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TAP – The Best Mentor for Canadian SME Owners


TAP CANADA provides companies with access to Canada’s top exporting advisors, resources and contacts, giving them the training and support they need to become successful international traders in their specific business sector.


TAP Canada is an innovative and dynamic program that helps your small or medium-sized enterprise plan and prepare for long-term export success.

This 3-step program provides access to Canada’s top export advisors, resources and contacts. You will work with industry leaders to develop a comprehensive Export Plan and then begin its implementation.

Step 1 (2 days): Export Readiness Training
Step 2 (1 day): Hands-on Export Plan Workshop
Step 3 (1 day): Mentoring and Validation Workshop


canadiansme magazine canada
Gwenaele Montagner
Director, International Trade Development
World Trade Centre Toronto
TAP Canada offers training to help SMEs grow their business and become more successful. Can you go more into detail about how the program is designed to help entrepreneurs?


A: The raison d’être of TAP is to grow SMEs in Canada and beyond borders. We train them to shift their approach from a reactive market dependence on a proactive, dynamic and assertive methodology to transform their business. Through the program, which only requires four days of in-house training over a six-week-period, SMEs gain access to Canada’s top exporting advisors, resources and contacts in both the public and private sectors. The main points of knowledge acquisition include:

  • Navigating the complexities of the global trade ecosystem
  • Leveraging Canada’s deep trade and investment resources
  • Accessing tailored, face-to-face coaching and advice from experts in a multitude of fields
  • Learning about international best practices, such as how to bridge cultural barriers and access and maximize opportunities in global markets
  • Developing and implementing a fully vetted export plan


What resources are used to create the workshops for SMEs?


A: We have broad resources compiled from the breadth and depth of the Canadian export ecosystem:

  • All levels of government and crown corporations
  • Corporate expertise in many fields including international tax & accounting, web design, international labour and immigration law, IP protection, international sales and marketing, financing, foreign exchange and many more
  • Specialized organizations including foreign chambers of commerce, angel investor networks, Centres of Excellence, incubators and innovation platforms


What makes TAP Canada stand out from other similar companies who also offer training and workshops to entrepreneurs?


A: TAP is unique in many ways. It stays away from a traditional academic learning approach to international trade. Extremely fast-paced, it engages companies in interactive case studies, group workshops, mock sales negotiations and many other activities that are hands-on and promote self-confidence and peer-to-peer interaction. It forces companies to learn to research and understand their markets and customers, focus, plan and get help. By the end of the program, each company leaves with a written comprehensive export plan, fully vetted by our corporate specialists.


How does TAP Canada go about offering training to a diversified clientele? Is their program designed to offer general training or can they offer different programs to clients who have different business needs?


A: 90% of the hurdles SMEs face while planning global expansion are identical across all sectors of the economy. However, we recognize that companies will face specific additional barriers depending on the complexity of the markets they want to penetrate or the type of products or services they offer. For that reason, we provide TAP cohorts that focus on specific sectors or markets to bring that additional specialized support companies are looking for. The TAP cohorts and contents are planned and listed for the full year and can be accessed through our website.

canada exports
Ontario Export Awards TAP Team
Is TAP Canada guaranteed to have a successful impact on SMEs?


A: Results are directly related to the number of efforts the companies will put in writing their export plans. What we can guarantee is that if an SME enters TAP, takes advantage of all the resources offered to them during the program and spend the time to plan and design an international strategy with the support of our experts, they will indeed grow their companies significantly in Canada and abroad.


What can entrepreneurs do on their side to ensure that the training they receive is successful when applying it in their business?


A: Coming to TAP will change their approach to how they are doing business. They will finish the program with a much better understanding of the importance of solid internal processes, knowledge of their businesses’ weaknesses and how to eliminate them, and keys to maximizing their resources. This increased knowledge will be the foundation of their new growth.

What happens when entrepreneurs finish their training? Does TAP Canada follow-up with business owners ensure their success or are they left free to fly on their own?


A: When entrepreneurs graduate from TAP, they will be part of a professional network of peers, high-end corporate specialists and key government contacts which will accompany them through their export journey. Through social media, networking events, and promotional opportunities offered by the team at World Trade Centre Toronto and our operating partners across the country, they will be part of the growing TAP Canada family.

3 Anniversary Info-graphic


What would you say is the biggest impact that TAP Canada has had on SMEs?


A: More than 57% of TAP graduates export following their participation in the program. That is in contrast with the national average of 11% of Canadian SMEs exporting

  • Those companies report a 17% average increase in export sales within a year and a 35% sales increase forecast for the next 5 years
  • TAP Participants have entered more than 40 markets including China, India, Mexico, Japan, U.K., Italy, Sweden, the UAE and the U.S. to name a few
  • 76% of exporting TAP companies created new, export-related jobs with an average annual salary of $86,000


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Insights from Michael Tremblay: President and CEO of Invest Ottawa

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