If you’re a small business owner looking to expand into a new market, the provincial government’s new Export Navigator pilot program could be just what you need.

It aims to help businesses become export-ready with new tools and expert advice as part of the government’s BC Tech Strategy.

Prince George is one of several BC communities that will play host to the year long pilot project, which will aim to help small businesses navigate what can be a daunting process.

“What we hope you do is figure out all of the various steps necessary to find where the opportunities are,” says Charles Scott, an expert advisor with the program. “Of course, if the companies can do that themselves, terrific but our goal is to get companies export ready and there is a specific formula that the federal government uses to determine export readiness.”

The program is being funded with a $500,000 contribution from the BC Government and Community Futures is providing $140,000. Scott says 10 businesses, ranging from software to forestry companies, will participate in the pilot and it will be tailored to each business’s area of interest.

“The pilot right now is one on one walking with the owner’s of the company. What are you looking to do? Do you have some specific areas that you’re trying to do it in? Are there areas that you’re targeting which we can help you get to? Most of the cases are, ‘I do this. How do I figure out who might want to buy it and if they can pay me?’ And we’ll help them do that.”

Nearby markets, like Alberta and Washington State, are the highest priority but some businesses are looking as far afield as South American and New Zealand.