General Info

5 Questions: Trade Accelerator Program

Trade Accelerator Program Manager John Gerum answers some commonly asked TAP questions

The Trade Accelerator Program, also known as TAP, is a comprehensive, hands-on workshop that provides export resources, coaching and mentorship to small and medium-sized enterprises in the Edmonton region. The program helps companies scale up strategically and successfully enter the global market.

TAP’s first cohort launched on September 12, and participating companies are well underway in writing their export plan. We catch up with John Gerum, Trade Accelerator Program Manager, to get in-depth answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about TAP.

1. How does the program work?

John Gerum:

The program runs for six weeks and has four session dates. Most companies will be familiar with the first part, which provides them with education on the core business functions they’ll need to master in order to export successfully. What participants might not understand is the export plan. The coaching and mentoring they receive from our subject matter experts as they write their plan is value they won’t get elsewhere.

2. How is TAP different from other export training courses or workshops?

John Gerum:

It’s different because you don’t just learn about important business functions like finance and expansion capital or supply chain management to only return to your office and file it away. TAP helps you create an actionable plan to get you exporting quickly.

Building off the first question, the mentoring and coaching aspect sets TAP apart from other workshops or programs. For example, one of our experts from PricewaterhouseCoopers brought to attention the changes to American taxation coming into effect in October. Many participating companies were unaware of these changes. Had they gone ahead with exporting without TAP, they would be facing hundreds of thousands in tax penalties. Our experts help steer these companies through the world of export and make it easier for them.

I would also add that you will be learning from and building relationships with other participants in the program. We’ve seen companies collaborate with one another and share contacts, resources and data. It becomes an extremely supportive group who are all on a similar export journey.

TAP Participants

3. How much does it cost to enrol in the program?

John Gerum:

This question comes up quite frequently; the cost for the value is negligible. It’s a $500 registration fee. If you add up all the billable hours of the subject matter experts throughout the six weeks, the actual value of the program is $25,000. If you have participated in an EEDC trade mission or are recommended by a sponsor, the registration fee is waived.

Governments across Canada recognize the importance of export and growing the Canadian economy and therefore have given us the resources and level of support to help small to medium-sized enterprises accelerate their export.

4. Is attendance mandatory for all sessions?

John Gerum:

Yes, it is very important that you attend all four sessions. They all build on each other and provide you with information that you will need in order to export successfully. Having said that, we will provide flexibility within reason.

5. What happens after the program ends?

John Gerum:

Once the program ends, you’ll still have access to the mentorship and coaching from our subject matter experts as you activate your export plan. We’ll be following up at least every six months to provide support and check on your progress. Important export-related information applicable to your business will continue to be shared with you. You will also have access to your cohort group. This support is continuing to evolve as we find even more ways to help companies after TAP.

The next TAP cohort launch date is November 5, and applications for enrolment should ideally be received by October 30. International trade is becoming imperative to Edmonton’s economic success. Starting in 2019, TAP will be offered once every quarter.

For answers to other commonly asked questions about TAP, download the TAP FAQs sheet.