Follow Us! Like Our Page!

Export Navigator expanded to support regional exporters

Press Release

From: Western Economic Diversification Canada

More rural communities in British Columbia to get export assistance

April 23, 2019 – Vancouver, British Columbia – Western Economic Diversification Canada

To help more rural business owners in B.C. get their goods to international and interprovincial markets, the Export Navigator initiative will be expanded to offer specialized support for businesses owned by Indigenous Peoples, women and youth.

Today, the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion, on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD), announced $2.25 million over three years to expand the Export Navigator program.

Building on the success of the pilot program, Export Navigator helps B.C. businesses become export ready by providing community-based export advisors who connect businesses with programs and services that are unique to their business needs. These specially trained advisors provide personalized, step-by-step approaches to help businesses become export ready by helping them navigate the many services available to them and tackle the logistics of customs certifications and other export requirements.

The new export advisors to support businesses owned by Indigenous Peoples, women, and youth, and will also provide additional support to all regional advisors and businesses enrolled in the program. Previously, there were six export advisors; this expansion brings the total to 10 advisors serving six B.C. economic development regions.

The Province is also contributing $2 million over two years, with a third year of funding to be confirmed following a review of program outcomes.

In the latter part of 2018, B.C.’s Small Business Task Force recommended the Province expand the Export Navigator program and make it a permanent provincial program. The Export Navigator program is managed by the Province in partnership with Western Economic Diversification Canada and delivered through Small Business BC and Community Futures. The pilot supports the collective commitment to build a strong, sustainable economy that works for everyone by growing regional economic development.


“Our government is laying the foundation for Canadians to become more competitive and succeed in the global economy, Today’s three-year investment to support the Export Navigator Program builds on our competitive advantages, and will result in increased access to exporting resources for small- and medium-sized enterprises, boosting economic growth, and creating good, middle-class jobs for Canadians.”

– The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada

“Finding ways to support the hard-working people who fuel these businesses can only pay dividends in terms of jobs and growth. Through the Export Navigator Program, we are delivering on our priorities like inclusive growth, business productivity, and economic competitiveness.”

– The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion

“Export activity directly benefits communities across B.C., creating jobs in every corner of our province. So far, Export Navigator has helped 317 small businesses at all stages of exporting. Working with Minister Mary Ng and the federal government, we now have an opportunity to expand the program by further assisting Indigenous people, women and youth.”

– The Honourable Bruce Ralston, Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology, British Columbia

“While B.C. is the fourth-largest exporter in Canada, only a small percentage of small business are exporting. The expanded Export Navigator program will help more small, rural businesses build capacity to export, expanding their customer base and supporting good jobs.”

– The Honourable George Chow, Minister of State for Trade, British Columbia

“Our Vancouver Island Export Navigator advisor has been great. He has advised us of many government funding programs, events and seminars that would help us export. As well, he has helped us find the proper contacts within government to talk to, to be able to get answers quickly to any questions that we may have as we move forward with our exporting plans.”

– Lisa Mellett, President, Queen Bee Farms

“At Small Business BC, we see first-hand the challenges many small business owners face when trying to enter international markets. Export Navigator helps fill that knowledge gap and makes essential connections to give them a competitive advantage. We are extremely pleased for this program to expand and cannot wait to see even more small businesses flourish because of the support they receive.”

– Tom Conway, CEO, Small Business BC

“We are pleased that the Export Navigator Program has expanded. This program provides essential support to B.C.’s small businesses and will help ensure their continued growth and success by preparing them to be export ready. Export Navigator will benefit people throughout the province, because thriving exports means more jobs British Columbians can count on.”

– Cybele Negris, Vice-chair, Small Business Roundtable

Quick facts

  • Export Navigator is available in the following six B.C. economic development regions: Vancouver Island/Coast, Cariboo, Thompson-Okanagan, Kootenay, North Coast and Nechako, and Northeast.
  • 317 B.C. businesses have participated in the program since 2016 – 56 of them are in the market entry and market growth stages of the program, which focus on exporting and export market strategies.
  • The largest groups of participating businesses are from the agri-foods sector, followed by manufacturing, consumer goods, and clean technology.
  • It is estimated that four direct jobs and two indirect jobs are created for every $1 million in international exports.
  • In 2018, total British Columbia goods exported worldwide were valued at $46 billion.

Associated links


Ben Stanford
Regional Communications Manager
Western Economic Diversification Canada
[email protected]

Media Relations
BC Ministry of Jobs, Trade and Technology


NationTalk Partners & Sponsors Learn More