Canadian Global Export Programs for Small Business

Export Grant Programs

  • Ontario Exporters Fund -this program matches up to $40K per year the first two year salaries of a business development manager hired by an eligible company (new hire, Ontario payroll).
  • Export Market Access –  eligible companies may benefit from up to $30k in total, up to twice a year, for up to 50% of business development expenses such as participation in trade shows as independent exhibitors or Ontario Missions, travel and accommodation and development of marketing materials.
  • Going Global Innovation –  GGI provides $5K to $75K to support in-person discussion, meetings and related activities to solidify a global R&D partnership.

Export Support

Other Useful Programs

Search all available Government Grant Programs for Canadian Businesses

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SheevaPlug… a “Plug Computer”…a Cool Idea with Loads of Microbusiness Potential

A small computer in a wall-plug, running Linux.

Marvell is selling this “development platform”, targeted at the following applications:

  • Network Control Plane Applications
  • High-performance Storage
  • Single Board Computers
  • Enterprise Printers
  • DVRs, NVRs, Video Surveillance
  • High-volume SMB Gateways

For those of the “Creative Class” looking for new microbusiness ideas, it might be something worth looking at.

How do Keystone Organizations in the “Creative Class” Ecosystem-based Economy Make Money?

Keystone organizations in an Ecosystem need money to operate and sustain their functions.   The nature of how the keystone organization makes money depends upon whether it is a not for profit (social economy business) or a for profit (commercial business).

A not for profit Keystone organization typically makes its money through some or all of the following means:

  • Selling memberships
  • Selling consulting services
  • Selling documentation and books related to the Ecosystem platform product
  • Accelerating feature developments on the Ecosystem platform product in return for cash
  • Selling support for the Ecosystem platform product or service
  • Selling advertising on Keystone-associated websites, printed publications
  • Selling t-shirts/etc with the Keystone logos/tag-lines
  • Soliciting donations from Ecosystem users/consumers, e.g. through Paypal
  • Running conferences and symposiums
  • Selling company/product listing services for Ecosystem suppliers
  • Selling training services/courses related to the Ecosystem platform product
  • Selling certifications for products which use the Ecosystem product platform
  • Selling infrastructure services which the Ecosystem product uses, e.g. webservices
  • Selling sponsorships to commercial organizations in return for access to Ecosystem members, e.g. through offering of meetings, special offers/discounts from commercial businesses to its members
  • Government grants

A for profit Keystone organization may also make its money from any of the above, but may also include some or all of the following as key sources of revenue:

  • Sales channel and associated contract/transactions between consumers and suppliers of the channel  (e.g. Apple Apps Store, oDesk)
  • Selling products that are complimentary to the base product platform and other Ecosystem members that the Ecosystem is based on (and not competing directly with the Ecosystem suppliers)

Emerging New Channels to Market for “Creative Class” Microbusinesses

For a start-up, one of the biggest challenge is gaining access to customers and being able to transact business with them as easily and quickly as possible.  In the last 5 years,  new business models have been emerging that help reduce that challenge, referred to as Ecosystem business models.

These new business models are providing knowledge workers (aka the “Creative Class“) access to ready-made delivery platforms and selling channels to a well-defined market.

These emerging channels to market typically provide a means to connect suppliers with consumers, usually handling the transaction between the two as a trusted mediator (taking a percentage in return for the channel services, e.g. selling platform, marketing, customer management, fulfillment, transaction handling):

  • Apple Apps Store – sells applications to Apple iPhone phone users, handles delivery and payment, payment is via iTunes account
  • Google Android Market – sells applications to Android mobile phone users, handles  delivery and payment using Paypal
  • Amazon Webstore – sell your wares online, access Amazon shoppers and Amazon store tools, handles payment using Amazon account
  • 99Designs –  companies/individuals post requests for graphics designs and designated “prize money”, companies/individuals post responses, the winning design selected gets the “prize money”
  • oDesk – teams or individuals post skills/availability, companies/individuals post jobs with desired fee for completion (fixed rate or hourly)
  • Shutterstock – royalty-free photographs, individuals/companies provide photos and get paid based on sales
  • Innovation Exchange – companies/individuals post challenges and cash, suppliers post responses
  • Mechanical Turk – people post questions/tasks, suppliers post answers/accept task
  • Cafepress – individuals/companies generate graphic content, Cafepress puts it on mugs, shirts, etc and handles all fulfillment for the supplier
  • Amazon Kindle – sell eBooks via Amazon and their new eBook reader
  • uTest – on-demand software testing
  • Crowd Spring – similar to 99Designs
  • Lulu – sells self-published books
  • Beta Test – links beta-testers with software publishers (e.g. iPhone)
  • Eclipse Foundation – links Eclipse IDE consumers with suppliers who build on top of the Eclipse open source IDE platform
  • Just Parts – links consumers of auto parts with suppliers
  • Top Coder – links software designers with companies who respond to contest proposals
  • Article One Partners – offers rewards for finding prior art against posted patents
  • Spot Us – allows journalists to post story ideas and solicit funding from public

One channel which can be very significant for Microbusinesses is Paypal –

  • Paypal – “one-click” purchasing between suppliers and consumers.  Many niche sellers, e.g. 3rd party add-on suppliers for Joomla! use Paypal as their transaction vehicle.  Most eCommerce solutions provide a gateway to Paypal as the payment means.  Paypal itself also can accept credit cards on behalf of a seller.  Paypal by itself provides access to a group of consumers who are comfortable transacting business online.  Paypal provides a trusted supplier relationship between the buyer and the supplier.  I have to confess I never thought Paypal would amount to anything when I first heard about the business many years ago…