Important dates

Applications are open for activities completed before March 31, 2019. Learn more about how to apply.

Overview

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.

Funding

Eligible companies will be reimbursed in the form of a grant that may range from a minimum of $1,000 to a maximum of $20,000 per year for a select range of approved export activities, up to 50% of eligible expenses. The grant amount will be determined 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. Additionally, the program does not cover activities completed before the application is submitted and approved.

Applicants may apply for and receive funding from other sources, but the total level of government assistance (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 final report following the completion of the project activities.

Grants will be issued once the project is complete and the company submits a copy of all invoices, receipts and a final report.

Eligibility

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 and headquartered in Alberta
  • indicate interest in developing sales in an international market that represents up to 10% of the company’s sales for the last 12 months, or up to 15% if the international market is China or the United States
  • present an adequate market entry plan

Eligible sectors

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:

Agriculture and Agri-food

To be eligible, companies must have been deemed ineligible to apply for funding through Alberta Agriculture and Forestry’s Canadian Agricultural partnership (CAP) program.

A company may also be eligible if CAP funding is not available

Tourism

To be eligible, companies must officially be 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 meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • annual sales of at least $50,000 in the previous year
  • produced a minimum of 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 meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • annual sales at least $50,000 in the previous year
  • produced a 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

To be eligible, companies must 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

Book publishers must not be self-published

Software and interactive digital media companies

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

Technology pilot

Select technology sectors, such as cleantech, bioIndustrial technology and life sciences, which have multi-year business cycles that are markedly longer than a traditional business cycle, 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 to promote international business development, represent new initiatives and provide an opportunity to yield concrete results. A maximum of 2 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

If purchased airfare is not economy class, the full amount of the airfare will not be reimbursed. If the receipt clearly shows the amount charged for economy airfare, plus the amount of the upgrade, the economy portion of the airfare will be eligible.

Ineligible expenses

The following expenses are not eligible under this program:

  • federal and provincial income taxes, goods and services tax (GST)
  • expenses related to pursuing passive investment opportunities
  • expenses related to foreign direct investment attraction efforts
  • 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
  • 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 Alberta-based company applying for a grant (e.g., contractors, consultants, sales representatives, partners, clients, etc)
  • activities that occur via agents/distributors
  • cash equivalency for redemption of points used towards travel costs

How to apply

Applications are now open for activities occurring from April 1, 2018 to March 31, 2019.

We will no longer be accepting any applications for trips occurring before April 1, 2018.

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

Apply online.

Log in to the application portal

Step 2. Fill out the online application form

To apply for grant funding, fill out and submit the online application form through the application portal.

Applicants are required to include a market entry plan in their online application package.

Applications must be submitted no less than 30 business days (roughly 6 weeks) before the start of the first activity. Applications received less than 30 business days before the start of the first activity will be automatically ineligible.

Please note:

  • 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.
  • 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 take into account advance booking, where possible.
  • The Government of Alberta may request additional documents, including but not limited to financial statements, to verify information provided in the application.

After you apply

Applicants will get a notification confirming that their application was received within one business day, and will be notified of the status of their application by email within 25 business days. If an applicant does not receive the above notifications within the specified time frames, it is the applicant’s responsibility to follow up with a program advisor to confirm whether their application was received. Approvals cannot be granted once the project start date has been reached.

Successful applicants will 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. Send the agreement via a method that is traceable. Once received, the Government of Alberta will sign it and provide the company with a copy of the final grant agreement for their records.

If the signed grant agreement is not returned before the project start date, the application may be cancelled, and the applicant may not be eligible to claim any expenses.

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.

Reporting and reimbursement

Final report and reimbursement

To receive payment the company must:

  • complete the project in accordance with the program terms, approved application and grant agreement
  • complete and submit the following documentation by email to edt.aeep@gov.ab.ca:
    • Schedule B Financial Summary and Schedule C Final Report
    • copy of all invoices/receipts relating to the approved activities

The final report must detail the activities and outcomes of the project, measured against the approved activities and project objectives.

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.

Once the report and invoices are received, audited and approved, the company will be reimbursed for the expenses. If an applicant fails to meet the above reporting requirements, the company may not be reimbursed for its expenses.

Completed claims will be processed within 30 business days (6 weeks) of receipt.

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.

Contact

Government of Alberta staff are available to discuss your application or answer any questions you may have. To connect with a program advisor:

Hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Email: edt.aeep@gov.ab.ca