Commercialization and Exportation Support Program (PSCE) in Quebec
By Émile Audet
February 02, 2024

What is the Commercialization and Exportation Support Program (PSCE)?

The PSCE, or Programme de soutien à la commercialisation et l'exportation, is an initiative set up by the Quebec government to help companies market their products and services nationally and internationally. Launched in December 2021, after being unveiled in March of the same year, the program has a five-year budget of $200 million. PSCE is divided into three components, each aimed at strengthening the capacity of companies according to their specific needs. The first component supports Quebec SMEs in strengthening their commercial offering on the local market, the second aims to help SMEs export outside Quebec, and the third supports large corporations in their international projects. Investissement Québec is associated with the program to ensure its efficient management and implementation, ensuring that eligible companies can take advantage of this investment to grow and diversify their markets. Thanks to the PSCE, Quebec companies will be able to benefit from additional support to boost their growth and competitiveness.

What is the objective of the PSCE?

The objective of the Marketing and Export Support Program is to help Quebec companies expand into foreign markets. To achieve this, it accompanies SMEs throughout the marketing and export stages, offering them financial support. By supporting new projects, the PSCE enables companies to enter international markets with minimal financial risk. By enhancing Quebec's international presence and reputation, the PSCE also helps promote the Quebec brand around the world. Quebec exporters can therefore benefit from this financial support to increase their presence abroad, and thereby boost their market share. With the PSCE, Quebec companies have access to personalized support to help them succeed in their export projects. The program enables companies to expand their markets, increase sales, create new jobs and contribute to Quebec's economic growth. In short, the PSCE is an indispensable tool for companies wishing to expand internationally.

The three components of the Marketing and Export Support Program

Component 1: Strengthening the ability of SMEs to market their products and services in Québec

This is important for companies wishing to integrate into the province's strategic supply chains. It also increases the capacity of SMEs to participate in calls for tender issued by major public-sector clients. The program includes a maximum non-repayable contribution of $250,000 per year, covering up to 50% of eligible expenses, with a minimum expenditure of $25,000. Eligible projects may include hiring a market development specialist or sales representative in Quebec, obtaining certification, and developing a communications strategy, including market research and market development expertise. Trademark registration is also an eligible expense under this component. The first component of the PSCE is an excellent opportunity for Quebec SMEs seeking to strengthen their position in the local market and increase their capacity to meet the needs of major public-sector clients.

Component 2: Strengthening the export capacity of SMEs and accelerating their projects in markets outside Quebec

Component 2 of the program aims to strengthen the export capacity of Quebec SMEs by helping them to accelerate their projects in markets outside Quebec. Non-repayable assistance of up to $100,000 is available, with a maximum rate of 50% for the first project, 40% for the second, and 25% for future projects. Eligible projects include the hiring of a market development specialist outside Quebec, or a representative for that region. Companies can also develop export diagnostics and strategies, and benefit from support in implementing marketing strategies or promoting their business abroad. Other eligible projects include studying a foreign market, obtaining a contract outside Quebec, or obtaining certification. Finally, companies can also benefit from support in setting up foreign offices and registering their trademarks abroad. In short, the second component is designed to promote marketing projects outside Quebec and the development of international markets, with a particular focus on SMEs and their ability to accelerate their projects in these markets.

Component 3: Supporting large companies in their structuring projects on international markets

The third component is designed to support large companies in their structuring projects on international markets. Eligible projects include hiring a representative outside Quebec, obtaining a contract outside Quebec, obtaining approval, compliance or certification for export, setting up an office or making an acquisition outside Quebec, implementing a marketing strategy (digital, development of tools, advertising) and registering trademarks abroad. Large companies can benefit from a non-refundable contribution of up to $100,000 for their minimum expenditure of $100,000. Rates of assistance vary according to whether the project is the first, second or future project, with a maximum rate of assistance of 50% for the first project, 40% for the second project and 25% for future projects. In short, the aim of this program is to encourage large companies to carry out their internationalization projects, by offering them concrete means of doing so, and thereby making a greater contribution to Quebec's economy and its international influence.

Who is eligible?

To be eligible for the program, companies must be for-profit, social economy or non-financial cooperatives, and meet one of the program's three sales criteria. For Stream 1, sales must be under $100 million; for Stream 2, sales must be between $1 million and under $100 million; and for Stream 3, sales must be over $100 million. All sectors of activity are accepted, with the exception of agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, mining and quarrying, oil and gas extraction, utilities, retail trade, finance and insurance, real estate and rental services, management of companies and enterprises, administrative and support services, educational services, health care and social assistance, arts, entertainment and recreation, accommodation and food services, and other services except public administration. Finally, to meet the eligibility criteria, the company must carry out pre-production activities as well as post-production activities such as marketing, distribution and commercialization, while having its head office in Quebec.

How to apply

To participate in a program, there are a number of steps to follow. First, complete the pre-qualification process. Next, you need to register with the Ministry to access the portal and gather the required documents. To continue, consult the steps in the questionnaire and complete the application, making sure to provide all the information requested. Once the application has been submitted, it will be analyzed by Investissement Quebec for 4 to 6 weeks. Finally, after a decision and approval, which takes about 5 to 6 weeks, activities can begin. It is therefore important to follow each of these steps carefully to have the best chance of success with Investissement Quebec's Marketing and Export Support Program.

Important elements of the Marketing and Export Support Program

In conclusion, the Marketing and Export Support Program (PSCE) is a key initiative of the Quebec government to stimulate economic growth and the international competitiveness of local companies. With its structured approach and substantial financial support, it offers Quebec SMEs and large companies concrete means to develop their marketing and export activities, helping to strengthen Quebec's economic presence and influence on world markets.
Points to remember :
  • Three program components: The PSCE is structured into three components, specifically targeting the needs of SMEs for local market and export activities, as well as large companies for their international projects.
  • Eligibility criteria and participation process: Companies must meet certain sales and business sector criteria to be eligible, and follow a pre-qualification and application process to receive financial assistance.
  • Economic impact: The program aims to increase sales, create jobs and promote Quebec's international reputation, by supporting companies in their marketing and export efforts.
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About the author

Émile Audet - Canadian grants specialist

Émile Audet

Canadian grants specialist
Working at helloDarwin for some time now, I'm in charge of providing you with the information you need on government aid. Dedicated to helping companies in Quebec and Canada reach their full potential, I write on the helloDarwin blog about the various programs, allowances and funding available to enable organizations to make their digital transformation through access to federal and provincial support.
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