(May 28, 2013) -- The International Trade Center at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) Institute of Economic Development has partnered to launch the first small business development center (SBDC) in Choluteca, Honduras. The center was established after Honduran stakeholders completed UTSA's four-part SBDC Counselor and Director Certificate Training and is the first of a planned network of centers that will support business owners and entrepreneurs throughout the country.
Established throughout the United States by the federal government in partnership with state governments and higher education institutions, SBDCs 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.
The launch of the center and the preceding training were a collaborative effort of the Central American and Dominican Republic Partnership Program with the U.S. Department of State Pathways for Prosperity initiative, Higher Education for Development (HED) and CENPROMYPE. The latter was developed to create SBDC networks in Central America and the Dominican Republic. To date, the region has 16 centers using the proven U.S. SBDC model. By the end of the year, UTSA expects at least 25 SBDCs to be operating in the region.
Earlier this month, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce of Honduras hosted the Center launch with an event for stakeholders. Representing the Honduras Government were Vice President María Antonieta Guillén, Minister of Industry and Commerce Jose Adonis Lavaire and Minister of Planning and External Cooperation Julio Raudales. Also in attendance were HED Senior Program Specialist Manny Sanchez, HED Program Officer Diana Páez-Cook, UTSA Associate Vice President for Economic Development Robert McKinley and International Trade Center International Business Consultant Minerva Garcia.
Through its International SBDC Expansion Initiative, the UTSA Institute for Economic Development and its International Trade Center aim to create a network of sustainable and successful small business assistance programs that are based on the proven U.S. Small Business Development Center model to create long-lasting economic and social impact. The initiative, with the support of the U.S. Department of State, has been helping countries develop U.S.-modeled SBDC networks since 2003.
"Through the SBDC Counselor and Director Certificate Training program and a visit to the UTSA Institute for Economic Development, I have seen that you can provide assistance with specific results for entrepreneurs," said Eduardo Posadas, director of labor opportunities at Universidad Tecnológica de Honduras. "This is what we need in our country. Opening the first SBDC is encouraging to us to open more centers in other regions of the country. The Universidad Tecnológica de Honduras would be pleased to host the Sula Valley SBDC."
The UTSA International Trade Center 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 it on Twitter (@TexasTrade) and like it on Facebook.
For more information on the project, visit the UTSA SBDC Global website.
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