(Sept. 8, 2017) -- Less than two years after Chilean President Michelle Bachelet celebrated the opening of Chile’s first small business development center (SBDC) in Valparaiso, the country has commemorated the completion of its national SBDC network with the opening of its 51st center.
Chile is one of several countries where UTSA is helping spur foreign job growth and economic development, in turn expanding market access for the United States.
Robert McKinley, senior associate vice president for economic development at the UTSA Institute for Economic Development, and Cliff Paredes, director of the institute’s SBDC International Trade Center, spearheaded UTSA’s efforts to guide Chile through President Bachelet’s initiative to support inclusive business development across the country.
In 2015, Chile began implementing the U.S. SBDC model taught by the UTSA SBDC International Trade Center. During a recent commemoration ceremony, President Bachelet praised UTSA and McKinley for the support and collaboration that led Chile to complete its national network of SBDCs.
Leading the expansion of the Small Business Network of the Americas (SBNA), which leverages the high-performing U.S. SBDC model, UTSA is driving job creation and broad-based economic growth through its SBDCGlobal program. SBDCGlobal assists foreign small businesses start and grow their operations while expanding market access partners for the U.S. The university’s SBDC International Trade Center has also worked with foreign governments and aspiring business owners across 20 countries in the Western Hemisphere.
"Thanks to our joint work, we have been able to develop our small business development centers [CDN - Centros de Desarrollo de Negocios],” said President Bachelet. “I'm pleased to participate in the official launch of this center because with it, just like the Minister and Ambassador Perez mentioned, we are accomplishing our goal of having 51 centers throughout Chile."
UTSA’s Paredes and his staff of international business advisors consulted and trained the Chilean Ministry of Economy to plan and implement their national initiative. Through 2017, the Chilean partners from the public, private and academic sectors invested approximately $45 million (U.S.) in the program.
Since establishing their first SBDC, Chile has provided business consulting to 16,000 entrepreneurs and management training to 81,000 small businesses in its first year.
“Chile demonstrated a firm commitment to this initiative and moved both quickly and effectively to establish their 51 small business development centers in less than two years. President Bachelet and the Chilean Ministry of Economy are a true model for our SBDCGlobal Program. The benefit of establishing a national SBDC network is already materializing through the impressive numbers of entrepreneurs and businesses growing in Chile. Our international business advisors are proud to see the success of this collaborative work. Chile’s communities will continue to thrive under a government that prioritizes economic development,” said Paredes.
Currently, 154 SBDCs operate abroad through SBDCGlobal, with more than 120 SBDCs expected to launch by 2018. These SBDCs have provided more than 45,000 business owners in Latin America the opportunity to receive business advising and consulting services, grow their businesses and create jobs for their communities while boosting their local economies.
“President Bachelet and the Chilean Ministry of Economy have implemented a truly revolutionary approach to inclusive economic development across their entire country. This is a rare opportunity and accomplishment; the UTSA banner is firmly the strongest U.S. university presence in Chile and we are a strong partner for the U.S. State Department regarding Latin America initiatives,” said McKinley. “Our efforts will persist across the western hemisphere, so that we not only strengthen foreign economies, but spark business opportunities between the U.S. and the growing number of countries we work with.”
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