UTSA Receives $1.8M in Grants from U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs for Continued Economic Development Efforts in Central America

UTSA’s Institute for Economic Development’s International Trade Center is one of the largest and most successful trade assistance organizations in the U.S. and has worked with over 20 countries across the Western Hemisphere.

SAN ANTONIO, October 6, 2016 – Through a collaboration with America’s Small Business Development Centers (ASBDC) and the Centro Regional de Promoción de la MIPYME (CENPROMYPE), the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) Institute for Economic Development’s International Trade Center received $1.8 million in grant funding from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs (WHA) to continue supporting efforts to replicate the U.S. Small Business Development Center (SBDC) model in Central America.

The International Trade Center is leading an SBDC international expansion initiative through their SBDCGlobal program. SBDCGlobal directly stems from President Barack Obama’s 2012 vision for a Small Business Network of the Americas (SBNA). The effort is creating a hemisphere-wide network of SBDC programs to assist foreign small businesses start and grow their operations, while also serving as a potential market for the U.S. International Trade Center staff are strengthening economies by advising and training foreign governments on how to build their own SBDC networks.

The grants will fund a three-year project to support efforts in seven Central American countries, promoting the viability and sustainability of micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) and local and regional economic development. SBDCGlobal’s efforts will increase enterprise growth and job creation by applying the SBDC model to provide business development services to stimulate economic development.

The project will also focus on four areas including the establishment of new SBDCs, particularly in rural or underserved populations; support standardized center accreditation; develop a Central American SBDC association; establish specialty SBDCs focused on international trade and intra-regional trade; and support participating SBDCs and MSMEs with information technology systems to ensure efficient replication and viability of newly established SBDCs.

“We are thankful to the U.S. Department of State and our collaborating partners for this grant, which will allow UTSA to continue serving as a leader in building economies and strengthening communities globally. International Trade Center Director Cliff Paredes and his team are leading the expansion of the SBDC Network throughout much of Latin America and the Caribbean, growing a valuable distribution network of trading partners,” said Robert McKinley, UTSA Senior Associate Vice President for Economic Development.

Countries benefiting from this grant include Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Panama, Costa Rica, Belize and Nicaragua, where there are currently 38 operating SBDC’s. The goal of the project is to facilitate the establishment of 10-25 new SBDC’s.

“This grant award is validation of the leadership and results UTSA has already shown in implementing the highly-successful Small Business Network of the Americas (SBNA) program throughout the hemisphere. Robert McKinley and his team are helping our neighbor nations learn from and replicate economic successes achieved in the United States. The stability and prosperity this development model brings will open up new economic opportunities for the people of Central America for generations to come,” said Congressman Joaquin Castro.

About UTSA’s Institute for Economic Development

The UTSA Institute for Economic Development (IED) is dedicated to growing businesses, creating jobs, and fostering economic development. The IED focuses on building the economy one business at a time.

The IED consists of 11 centers and programs that provide professional business advising, technical training, research, and strategic planning for entrepreneurs, business owners and community leaders. These programs serve Greater San Antonio, the Texas-Mexico border area as well as regional, national and international stakeholders. Together with the federal, state and local governments, and private businesses, the UTSA Institute for Economic Development fosters economic and community development in support of UTSA’s community engagement mission. In 2015 the IED generated direct regional economic impact of 8,251 jobs, started 657 new businesses, $487 million in new financing, $41.5 million in new tax revenue and exceeded $2.1 billion in new sales, exports and contracts. For more information, visit www.iedtexas.org

 

About UTSA

The University of Texas at San Antonio is one of the fastest growing higher education institutions in Texas and one of nine academic universities and six health institutions in the UT System. As a multicultural institution, UTSA aims to be a national research university providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.

UTSA serves nearly 29,000 students in 162 degree programs in the colleges of Architecture, Business, Education and Human Development, Engineering, Honors, Liberal and Fine Arts, Public Policy, Sciences and Graduate School. Founded in 1969, UTSA is an intellectual and creative resource center and a socioeconomic development catalyst for Texas and beyond. For more information, visit www.utsa.edu/today.

Chile opens first of 50 Small Business Development Centers with the guidance of UTSA

The UTSA SBDC International Trade Center is helping strengthen the Chilean economy. This week, Chile opened their first Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in Valparaiso, Chile. The center is based on the U.S. SBDC model taught by the UTSA SBDC International Trade Center.

Those in attendance included Chilean President of the Republic, Michelle Bachelet, Minister of Economy, Development and Tourism, Luis Felipe Céspedes, U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, and UTSA Sr. Associate Vice President for Economic Development, Robert 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. 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.

“President Jimmy Carter created the first small business development center network almost four decades ago. And that network now serves nearly 1 million small businesses every year, and it creates three new businesses and eight new U.S. jobs every hour,” said U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry. “One of our very best centers is operated by the University of Texas in San Antonio; it is going to be working directly with our Chilean friends in helping to ensure that your centers do exactly the same.”

Under a mandate from President Michelle Bachelet, Chile began implementing the proven SBDC model taught by UTSA. The Centros de Desarrollo de Negocios (CDN) will facilitate and manage operations with the goal of providing quality one-on-one advising services as well as group training and customized market research to small businesses and entrepreneurs by promoting growth, productivity, diversification and innovation among Chilean small businesses.

To date, over 600 Chilean professionals have participated in the SBDC Advisor and Director Certificate Training Program taught by UTSA. Over the next two years, Chile is set to open 50 centers located in all 15 regions of the country. Through 2017 the Chilean partnership will invest approximately $45 million (U.S.) in the program by a combination of public, private, and academic sectors.

“Chile is a believer in the success of the U.S. SBDC model that we have been training countries to adapt to their local market,” said UTSA SBDC International Trade Center Director Cliff Paredes. “We are confident that they will maximize the creation of economic impact for small and medium enterprises in Chile and rapidly develop their SBDC network.”

Gabriel Senior
GreenStar

“Our consultant, Alberto Rodriguez-Baez, is very knowledgeable in international business and very helpful with his research team. The information provided about potential distributors abroad is invaluable. He went above and beyond of what we initially requested. He has kept in touch after our initial project and has provided us timely and useful information.”

UTSA Partnering with Canadian Consulate to Provide Training on Doing Business in Canada

San Antonio, June 10, 2015 – The International Trade Center, a specialty Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) Institute for Economic Development, is holding Opportunities for Doing Business in Canada, a free, half-day training seminar on June 23, 2015. The event is designed to give US businesses the information they need to expand into markets in Canada.

For this seminar UTSA is partnering with the Consulate General of Canada in Dallas, as well as the US Commercial Service. Speakers include Susan Bincoletto, Chief Trade Commissioner & Assistant Deputy Minister, Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade, and Development Canada and Delon Chan Consul and Trade Commissioner, Consulate General of Canada in Dallas.

Topics for this landmark event include:

  • Why Canada is a great place to do business.
  • How your company can benefit in Doing Business in Canada.
  • Canadian market entry strategies.
  • Selling to the Canadian Federal Government.
  • Canadian corporate registration procedures.

“Canada is the second largest export market for Texas businesses, behind Mexico,” said Cliff Paredes, Director of the International Trade Center. “In 2014 Canadian Exports represented $31.1 billion; it’s a market that cannot be ignored.”

For registration and information on the event visit http://opportunities-in-canada.eventbrite.com.

The International Trade Center at UTSA is one of the largest and most successful trade assistance organizations in Texas. It helps companies become globally competitive through technical trade consulting, customized market research and innovative training programs. The center is a specialty SBDC program in the South-West Texas Border SBDC Network. Follow them on Twitter (@TexasTrade) and like them on Facebook (Facebook.com/texastrade).

UTSA Hosts Delegation of Government Officials from Colombia on a Technical SBDC Training Visit

(sena-visitSan Antonio, May 25, 2015) – The International Trade Center, a specialty Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) Institute for Economic Development (IED), hosted a delegation of officials from the Colombian workforce development agency Servicio Nacional de Aprendizaje (SENA) on a visit to San Antonio on May 11-12, 2014. The visitors saw first hand the operations of the IED and discussed the process of adapting and implementing the US SBDC model in Colombia.

SENA is the largest workforce training and small business assistance network in Colombia. It has 117 locations located throughout Colombia, which serve over 9 million people each year.

SBDCs, established throughout the US by the federal government in partnership with universities and colleges, assist entrepreneurs and business owners in establishing and growing their businesses through a free and confidential suite of advising services. Services include, but are not limited to, feasibility studies, business strategy, financial planning, marketing, production and professional networking. The Centers support new and existing businesses.

SENA visited UTSA as part of the process of creating a national network of 117 SBDCs in Colombia during 2015 and 2016. The goal of the visit was to learn more about the UTSA Small Business Development Center model and develop an agreement between UTSA and SENA that will provide the necessary consulting, training and guidance for the creation of a national SBDC network in Colombia.

“The visit to the UTSA Institute for Economic Development has allowed us to have an insight into the function and scope of the successful US SBDC model,” said Juan Pablo Castro Morales, Director of Promotions and Corporate Relations, SENA. “The information that was provided to us will enable us to have a better assessment of the impact that the model could have once implemented by SENA on the development of entrepreneurship in Colombia. This visit is the start of negotiations to establish a cooperation agreement with UTSA, that will enable the transfer of the model and deploy of 117 training centers across Colombia.”

This visit is part of the International Trade Center and Institute for Economic Development’s SBDCGlobal program that, with the support of the US Department of State, has been helping countries to develop US modeled SBDC networks in the Americas since 2003.

“On behalf of UTSA and the Institute for Economic Development we look forward to collaborating with SENA for the creation of a national network of centers based on the SBDC model in Colombia,” said Cliff Paredes, Director of the International Trade Center and leader of UTSAs program to develop SBDC networks in the Americas. “This project will assist SENA in continuing its great work in helping entrepreneurs and existing businesses start, grow and in becoming more competitive. The benefit for UTSA and the IED is that we will have a strong partner in Colombia with SENA and their national network of SBDCs that will open new trade and investment opportunities for Texas small businesses. This agreement will be an important milestone in the expansion for the SBDC model internationally and in increasing trade opportunities for clients of the International Trade Center via SBDCGlobal.com.”

Leading the event on behalf of UTSA was: Robert McKinley, UTSA Associate Vice President for Economic Development; Cliff Paredes, International Trade Center, Director; and Mónica Alcoz, International Trade Center Senior International Business Advisor. Representing SENA on the visit was: María Andrea Nieto Romero, Director of Employment and Labor; Andrés Bautista Cabanillas, Employment and Labor Advisor; Carlos Arturo Gamba Castillo, Business Entrepreneurship and Entrepreneur Fund National Coordinator; Andrés Felipe Rey, Entrepreneur Fund National Coordinator; Omar Rolando Avila Torres, SME National Coordinator; William Daza Nieto, Technical Support Professional Leader; Juan Pablo Castro Morales, Director of Promotions and Corporate Relations.

The International Trade Center at UTSA is one of the largest and most successful trade assistance organizations in Texas. It helps companies become globally competitive through technical trade advising, customized market research and innovative training programs. The center is a specialty SBDC program in the South-West Texas Border SBDC Network. Follow them on Twitter (@TexasTrade) and like them on Facebook (Facebook.com/texastrade).

For more information on the project, visit http://www.sbdcglobal.com/index.php/us/international-sbdc.html. For photos of the delegation, visit https://www.flickr.com/photos/texastrade/sets/72157652216772179.

Rita Mónica Jiménez
Director of the Centro de Desarrollo Empresarial- Prospera Agua Blanca

“Monica Alcoz and Cliff Paredes shared compelling experience and insight that has helped us to improve our problem solving skills, and to better assist our clients on a daily basis by finding new opportunities to grow their business.”

Ricardo Espinoza
Director, Golfo de Fonseca SBDC

The training and the continuous guidance that we received from UTSA allowed us to understand the SBDC methodology of SME assistance, and adapt it to the business dynamic of Honduras to create economic impact.”

Lejia Melanie Gideon
General Manager, Innovation and Enterprise Division, BELTRAIDE

“UTSA has been instrumental in helping us build the foundation of our MSME assistance program and in establishing SBDCBelize, our first SBDC center.”

Eugenio J. Reyes-Guzmán
Director, World Trade Center Nuevo Leon

“The International Trade Center team has been essential in the conception, creation, and growth of the Mexican Association of SBDCs.”

Karen Cuéllar Lasprilla
Director, Alaya Center at the University of ICESI, Colombia

“The SBDC Certificate Training was a learning space that allowed us to plan and structure how we want our Center. I hope this is the first step to consolidate and formalize a large enterprise network in Colombia, with a strong commitment from our small business stakeholders.”

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