding.

The following activities are eligible for funding, up to 50% of the costs incurred:

  • accommodation in a standard room
  • return economy airfare with allowance for the first single piece of checked personal luggage and one carry-on
  • economy intercity train fares and economy intercity bus fares
  • registration for participation at select tradeshows and/or events
  • translation of marketing materials

Ineligible expenses

The following expenses are not eligible under this program:

  • booth cost for exhibiting at tradeshows and/or events
  • registration fees collected by the Government of Alberta
  • meals and per diems
  • non-air transportation costs other than economy intercity train fares and economy intercity bus fares (taxis, car rentals, ferry, etc)
  • legal fees to prepare or execute tender document(s)
  • development, printing or shipping of marketing materials
  • product shipping
  • travel insurance costs
  • interpretation costs
  • market research and match-making services
  • legal services
  • ongoing core/operational activities
  • activities that have already occurred prior to project approval
  • activities in a market (defined by country) where Canada has imposed trade or economic sanctions
  • activities involving used equipment, unless the equipment is reconditioned or rebuilt, and the benefit to Alberta would be close or equal to benefits obtained from the sale of new equipment
  • salaries and commissions
  • costs related to the preparation of an application to the Export Support Fund
  • corporate overhead expenses (e.g., office space, human resources, supplies, equipment purchases, office accommodations, warehousing and legal services)
  • capital costs
  • entertainment and hospitality
  • sponsorship of event(s) and membership fees
  • telephone, fax, data roaming and photocopying charges
  • website application, maintenance and hosting fees
  • taxes for which a refund or rebate is available
  • additional expenses incurred to earn bonus points from loyalty reward programs
  • expenses incurred outside of the project phase as defined in the grant agreement
  • expenses for more than two employees working for the company, per event
  • travel expenses for individuals who are not direct employees of the company applying for a grant (e.g., contractors, consultants, sales representatives, partners, clients, etc)
  • activities that occur via agents/distributors

How to apply

Step 1. Create a user account and log in through the online application portal

As part of the submission, applicants will be required to provide a market entry plan.

Log in to the application portal

Step 2. Fill out the online application form

Fill out and submit the form electronically through the online application portal.

Applications should be submitted at least 30 business days (roughly 6 weeks) before the first activity.

To apply for grant funding, submit the application form and market entry plan electronically through the online submission page:

  • Applications are now open for activities occurring from April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018
  • The application period for the 2018-19 year will be communicated at a later date

Applicants will be notified of the status of their application by email within 25 business days.

Please note:

  • The program does not make advance payments. In addition, the program does not cover prior activities.
  • Applications can include multiple projects within a fiscal year (from April 1 to March 31). However, if multiple projects are included in one application, no reimbursement will be made until all projects are complete.
  • Applications can target more than one market. However, each market must satisfy the eligibility requirements of the program.

After you apply

Unsuccessful applicants will be notified via email within 25 business days.

Successful applicants will be notified via email and receive a grant agreement that sets out the approved activities and their associated costs, as well as the responsibilities and legal obligations of the Government of Alberta and the applicant.

The grant agreement will have to be reviewed and signed by an authorized officer of the company, and then returned by mail before the project start date. It is strongly recommended applicants send the agreement via a method that is traceable. Once received, the Government of Alberta will sign, and provide the company with a copy of the final grant agreement for their records.

Changes to a project

If changes to the project occur, the company must notify the Government of Alberta by email at edt.aeep@gov.ab.ca. The approved grant agreement will be cancelled and a new submission will be required for assessment.

Final report and reimbursement

Once the project is complete, the company must submit a copy of all invoices/receipts and a final report by email at edt.aeep@gov.ab.ca for audit and reimbursement. The final report must detail the activities and outcomes of the project, measured against the approved activities and project objectives.

Once the report and invoices are received and approved, the company will be reimbursed for the expenses. We expect to process claims within 30 business days (6 weeks) of receipt of a complete claim.

If the receipts are not in English, a description of the expenses must also be included and these may be verified with the associated vendors. When using a foreign currency, please provide a credit card statement with the exchange rate used or a copy of the website page used to calculate the exchange rate. If using the exchange rate from a website, the dates used must be within the timeframe of the activity.

Follow-up report

Successful applicants will be required to submit annual in-market sales figures in a follow-up report each year for 3 years. This will be used to evaluate the impact of the Export Support Fund and help assess and improve the program.


Government of Alberta staff are available discuss your potential application or answer any questions you may have. For more information, please contact a program advisor at edt.aeep@gov.ab.ca.