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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


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


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