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UTSA leading charge to expand and adapt U.S. SBDC model internationally

UTSA leading charge to expand and adapt U.S. SBDC model internationally

This week, The University of Texas at San Antonio Institute for Economic Development is participating in the Summit of the Americas in Panama and releasing a progress report on the Small Business Network of the Americas (SBNA) launched by President Obama for the 2012 Summit.

The SBNA was built on UTSA’s existing framework of expanding the SBDC model in Mexico and Central America. SBNA’s vision is to develop the small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) sector and encourage greater trade with our partner countries in this hemisphere.

UTSA Associate Vice President for Economic Development Robert McKinley is presenting the SBNA progress report to 500 university Rectors convened at the summit. The report outlines the SBNA initiative, SBDC model adaptation, implementation to-date with participating country results, and business success stories.

“Small businesses are key drivers of job creation and broad-based economic growth in the U.S. as well as in the Western Hemisphere. The SBNA Initiative aims to build a common development infrastructure through sustainable Public-Private-Academic (PPA) Partnerships in each country and linked across the Americas,” said McKinley.

UTSA leads the consulting effort to build a network of small business centers across the hemisphere for economic development and trade, on behalf of the U.S. State Department and Organization of American States. To date, 20 countries are engaged to adapt and link with the Small Business Development Center model. Participating SBNA countries include the U.S., Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Belize, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Barbados, St. Lucia, Dominica, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Peru, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Chile.

“The UTSA SBDC team has been essential in the conception, creation, and growth of the Mexican Association of SBDCs,” said Eugenio J. Reyes-Guzman, director of the World Trade Center Nuevo Leon (Mexico).

The SBDC model has evolved over 35 years at 1,100 universities and colleges across the U.S. and become an international best practice, with documented business growth results.

  • America’s SBDC Network statistics:
  • Serves one million small businesses annually
  • Generates $100,000 in new sales every 3.6 minutes
  • Creates a new job every seven minutes
  • Generates $100,000 in capital every 13 minutes
  • Aids a new business to start every 37 minutes

The UTSA International Trade Center, recognized by SBA as the top performing SBDC in the nation last year, has led collaborations with foreign Ministries of Economy to train and transfer the SBDC methodology to 5,000 economic development professionals. To date, 68 SBDCs have been launched in Latin America and the Caribbean with over 100 additional centers expected to launch in the next phase. These market connections have benefitted South Texas small business clients of UTSA, generating $549 million increased international trade for them in 2014 alone.

Ileana Rogel, executive director of El Salvador’s small business administration (CONAMYPE) expressed that strengthening economic development in Latin America also offers business and job opportunities at home, as alternatives to migration and illicit activities.

“By getting to know the small business assistance model developed in the United States and in particular the work of the UTSA-SBDC, we saw an opportunity to improve the way the [El Salvadoran] Government worked with small businesses. We can assert that the model works well, it adapts to any context,” said Rogel.

The Northern Triangle strategy of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras will expand small business development and job creation by their Centers specifically in the highest migrant-sending regions, in response to the migrant surge from 2014.



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The Institute for Economic Development is funded in part through the State of Texas and a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities or limited English proficiency will be made if requested at least two weeks in advance.