When is the Best Time to Apply for CanExport?
- CanExport SMEs follows the government fiscal year
- Plan your business expansion efforts for the year before you plan your project
- January is the earliest you can apply for projects starting after April 1st
The process of applying for grant funding has many variables. One of which, is timing. Knowing the best time to apply gives you the upper hand as you can plan and prepare your application accordingly.
CanExport SMEs is a market expansion grant that supports Canadian small businesses with their international expansion efforts. In this article, we dive into understanding what the best time to apply for CanExport is, and how you can plan for it.
About CanExport SMEs
Before we talk about timing, let’s refresh ourselves on the program details.
CanExport SMEs provides support for Canadian businesses looking to expand to new markets. Applicants can apply for up to $50,000 in funding for various activities including travel, trade show attendance, marketing, and consulting.
To apply for CanExport funding, your company must:
- Be a for-profit company registered in Canada,
- Have fewer than 500 full-time employees, and
- Have between $100,000 and $100MM in revenue declared on our last tax filing.
When you select your target country (or, as the program calls it, target market), it must also meet certain criteria. For a country to be eligible for your project, you must:
- Have less than $100,000 in sales declared in that country, or
- It represents less than 10% of your total sales.
Like many large grant programs, CanExport operates based on the government fiscal year.
Understanding the Fiscal Year
To understand timing with CanExport, we first need to understand the government fiscal year. Small businesses in Canada base their fiscal year on their incorporation date, meaning every business is different. Businesses can also choose different fiscal year periods depending on what makes sense for the business model.
The government of Canada’s fiscal year is from April 1st to March 31st. This is reflected in federal and provincial grant programs, many of which operate on these dates as they are government-funded. CanExport SMEs is no different; in the application portal, you must indicate your expenses based on the fiscal year.
Does CanExport SMEs Have Intakes?
Now that we’ve covered the fiscal year dates, we can dive into the strategy behind CanExport application submission.
CanExport is a recurring program that accepts applications throughout the year. In recent years, it has seen a massive increase in the number of applications, making the program highly competitive. Although the number of applicants has skyrocketed, the program’s resources have remained the same. This means that they have the same number of adjudicators and program officers as before. Additionally, they have a set amount of funding allotted that they can distribute to SMEs per year.
With limited budgets and resources and a growing number of applicants, CanExport SMEs closed early last year. Similarly, this year, the program closed in October for the rest of the fiscal year. This means no submissions are accepted for projects that run before April 1st.
Although CanExport doesn’t have official intakes, the funding does reset in April with the new government fiscal year. It’s important to note that while your project can start on April 1st at the earliest, you can apply before then. For the past two years, CanExport opened up in January, accepting applications for projects beginning in April.
If you’re looking to apply for CanExport funding, now is the time to start planning as January is just around the corner!
Strategic Project Planning
While applying as soon as the program opens up has its benefits, it may not be the best timing for your business. Ultimately, the best time to apply for CanExport funding is when it makes sense for your business. For example, if you plan to attend multiple international trade shows from November to February, then starting your project in April doesn’t make much sense.
If you’re on an aggressive international growth path, then you may consider applying as soon as possible. This is because you can apply to CanExport multiple times in one fiscal year, so if you run your first project from April to September, you can apply for another project that runs until March of the following year.
With all that said, if you’re looking for the best time to apply in terms of the likelihood of approval, the answer is January – or, as soon as the program opens for the new fiscal year. CanExport has a certain amount of funding it can distribute to SMEs every year. At the beginning of April, the funding resets and the pool is at its largest. Conversely, if you apply in October just before it closes, the funding is limited and there are lots of applicants. This makes it more competitive than ever as the program will only choose the very best project submissions for approval.
Granted’s CanExport Services
At Granted Consulting, we help guide our clients through the entire CanExport application process. This includes strategic planning, budgeting, writing, and reporting. Our goal is to make the process as easy as possible so our clients can focus on running their businesses.
Not a client? Not to worry! We offer a one-time CanExport service where any qualified small business can work with us to get support with their application. Reach out to us today to connect with one of our writers and start planning your project.
Whether it’s for our clients or not, we proudly uphold a 98%+ success rate with CanExport SME applications.