Early Stage Exporters – Frequently Asked Questions

ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA


Can a non-profit organization apply?

No. Non-profit organizations are not eligible under the program.

Can companies owned by a government organization/entity apply?

No. Companies owned by a government organization/entity are not eligible under the program.

If my company has less than $300,000 in annual sales, can I apply for the program?

No, however we will consider applications from companies slightly under $300,000 in sales if they are planning to participate in a mission with the Government of Ontario’s International Trade Branch.

Do I need to get a government reference to support my application?

Yes, support from a government reference is required. If you do not have such a contact, ESE can provide you with one.

If my company does not have an audited financial statement, what can I submit to meet the financial statement requirements?

A Review Engagement or a Notice to Reader completed by an external third party Canadian designated accountant is acceptable as well. This must be provided for at least one fiscal year and interim statement (prior or current year).

If my company is a subsidiary and doesn’t have independently audited financial statements am I eligible for the program?

No. Eligible applicants must have independently audited financial statements (see previous question) that have not been consolidated with the parent company’s financial statements to be eligible for the program.

Can two organizations owned by the same owner or ownership group apply simultaneously for an ESE grant?

No. Only one organization from an ownership group may apply at a time.

Are distributors or deemed manufactures eligible under the program?

No. Distributors and deemed manufacturers are not eligible under the program.

Is mileage eligible under the program?

No. Mileage is not an eligible expense.

Will the program support activities where company employees are not directly engaged?

No. The program will not support activities where company employees are not directly engaged in the project.

APPLICATION PROCESS


Who can complete and submit the online application?

Only companies applying to the program can complete and submit the online application. Outside third parties may assist companies to complete an application however outside third parties must not submit the application on the applicant’s behalf.

How early should I submit an application for funding?

Applicants are advised that they should submit an application at least 6 weeks prior to their project start date.

I am having difficulty accessing the on-line application, how can I get assistance?

Download the User Guide for the Online Application and follow the instructions contained in the guide. If you are still having difficulties, call 416-482–5222 and ask for an EMA representative.

How do I know that my application was submitted and received?

You will receive an instantaneous confirmation email indicating the application was properly submitted through the database. You will also see noted on the bottom of every page in the application “This e.Form has been submitted”. If you do not receive the email or see this notification, check the submissions summary section. This section will tell you what is missing from the application. Add in the missing information and click the submit button. If you still do not receive the email, please call 416-482–5222 and ask for an ESE representative. and ask for an ESE representative.

Once my application has been submitted, how long will it take for me to receive feedback regarding the application?

Received applications are generally reviewed within 2 or 3 business days of receipt. If you do not receive an amendment ESEil within 5 business days of submission, please call 416-482–5222 and ask for an ESE representative. It is the responsibility of the applicant to follow up with the program staff regarding the status of their application.

How many applications can I submit in one year?

You are allowed two applications in a 12 month period. The Final Report must be completed before a second application can be submitted. Companies cannot access more than $150,000 from the program.

I received a request to revise my application, is there a time limit on when I have to resubmit the application?

Yes, all revised applications must be submitted within 30 days and before the project start date to be eligible.

Can a project activity be changed after receiving approval from the program?

No. Applicants are expected to complete the project as per approved activities. Activity substitution is not allowed.

Can I submit quotations and other support documents in any language other than English?

No, however, if you must submit a document in a language other than English, we request that the document be translated into English to facilitate the processing of your application or Final Report.

ELIGIBLE EXPENSES


Can I submit expenses that have already been paid?

No, only expenses incurred after the project approval date are eligible for funding. The only exceptions being booth registration costs, registration fees for Ontario Government led missions, and air fare.

Can I apply for funding for more than one event/activity in one application, or do I submit a separate application for each event/activity?

No. Companies can only apply for one event per application.

Is the per diem expense $250 per company employees attending the event?

No, the maximum per diem allowance (Per Diem includes hotel, in market travel and food costs) is $125 per person/per day for up to two company employees while on travel status outside Canada for reasonable accommodation and living expenses (business, personal and incidental expenses will not be covered.

Can I apply for activities completed in the past?

No, the ESE will not fund projects that have been completed in the past. If some of the activities within the proposed project will take place in the future, then those activities are eligible.

Can I purchase capital items such as trade booths?

No, equipment rental is allowed, but purchasing of capital items is not an eligible expense.

Is training an eligible expense or production of training manuals?

No, the cost of training is not an eligible expense.

Can I apply for funding to “walk the floor” at a tradeshow?

No. Applicants are advised that consideration is given to companies that are planning to exhibit at trade shows.

Is product analysis or certification for customer requirements eligible for funding?

No. Only product testing to foreign national government standards is eligible for ESE funding (e.g. CE marking for the European Union). Products must also have pending orders to be eligible for funding.

If my company has hired an individual and/or organization on retainer, an in market agent or a sales representative can I apply to ESE to offset these expenses?

No. Companies cannot receive reimbursement for retainer fees, sales representatives or in market agents through the program.

If my company pays project expenses to a third party and not directly to the organization providing the service, are these costs eligible? For example, my distributor secured the trade show space, was invoiced and paid the registration directly to the show organizer. I then reimbursed my distributor for the cost of the registration?

No. Only those costs that are paid directly to the service provider, supported by invoices issued to the approved applicant and supported by appropriated proof of payment is eligible.

Are credit memos and bartering eligible transactions under the program?

No. Credit memos, in contra, bartering and other forms of non-directly verifiable transactions are not eligible.

Is the sponsorship of events eligible under the program?

No. The sponsorship of events is not an eligible ESE expense.

Will the program provide support for more than one booth for a single trade show/exhibition?

No. The program only provides support for one booth per show.

FINAL ACTIVITY REPORT


After approval and project completion what documents do I need to complete the reconciliation of expenses and/or Final Activity Report?

To successfully complete the online reconciliation of expenses report or Final Activity Report, a financial report indicating costs incurred and revenues earned along with supporting documentation such as receipts, invoices, cancelled cheques, credit card statements, wire transfers, and purchase orders, must be submitted. Please note this proof does not include cash payments, credit memos, in contra, bartering and other forms of non- directly verifiable transactions). ESE approved eligible expenses must be clearly itemized and proof of payment for each item must be upload into the Report.

When submitting receipting proof of payment, can I submit documents showing bulk payments that contains the payment for the ESE approved expenses?

ESE approved expenses should be paid separately as this will facilitates the processing of your final report and issuing of the second installment payment. However, if a bulk payment is made, the company must provide documents that clearly show that the ESE eligible expense was indeed paid.

When processing the Final Activity Report, will the program consider expenses not listed in the proposed budget?

No. Only approved eligible expenses that are listed in the proposed budget will be considered for reimbursement as part of the Final Activity Report review process.

What happens if I fail to submit reports as per program requirements?

If you fail submit the required reports, you may be deemed in breach of contract because you didn’t meet the Terms and Conditions of the program and you will be obligated to return any and all funds forwarded to you from the program.

Can I submit receipts, invoices, proof of payments and other support documents in any language other than English?

No, however, if you must submit a document in a language other than English, we request that the document be translated into English to facilitate the processing of your final report.

Do I have to provide supporting documentation for per diem expenses?

No, supporting documentation does not need to be provided for per diem.  However, supporting documentation such as receipts supported by cancelled cheques, credit card statements, and wire transfers must be provided for all other items to be eligible for funding.


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