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Helping Canadian creative businesses and organizations achieve financial success on the world stage

Press Release

From: Canadian Heritage

TORONTO, February 20, 2024

The Government of Canada is committed to helping Canadian creative businesses and organizations enhance their visibility and increase their export profits in global markets. This benefits Canada’s creative professionals and our economy.

The Honourable Pascale St-Onge, Minister of Canadian Heritage, announced today that 21 projects are receiving funding from the Creative Export Canada program Export-Ready Stream. This support will help Canadian companies and organizations grow their business and achieve financial success abroad. The minister made the announcement in Toronto while visiting one of this year’s funding recipients, Israella Kobla fashion design house, as part of Black History Month celebrations.

The Israella Kobla design house creates contemporary women’s clothing and accessories with the goal of becoming an innovative and sustainable global women’s clothing brand.

The Creative Export Canada program Export-Ready Stream is investing more than $113,000 in the company’s wholesale expansion project, aimed at promoting and distributing its Spring/Summer 2024 collection at fashion events in Copenhagen and New York. This export project will help strengthen and diversify the company’s wholesale operations and revenues internationally, build contacts with the international media and fashion industry influencers, generate leads and increase brand awareness.

Israella Kobla will be in New York this month as part of the Canadian Creative Accelerator Program for Fashion companies, a separate Creative Export Strategy program focused on international business growth. This program is run jointly by Global Affairs Canada’s creative industry trade commissioners in New York and London.

The sixth annual Export-Ready Stream also supports 20 other projects by businesses and organizations across Canada. This includes support for eight creative businesses and organizations from equity-deserving communities and one Indigenous business. Please see the attached backgrounder for more information.


“Our Creative Export Strategy continues to help our creative entrepreneurs thrive internationally. This increased support through our Creative Export Canada funding program will ensure that more homegrown export-ready businesses like Israella Kobla can succeed, reach more people around the world and showcase our country’s diverse creative talent in key markets abroad. Black excellence is something to celebrate. We are proud to showcase the accomplishments of Black women and business leaders in Canada.”

—The Honourable Pascale St-Onge, Minister of Canadian Heritage

“I’ve always known what I needed to do in order to take Israella Kobla to the next level. However, the financial commitment was always too much. The funding from Creative Export Canada allowed me to execute our export strategy and it resulted in us securing a significant wholesale order from Nordstrom in the U.S. Without the funding, I wouldn’t have been able to be in the spaces to connect with the right buyers and retailers.”

—Emefa Kuadey, Fashion Engineer and Founder, Israella Kobla

Quick facts

  • As part of the renewal of the Creative Export Strategy in April 2023, the Creative Export Canada program received $33 million over three years, from 2023 to 2026. The Export-Ready Stream invest $7 million per year in export-ready projects that generate export revenues and help Canadian creative industries reach more people around the world. The new Export Development Stream invests $4 million per year in new and early-stage exporters entering international markets and in experienced exporters expanding their global networks.
  • Since its launch in 2018, Creative Export Canada has invested $51.7 million, under the Export-Ready Stream, in 116 export-ready projects from 103 creative industry businesses and organizations.
  • The Canadian Creative Accelerator for Fashion Companies is a joint initiative of the High Commission of Canada in the United Kingdom and the Consulate General of Canada in New York. The accelerator supports emerging and established Canadian fashion companies that are ready for international growth to export to the United States and the U.K.
  • Canadian Heritage recently published a new guide, Doing business with Indigenous creative industries in Canada. This publication was developed in collaboration with an Indigenous advisory panel and is designed to help encourage more positive interactions between international buyers and Indigenous creative industries in Canada.
  • In December 1995, the House of Commons officially recognized February as Black History Month in Canada, following a motion by the Honourable Dr. Jean Augustine, the first Black Canadian woman elected to Parliament.

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For more information (media only), please contact:

Ariane Joazard-Bélizaire
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Media Relations
Canadian Heritage


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