Export Navigator is open to growth-oriented, small and medium-sized businesses in the following regions of B.C.:
- Cariboo & Northeast B.C.
- Kootenay Boundary
- North Okanagan
- Pacific Northwest
- Vancouver Island North
- Vancouver Island South
There are also specialized services available for women, youth and indigenous-owned businesses.
Export Navigator was a pilot program initially launched in four communities in October 2016 and expanded to two new B.C. communities in April 2017. To continue assisting small businesses and entrepreneurs in their efforts to expand to new international and interprovincial markets, the pilot was transitioned into a fully-funded program in April 2019.
The impetus for the program stems from research that found that B.C. businesses were generally unaware of the number and type of export services available to them. The service delivery model developed specifically for Export Navigator uses several overarching design principles to ensure businesses receive the support they need, including community-based, in-person support and streamlined connections to business development services.
Export Navigator is guided by an Advisory Council – a group of government, non-profit and private service providers – who represent the interests of key stakeholders and meet quarterly to advance the goals of the Export Navigator program.
Export Navigator helps small and medium-sized businesses grow by supporting their entry into new domestic or international markets. The program offers growth-orientated businesses access to community-based advisors that provide export advice, guidance and resources, including:
- Conducting export readiness and business needs assessments
- Supporting the development of a comprehensive market entry strategy
- Providing market and sector information
- Providing streamlined service connections to third party support services
The Export Navigator program is funded by the Province of B.C. and Western Economic Diversification Canada and delivered by Small Business BC, Community Futures and Women’s Enterprise Centre.