The Export Market Access Program (EMAP) provides financial assistance to help SMEs market their products more effectively in international markets.

The program covers specific activities provided by consultants or agencies such as:

  • Market research
  • Strategy development
  • Lead generation and sales activities
  • Offline marketing
  • Coaching

This program is managed by LearnSphere with financial assistance from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.

The Exporter Market Access Program is now closed. If you’d like to keep up to date on LearnSphere’s export programming please add your contact information below.


To be eligible for financial assistance under EMAP you must be an Atlantic-based SME that is currently exporting or planning to export.

Eligible applicants must have generated revenue in the last year. Applicants must demonstrate that the proposed activity will improve export performance. Priority will be given to current exporters and to applications that clearly demonstrate how the activity will impact growth of international business to business sales.

EMAP is open to all industry sectors, except retail / wholesale, real estate, government services, personal / social services, and softwood lumber. Professional services industries such as marketing firms, creative agencies, business or fitness coaches are generally not eligible; however, they may be considered if the project represents a unique and/or strategic opportunity with potential economic benefit to Atlantic Canada. Consultant travel and trade show attendance fees are not eligible. Applicants must not make any financial commitments prior to submission, or costs incurred will not be eligible.

Please note that meeting the eligibility criteria does not guarantee you will receive funding. Each eligible application will be subject to an evaluation process.

Eligible Activities Eligible Costs Ineligible Costs
  • Market research or strategy development
  • Export plan
  • Lead generation activities; which may include purchse of a software and training (in some instances)
  • Sales activities; including mapping of the sales process, creation of a sales playbook, sales coaching, etc.
  • Design of offline promotional (brochures, product catalogues, banners for trade booths, etc.)
  • Mentoring or coaching related to the above activities
  • Consulting/professional fees to undertake activities
  • Travel for consultants or applicants
  • Costs associated with attending a trade show
  • Printing of brochures
  • Production of trade show booth
  • HST

Funding is provided in the form of a reimbursement. The Applicant must cash flow 100% of costs and will be reimbursed when the project is finished.

Total project costs must be more than $5,000 to apply for assistance. Applicants can receive up to 65% of eligible costs, to a maximum contribution of $15,000. For the minimum project size of $5,000, the reimbursement would equal $3,250; for a project of $23,076.92 or greater, the maximum reimbursement would be $15,000. At least 35% of the total project costs must be provided by the Applicant. All sources of funds must be identified.

LearnSphere will reimburse the contribution amount after all project costs have been paid, and a claim has been submitted by the Applicant.

You must complete the online application form, demonstrating that you comply with the program’s objective and guidelines.

Once the application form, consultant proposal(s), and other supporting documents are received by LearnSphere, you will be notified of the evaluation outcome as soon as possible, usually within two weeks.

If your application is approved, a contract will be issued between LearnSphere and your company.

It will be your responsibility to select the consultant(s) you work with. A sample statement of work for engaging a consultant can be found here.

All consultants must be at arm’s length to your company, and their fees must be at fair market value. You are responsible to ensure that satisfactory work is completed by the consultant(s).

‘This project allowed Trout River to get into South Korea and Japan for face-to-face meetings with potential partners. We have officially entered an agreement with a Japanese manufacturing company as a result of this project.’’ – Trout River Industries Inc.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can my business apply to both EMAP and E for E?

Yes, businesses can apply to both programs, or to one program twice per calendar year. However, we strongly recommend submitting one application at a time, as time and budget are limited.

What stage should my business be at before I apply?

Eligible applicants must have generated revenue within the last year. This means that your business/product has achieved sales, at least within Canada. (Priority is given to current exporters.) If your product or service is still under development, your business is considered pre-commercial and therefore you are not yet eligible to apply to EMAP or E for E. Also, to be eligible for E for E, you should have either a formal export market plan or evidence of an entry strategy to an export market.

LearnSphere offers a range of export development programs for businesses at different stages of commercialization. Please contact us to learn if you may be eligible for other programs.

Can an application contain more than one activity?

Yes, you can submit one application that covers several eligible activities. You may use more than one consultant to complete each of these activities. If you intend to hire different consultants for different activities, please ensure you attach a consultant’s proposal for each activity to your application.

How do I find a consultant?

LearnSphere cannot recommend consultants for EMAP and E for E projects. You can ask people in your network (peers, colleagues, advisors working in economic development) to suggest consultants who could meet your needs. Consultants do not need to be based in your region; they can be located anywhere in the world.

What should be included in the consultant’s proposal?

Please see this template for an example of what should be included in a consultant’s proposal.

Can an employee do the work of the project?

No, the funding must be used to pay professional fees for expertise that does not exist in-house. The only exception is online advertising, in which case case the consultant is Google, Facebook, etc. and the employee can manage the campaign.

What is meant by incrementality?

The applicant must demonstrate that the project goes beyond the applicant’s core activities , represents new initiatives and yields incremental results.

How long is a typical project?

Once your application has been accepted, it is referred to as your “project”. Most projects take approximately 3 to 4 months to complete. Targeted promotional campaigns could last for up to 6 months.

How do I finance the project?

You must be able to cash flow all planned activities in the project. EMAP and E for E will reimburse eligible costs once the work is complete and you have submitted a claim.

How are applications evaluated?

The evaluation is based on a list of criteria that constitutes a business case for the proposed project. Because the demand is high for these programs, the applications demonstrating the highest potential for economic impact to their region and most in alignment with the Atlantic Growth Strategy will be given priority.

How does the claims process work?

You are responsible to pay all project expenses, including HST, as they are incurred. Once the activities of your project are complete, you will submit a claim. You will be reimbursed only once the claim has been accepted.

Questions? Contact Lauren Caines, Project Manager or Carolyne Mongrain, Project Coordinator at LearnSphere.


Government of Canada   ACOA

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