Belize SBDC project
Within the framework of the initiation of the project of implementing the SBDC model in Belize, and taking into consideration the interest of Belize in assessing the possibility of adapting and implementing the SBDC model, with the goal of broadening and improving assistance services to the micro and small business sector, on March 1st, 2012 the Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE) and the Belize Development Finance Corporation (DFC) in collaboration with the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) hosted the event titled “Small Business Development Center Model: learning the SBDC model of the University of Texas at San Antonio”, during which the SBDC model promoted by the University of Texas at San Antonio was presented.
Following the presentation of the model, participants were divided in groups by stakeholder sector (private, public/NGO/academic and financial institutions), with the goal of obtaining feedback on the possibility of successfully adapting and implementing the model within the context of Belize as well as assessing their interest in participating in such project.
The feedback gathered from the consultation showed that the public, private and academic sectors considered that the model could be adapted to the Belizean context and would support the implementation of it. As a result, a "Certificate Training for Future SBDC Counselors and Directors" was conducted to prepare professionals on how to operate and manage an SBDC.
On October 31st, 2012 Belize launched the first SBDC in the country - SBDCBelize. To date the SBDCBelize has attracted a significant number of clients and is doing an excellent job of offering training programmes to small businesses in the community. The SBDC has also implemented the client activity tracking system (NeoSerra) that monitors client activities and assists in the measurement and evaluation of performance and results. in January 2013 staff from the SBDCBelize participated in an observational learning visit to the SBDC programme at UTSA, with a view to gaining a deeper appreciation for the mechanics of operating a successful SBDC program. The UTSA team also visited the SBDCBelize during the period July 23rd-25th, 2013, and again in December 2013 to conduct NeoSerra and SBDC Global training as well as to review the center's operations.
During the period June 19th-20th, 2014, Belize also participated in visits with United States policy makers and stakeholders involved in SME development for a first hand look at some of the elements of the policy framework that would foster a successful implementation of the model. Belize continues to enjoy success with its pilot SBDC and plans continue for the launch of further centers and the development of a country network.
SBDCBelize - Contact information:
Melanie Gideon, Director
College St., West Landivar
Belize City, Belize
Please visit the SBDCBelize and BELTRAIDE Website, Blog, Facebook, and Twitter to learn about the training offered to small and medium businesses in Belize.