The international SBDC model expansion throughout Latin America and the Caribbean will create a hemispheric network of SBDCs that would improve SME competitiveness, generate new trade opportunities and promote the economic integration of the region.
The expansion of the SBDCs throughout Latin America started in Mexico in 2003 through a Cooperative Agreement with the Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara funded by TIES USAID Mexico. As a result of this project, which ended in September 2009, the Mexican Association of SBDCs (AMCDPE) was founded and accreditation standards were developed for the certification of the centers. During 2009 and with more than 100 operating centers, the Mexican Network of SBDCs assisted more than 32,000 small businesses that created and retained 12,000 jobs.
The implementation of the SBDC model in El Salvador started in 2009 with the participation of the Salvadorian government in the OAS and ASBDC annual conferences. As a result of consultations and trainings, 11 centers were created by 2013.
As part of the U.S. Department of State initiative Pathways for Prosperity and with the support of Higher Education for Development (HED), the South West Texas Border SBDC Network and CENPROMYPE started in September 2011 a project titled "Adapting and replicating the SBDC model in Central America" with the objective of creating national SBDC networks that will be linked with their counterparts in the United States, Mexico, El Salvador, Colombia and the Caribbean by September 2013.
In 2012 a partnership program with the U.S. Government through the U.S. Mission to the Organization of American States (OAS), the OAS Department of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism, the Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) and the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) began the process of assisting five countries in the Caribbean - Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Jamaica and Saint Lucia - in adapting the SBDC model. This project will follow the critical path of SBDC model development as experienced in Mexico and Central America but will be adapted to a regional Caribbean SME development context.