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.”

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