Beyond exports: investing abroad, international tenders, R&D partnerships
You are planning a corporate investment project abroad
Investing in a foreign country
How is Canadian investment abroad defined?
As commerce becomes more global, Canadian firms are increasingly investing and setting up operations abroad to stay competitive and grow their businesses.
Overseas Canadian investment includes:
- Canadian Portfolio Investment abroad—Canadian company acquiring up to 9% voting shares of foreign entity
- Canadian Direct Investment abroad (CDIA)—Canadian company with minimum 10% voting shares of foreign entity
Investments abroad in CDIA can result in significant benefits for the Canadian economy, including increased research and development and increased participation in global value chains.
What support can I expect from the Trade Commissioner Service?
If your company is planning an investment with the potential to advance your business expansion objectives and strengthen Canada’s competitiveness, you can expect to receive similar services to those provided to exporters. These include:
- Market potential assessment: advice related to investing abroad and participating in global value chains, including image promotion and responsible business conduct
- Preparation for international markets: provision of information and assistance on investment within a particular market
- Qualified contacts: key contacts with local knowledge to help you refine and implement your investment strategy
- Problem solving: assistance to resolve urgent business relating to an investment
What financing supports are available for investing abroad?
There are multiple sources of financing for Canadian companies wishing to expand their activities abroad and undertake CDIA, including:
- Export Development Canada (EDC) is Canada’s export credit agency providing various types of financing and insurance products to help Canadian exporters and investors compete in the global market. EDC also has a project finance team that can assist in structuring the financing of complex infrastructure and industrial projects around the world.
- Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) offers financial and consulting services, subordinate financing and venture capital with a particular focus on the emerging and exporting sectors of the economy. BDC offers a financing program to help Canadian companies cover business expansion-related expenses.
- Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC) is Canada’s export contracting agency providing business solutions at all stages of the contracting process, including pre-contracting services, contract advisory services, post-contracting services and receivable discounting. The agency can also act as the prime contractor, giving the client a government-backed guarantee of contract performance.
For more information on investing in a foreign country, consult the following resources from the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service (TCS):
You want to bid on an international project or tender
Bidding on international projects
Where can I learn about potential international projects for my business?
If your company is looking to achieve growth through new export channels, the Global Bid Opportunity Finder (GBOF) tool from the Canadian Commercial Corporation may be right for you. The GBOF is a free web application designed to help Canadian businesses bid on opportunities around the world. GBOF sources bid opportunities from over 30 authenticated government e-tendering portals and consolidates over 5,000 new opportunities every day.
Specific features of the GBOF tool:
- Filter your search results by country, region, industry or key words
- Create alerts when new opportunities match your customized parameters
- Translate bid documents automatically into the official language of your choice
On rare occasions, you may have trouble obtaining tender documents in certain foreign markets. In such cases, the Trade Commissioner Service is there to assist you.
Connect with a trade commissioner covering your sector in that market by using Find a trade commissioner.
For more information on bidding on international projects, consult the following resources from the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service (TCS):
You are interested in pursuing R&D partnerships
Finding international R&D projects
Why is joining innovation activities abroad important for my business?
Diversifying internationally by engaging in R&D and other science, technology and innovation (ST&I) activities abroad can help your business access leading-edge research and technologies to remain globally competitive. The Trade Commissioner Service can help you access international technology networks, partners and resources to enhance your ability to innovate, compete and secure new markets.
Canada’s market for advanced technologies is relatively small and will not always support the full-fledged commercialization of a service or product. Therefore, finding an international market or supplying companies in global value chains can be essential to your tech company’s long-term success. For more information about global value chains, see the Trade Commissioner Service’s Linking in to Global Value Chains: A Guide for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises. Canada’s smaller domestic market also means you may need to go abroad to find the technology or intellectual property your business requires to develop new products and services.
If your company falls into R7D and other ST&I, you will likely have to internationalize. This can mean R&D collaboration with an overseas company, forming an international partnership or investing in a foreign business that complements your own.
Partnerships can include R&D and the transfer of ST&I to the global market. Canada has formal science and technology agreements with several countries and regularly publishes calls for proposals for industry-led collaborative R&D projects under the Canadian International Innovation Program.
How can I access innovation ecosystems in other markets?
The CanExport Innovation program can help Canadian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and innovators grow their networks and identify R&D relationships.
The Canadian Technology Accelerator (CTA) program supports Canadian companies with an existing technology, product or service explore opportunities in foreign markets. CTAs are located in major global tech hubs to help small Canadian technology companies acquire investment, advice, partners and sales.
Main sectors of focus for CTAs are:
- Information and communications technologies/digital industries
- life sciences
To learn more about these programs, venture capital, and other innovation topics, contact your regional office of the Trade Commissioner Service.
For more information on finding international R&D projects, consult the following resources from the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service (TCS):
‘Get Help Now’ - If you have an urgent export situation in a foreign market.
‘Contact Us’ - If you are already doing business internationally, or if you are ready to start exporting, and would like to discuss your strategy for one or more target markets.
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