Small Business BC receives over $3.6 million to help grow small businesses beyond B.C.

News release

Image of a person at a desk with a computer and a shipping package. Text reads: Small Business BC receives over $3.6M to help grow small businesses beyond B.C.

The Government of Canada is making investments to champion small businesses and support their export journey

June 2, 2023 –Vancouver, British Columbia – PacifiCan

British Columbia’s small businesses are the heart of our communities and the economic engine of our province. To continue fueling the entrepreneurial spirit of British Columbians, the Government of Canada is making investments to support more small businesses in B.C. and introduce them to the world.

Today at the 20th annual Small Business BC Awards, the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada (PacifiCan), announced PacifiCan funding of $3.65M to help Small Business BC celebrate entrepreneurs and increase the export capacity of small businesses across the province.

An investment of $3.6M over three years will help Small Business BC renew and expand the Export Navigator program to reach more people across B.C. Export Navigator is a free service that helps small businesses become export ready. A network of community-based export advisors provide one-on-one advice that can help small business owners tap into new international markets. With this funding, Small Business BC will expand the program to the Lower Mainland, Greater Victoria, and the Sea-to-Sky Region, so that entrepreneurs in all parts of the province can now access Export Navigator. Small Business BC will also enhance the program’s support for Indigenous entrepreneurs.  

Since 2016, nearly 900 B.C. businesses, including those owned by Indigenous, women and youth entrepreneurs, have benefited from the program. The expanded geographic coverage will also help more under-represented business owners, many of whom live in urban areas, access the Export Navigator program and reach new markets. PacifiCan has been a proud supporter of Export Navigator since 2019.

The remaining $50,000 will support the 20th annual Small Business BC Awards, Western Canada’s largest awards competition dedicated to small businesses. Small Business BC’s marquee celebration recognizes hard-working and resilient entrepreneurs in B.C. that contribute to the rich economic diversity across the province. 


“Entrepreneurs in B.C. are creating Canadian-made innovations that have a global impact, but it can be challenging to access bigger international markets. Export Navigator helps overcome barriers by providing customized support for small businesses looking to expand to new markets. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and programs like Export Navigator are empowering British Columbians to grow their businesses, create jobs, and fuel our economy.”
- The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada

“Funding provided by the Government of Canada to expand our Export Navigator program will allow Small Business BC and its Export Advisors to help hundreds of businesses throughout the province to better understand how they can grow their markets beyond British Columbia. We are grateful for the partnership and trust that Minister Sajjan and PacifiCan have placed on Small Business BC to deliver this critical service with such economic impact.”
- Tom Conway, CEO, Small Business BC

Quick facts

  • PacifiCan is the federal economic development agency dedicated to British Columbians. PacifiCan works with partners who are building innovative businesses, creating quality jobs, and supporting inclusive growth throughout our province.

  • With core funding from the Province of British Columbia and PacifiCan, Small Business B.C is a not-for-profit organization providing business development advisory services, programming, and education to small business owners in BC to help them grow successful and sustainable businesses.

  • In 2016, Export Navigator was launched as a pilot program in four communities. In 2019, PacifiCan invested $2.25M over three years to help Small Business B.C. deliver an expanded version of Export Navigator to more communities in B.C. 

  • With this funding, Export Navigator is now available in all eight B.C. economic development regions: Mainland/Southwest, Vancouver Island/Coast, Cariboo, Thompson-Okanagan, Kootenay, North Coast and Nechako, and Northeast.

  • The largest groups of participating businesses are from the agri-foods sector, followed by manufacturing, consumer goods, and clean technology. 

Associated links


Haley Hodgson
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of International Development and Pacific Economic Development Agency (PacifiCan)

Jillian Glover
Communications Manager

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