Frequently Asked Questions
Here is a list of frequently asked questions about the Enterprise Canada Network:
1. How does ECN work?
The Enterprise Canada Network connects Canadians to global business, technology and research opportunities, facilitates international partnerships and creates trade.
ECN’s core functions include:
• Searching by industry sector, market and technology for available Canadian and international opportunity abstracts;
• Receive e-mail alerts notifying of you of newly listed opportunities matching your identified preferences;
• Connecting you to qualified leads via the Opportunity Cart function; and
• Posting an opportunity profile for Canadian and/or international exposure through our access to the Enterprise Europe Network.
Other great features of ECN include:
• Our Export Assistance Navigator allows you to search all Canadian federal and provincial export support and promotion programs that match your needs.
• Our Transit Time Tool provides you with accurate and timely information relating to transit times to and from major international ports through various modes of transportation.
• Our Publications search engine provides you with easy access to publications covering a wide range of export and innovation topics and covers a variety of markets and sectors.
2. Where do the global opportunities come from?
ECN draws its opportunities from the Enterprise Europe Network ("EEN"), a network of more than 600 partner organizations across 54 countries (EU and non-EU). The Network partners log requests and offers for business, technology and research partnerships on behalf of their clientele in a database that currently contains over 18,000 company profiles with more than 35,000 partnership opportunities.
In 2012, Canada acceded to the Enterprise Europe Network, and Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) was named the exclusive contact point for Canada. As the National Contact Point for Canada, CME has created ECN as a portal to the thousands of EEN business, technology and research opportunities.
In addition, opportunities emanate from ECN user’s that draft profiles with the hopes of identifying a new business, technology or research partnership.
3. What is the difference between an ‘offer’ and a ‘request’?
ECN opportunities can either be offers or requests.
• An offer is an articulation of a particular business, research or technology to be made available to the broader marketplace.
• A request is a particular business, technology or research business need.
4. Why are opportunity abstracts anonymous? Why can’t I see company’s names and contact information?
Opportunity abstracts are purposively anonymous and remain so until consent is provided. Anonymity ensures that only qualified expressions of interest reach the companies and organizations who posted the opportunities.
5. How are opportunities qualified?
ECN’s global partners work with their clientele to draft opportunities according to guidelines and criteria issued by the European Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation (EACI). Profiles are subject to 2 sets of review, an internal review from the trained intermediary, such as a foreign chamber of commerce or industry association, and an external review by 1 of 52 external reviewers (that are either representatives of other intermediaries or the EACI itself). Profiles following the EACI guidelines and that meet each set of review appear on the EEN public database.
6. How can I begin receiving opportunity alert e-mails?
In order to begin receiving e-mails with business, technology and research opportunities that match your preferences, you need to register.
Once registered, opportunity alert emails will be sent to the e-mail address provided at your selected frequency (daily or weekly). Once you spot an opportunity of interest, you can connect by ‘clicking’ on the opportunity or by visiting your ECN Dashboard.
7. What is my Dashboard?
Your Dashboard is the landing page that appears once logged into ECN. From your Dashboard, you can
• Edit your account information,
• File an expression of interest,
• Connect to an opportunity,
• Post a profile for public viewing,
• Purchase Connection Credits,
• Access important business and innovation related resources.
8. What is an “EOI”?
EOI means “Expression of Interest.” Any time you spot an opportunity that catches your interest, cart that opportunity for safe-keeping. You can return to your ‘opportunity cart’ at anytime and connect directly to the opportunity. By connecting, you’re filing an expression of interest.
9. What happens when I connect to an opportunity?
Once you’ve narrowed down a list of interesting opportunities, you can connect to them at any time providing you’re logged into the ECN web site. In order to connect to an opportunity, you must purchase a credit. Each connection requires the use of a single credit.
Once you have purchased credits and you click ‘connect’ on any opportunity, we will ask you for a bit more information relating to your interests in that opportunity. From there, clicking the ‘connect’ button again will trigger an introduction email from ECN to the issuer of that profile on your behalf. For your convenience, we will copy you on this introductory e-mail. Allow for a few days after each connection for the profile drafter to get back to you.
ECN staff will be with you the entire way and will follow up on any connection you’ve filed to ensure that there is some feedback from the intermediary. However, ECN cannot guarantee that your expression of interest will be positively received as any response is to the discretion of the recipient.
10. How do I create a profile?
To start, you must register. Remember, registering on the site and setting up an opportunity alert for e-mail notifications in no way means you’ve created a profile.
To create a profile, visit your Dashboard. Here you can easily fill out the required fields to create a profile. Once you’ve included information in all mandatory fields, you can submit your profile. Keep your company or organization information anonymous when describing your business, innovation or research. You can ‘save’ and re-visit your profile at any time before submitting it.
Once you’re satisfied with your profile, please click ‘submit.’ After submitting your profile, ECN will review your profile responses for accuracy and sufficiency and if need be follow up for more information. Please allow for 7-10 days for this process.
11. What kind of exposure will my profile get?
During the creation of your profile, please select the type of dissemination preferred. By selecting Canada only, your profile will only appear on the ECN web site. By selecting ‘specific countries,’ your profile will be submitted to the Enterprise Europe Network for dissemination among up to 600 partner organizations in 54 countries. Please allow for two to four weeks for approvals from the European Commission.
12. Where can I access pricing information?
Almost all of ECN’s core services are free. This includes;
• Access to ECN’s robust search engine that provides direct access to thousands of qualified leads,
• Access to tailored opportunity e-mail alerts by sector and sub-sector, and
• Promotion of your products and services domestically and internationally through our profile dissemination function.
In order to access ECN’s streamlined connection process that links you directly to the foreign intermediaries and their clients, you need to purchase credits. Credits can easily be purchased online by visiting your Dashboard.
The price for each connection credit is listed below. For more information on pricing, including the price of an unlimited annual subscription, please click here.
13. Where can I get answers on doing business in foreign markets?
ECN has been built with a view to supporting your global ambitions. Please visit our Export Assistance Navigator or Publications tool to access helpful resources on entering a foreign market. In addition, visit your Dashboard for access to your resources.
14. Where can I go to learn about upcoming events, including trade missions?
Visit the Events page on the ECN home page menu anytime for information on upcoming trade, export and innovation events in Canada and abroad.
15. What if Canada is not listed as a "country of preferred partner sought"?
Organizations behind the profiles featured on the ECN web site will sometimes include the county of their ideal business, technology or research partner. Sometimes this includes Canada, sometimes it does not. For opportunity abstracts where Canada is not listed a country of preferred partner sought, you can still connect to this opportunity. However, if Canada is explicitly excluded, your chances of a positive response may be limited.
16. Who are ECN’s Partners? How does my organization become one?
If your organization works with SME's and researchers that are looking to 'go global,' ECN wants to partner with you.
As a Partner, your constituents will have access to a vast international network of businesses and. You'll also receive recognition on the ECN website and gain preferential access to our Partner Services, including the ability pass connection credit discounts on to your constituents, post preferred opportunities, or engage our team to help you find suppliers.
For more information about the ECN Partner Program please click here.
17. Who are ECN’s Strategic Partners in Canada?
ECN is supported by key government stakeholders that are central to creating trade and business opportunities in Canada. Our Strategic Partners currently include Export Development Canada (EDC).