The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), host of one of the most successful SBDC programs in the nation, has been the leading institution in promoting and expanding the Small Business Development Center model throughout Latin American, the Caribbean and North Africa.
Since 2003 and with the support of various US government and regional agencies, such as the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Higher Education for Development (HED), the Organization of American States (OAS), the United States Department of States, the US Permanent Mission to the OAS, and CENPROMYPE, UTSA has been advising foreign government on how to adapt, implement and establish SBDC networks in their respective countries.
This includes UTSA providing expert guidance for each country on proper SME policy development, hands-on training to transfer the SBDC model, training future SBDC professionals, hosting observational viists to San Antonio, Texas, developing accreditation standards, creating an association of SBDCs and conducting in-country SBDC operational improvement visits.
UTSA will continue to be instrumental in the expansion, internationalization and linkage of the SBDCs by assisting them in merging efforts with their national export assistance agencies and by facilitating the access to SBDCGlobal.com, which will help SBDC clients open new export markets, increase competitiveness and grow sales in the Americas.
Small Business Network of the Americas
Recognizing the importance of small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) as key drivers of job creation and broad-based economic growth in the US as well as in the Western Hemisphere, President Obama launched in April 2012 the Small Business Network of the Americas (SBNA) Initiative to support the SME sector and encourage greater trade throughout the Americas.
The Initiative aims to increase available resources for small businesses, expand SME assistance service and provide the framework to link all entrepreneurs in the Western Hemisphere.
The goals of the SBNA will be achieved by:
- Expanding the successful US Small Business Development Center (SBDC) model to other countries;
- Connecting the more than 1,100 SBDCs with other SME support centers throughout the hemisphere;
- Enhancing the use and availability of online trade platforms like SBDCGlobal.com;
- Leveraging partner organizastions in assisting SBDC clients to do business in other countries.