Caribbean countries have long recognized the importance of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) as major contributors to employment and growth within their communities, nations and region as a whole.

The "Caribbean Small Business Development Center Project" is a partnership program with the U.S. Permanent Mission to the Organization of American States (OAS), the OAS and the University of Texas at San Antonio, that assists in the creation of sustainable small business assistance networks in CARICOM member states based on the proven U.S. SBDC model. The project also aims at engaging and actively enlisting the support from the government, higher-education, NGOs and private sector for a more effective and integrated infrastructure for MSME assistance and help improve upon existing programs. This would ensure an effective, efficient and integrated regional Caribbean SBDC network that would provide micro, small and medium enterprises with the high-value assistance that will enable them to grow sales, improve competitiveness, create sustainable jobs and long-term economic impact.

The first phase of the project was launched in 2012 with five participating countries, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Jamaica and St. Lucia. A second phase was launched in 2016 to build on the work undertaken in the first phase while expanding the Caribbean adaptation of the U.S. SBDC model to an additional three countries within the CARICOM region – Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, and Saint Kitts and Nevis.

The newly created network of Caribbean SBDC programs will be linked with each other and existing partners located throughout the Western Hemisphere to not only share program successful practices but also to connect their clients with multilateral international trade opportunities.