The Ontario government is embracing digital technologies and making it easier for businesses to take advantage of international markets with a new online platform.

The province has launched the new Magnet Export Business Portal, which aims to give Ontario exporters the tools they need to navigate the provincial trade ecosystem.

The portal will serve as a centralized hub that consolidates all export information into one platform, which will save businesses time, money, and resources by eliminating the need for them to search multiple websites and programs. The “first of its kind in Canada” portal also will deliver information targeted to the specific needs of each business, the government says.

“Today’s global marketplace is so increasingly complex, competitive and fast-moving that it demands an innovative approach to help internationally-minded companies navigate it with confidence,” Michael Chan, Ontario’s Minister of International Trade, says in a Nov. 6 press release. “The Magnet Export Business Portal connects companies to critical programs and services quickly and easily. Fundamentally, Magnet is a modern solution to the modern challenge of diversification at the speed of business.”

The portal was created in partnership with Magnet, a not-for-profit social innovation co-founded by Ryerson University and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce to develop services for talent matching, labour market intelligence and research, and organization and community support.

Magnet’s intelligent networking platform that powers the Export Business portal is based on WhoPlusYou Inc., a startup incubated by Ryerson’s DMZ. It will filter and curate information that supports businesses, economic development, and trade.

“The Magnet Export Business Portal offers a comprehensive approach for exporters by bringing all exporting programs and services onto a single platform,” Mark Patterson, executive director at Magnet, says in the release. “Magnet has more than 12,000 businesses already using its platform, some of which are exporters or have export potential. Thanks to the initiative and funding from Ontario’s Ministry of International Trade, combined with our advanced technology, we believe these companies and thousands more will see immediate benefit from the Magnet Export Business Portal.”

The portal is a key part of Ontario’s Global Trade Strategy and is meant to increase the province’s international trade performance over the next five years.

Terry Hopper, a controller at Cedar Crest Wood Products, explains that while a daunting task, exporting products is essential to growing the business and the new portal makes that job much easier.

“There are tremendous challenges in starting to export. Identifying target markets, sourcing financing, understanding the tax implications and finding information and guidance to do it all easily when you have limited resources was very frustrating,” Hopper adds. “When I used the Magnet Export Business Portal for the first time, I was astounded to find everything I spent months trying to source and figure out was all there at my fingertips. The developers have really hit this Portal out of the park.”



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