Declaring herself “your Chief Marketing Officer” to a crowd of Waterloo Region entrepreneurs, Canada’s new Minister of International Trade today unveiled a $50-million program to help small and medium-sized businesses boost their sales abroad.
Making the first trade-promotion announcement of the two-month-old Trudeau government, Chrystia Freeland chose the Communitech Hub to launch CanExport, a five-year program that will match eligible companies’ export-development expenses with grants of $10,000 to $100,000.
The program, to be delivered by the Trade Commissioner Service in partnership with the National Research Council Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP), went into effect as Freeland spoke at the midday event. The minister added a promise to get back to companies with an answer within 25 days of applying for funds.
“Something I want to say to all the small businesses here is, I am your Chief Marketing Officer,” Freeland told a crowd dotted with entrepreneurs, area politicians and other dignitaries. “My job is to help every company in Canada export its services and its goods.”
Given its relatively small domestic market, Canada’s economy ranks 11th globally, which underscores the importance of exports to its small and medium-sized businesses. Those companies provide close to 90 per cent of the country’s private-sector jobs, said Kitchener-Waterloo MP Bardish Chagger, the Minister of Small Business and Tourism, who accompanied Freeland at the announcement.
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