Assistance now available for expansion into new export markets

    TORONTO, July 15 /CNW/ - Ontario small businesses have a new partner in
their drive to expand to foreign export markets. Export Market Access, A
Global Expansion Program launched by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) and
funded by the Ontario Government, will help Ontario small and medium sized
businesses enter markets that otherwise would have been beyond their reach.
    "Export diversification is proven to be an effective strategy in today's
global marketplace and leads to higher performing companies, more jobs for our
workforce, and stronger economic growth for Ontario," explains Len Crispino,
President & CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. "By providing a hand up to
our home grown firms, and reducing the risk just enough for them to bridge the
gap, we'll help them go where they haven't gone before."
    Export Market Access is a cost sharing program funded by the Ontario
Government that will assist Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in
Ontario in their efforts to expand into new export markets. In recognition of
the abundance of opportunities in markets around the globe, preference will be
given to those outside of the United States.
    "In today's challenging economic climate, it is more important than ever
that we strengthen the competitiveness of Ontario's small and medium-sized
enterprises," said Harinder Takhar, Minister of Small Business and Consumer
Services. "The Export Market program will help Ontario companies enter and
expand into new markets, generating prosperity here and strengthening our
presence on the world stage."
    In the 2008 budget, the Ontario government announced $5 million in
funding to the Ontario Chamber of Commerce for a Global Expansion Program to
help SMEs increase access to global markets.

    Assistance is available in four areas:
    -   Direct Contacts (international trade shows, fairs, exhibitions, and
        incoming and outgoing trade missions);
    -   Marketing Tools (development of electronic media, promotional
        materials, and generic branding material)
    -   Market Research; and
    -   Foreign Bidding Projects

    SMEs that have been in business for a minimum of 2 years are eligible to
apply. An application guide is available at

    The OCC represents over 60,000 businesses through 160 local Chambers of
Commerce and Boards of Trade, and has been Ontario's business advocate since
1911. Its advocacy and policy initiatives focus on six areas key to the
economic well-being of the province: health; education; energy; finance &
taxation; transportation & infrastructure; and border issues.

For further information:

For further information: Amy Terrill, Ontario Chamber of Commerce, W:
(416) 482-5222, ext. 241, C: (416) 605-8205,

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