(Feb. 20, 2014) -- A delegation from the International Trade Center in the UTSA Institute for Economic Development is back from Tunisia after visiting with small business development centers to provide guidance on small business growth. The goal of the trip was to observe the pilot network of Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) that recently were set up as a result of UTSA's technical assistance, training and guidance.
In June 2013, UTSA completed the SBDC Counselor and Director Certificate Training Program that instructed participants on how to successfully adapt and implement the U.S. SBDC model and methodology. This included more than 10 days of training on how to manage a successful SBDC program, how to provide high-value consulting and training programs for small business clients and that resulted in the creation of a strategic and operational business plan for each center. The training was based on UTSA's considerable experience in operating its own successful SBDC program and in assisting the governments of 14 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean to adopt the model.
Based on the assistance provided by UTSA, Tunisia will launch five pilot SBDCs in the cities of Ariana, Sfax, Kef, Kairouan and Nabeul. SBDCs are known locally in Tunisia as Centre d'Affaires. The new SBDCs and the preceding training are a collaborative effort with the Tunisian Ministry of Industry and Ministry of Commerce with the University of Texas at San Antonio and the International Executive Service Corps (IESC), thanks to the support of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Volunteers for Economic Growth Alliance (VEGA).
These centers later will be connected with the expanding SBDC Network in the Americas through the online trade platform SBDCGlobal.com, where Tunisian small business clients can find international trade opportunities and training for SBDC staff and client businesses.
SBDCs, established throughout the United States by the federal government in partnership with state governments and 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 strategies, financial planning, marketing, production and professional networking. The centers support new and existing businesses.
UTSA Associate Vice President of Economic Development Robert McKinley, International Trade Center Director Cliff Paredes and Senior International Business Consultant Monica Alcoz visited the pilot SBDCs in Tunisia.
"We are very excited with impending launch of the pilot Tunisian SBDC network," said Paredes. "Recently Tunisia passed a historical milestone with the passage of their new constitution and now they are ready to focus on rebuilding their economy and in creating new jobs within the small business sector by adopting the SBDC model. A successful Tunisian SBDC network also will create tremendous trade opportunities for Texas small businesses once they are ready to connect with SBDCGlobal.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.
The annual Center for Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship (CITE) 100K Venture Competition and Exposition will be held on the Main Campus on Dec. 1. Twenty-eight teams from across the university will exhibit their project; six teams will compete for a prize pool of more than $100,000 in funding to launch their new venture / company. More than 650 students have participated in launching new technology ventures.
Biotechnology, Sciences and Engineering (BSE 2.102), Main Campus
This concert features 50 community children performing music in the UTSA Downtown String Project Winter Concert. The children, led by UTSA music students studying to be music teachers, will join together in playing the Theme from Batman at their concert. The Batman of San Antonio, a local celebrity figure, will make an appearance at the concert. This event is free.
Buena Vista Theatre, Downtown Campus
Graduate student uses storytelling to highlight important issues facing children
As touch screens and e-books demand more and more attention from both casual readers and scholars, many people say the handwriting is on the wall for the printed page.
At UTSA, the handwriting is on the wall for a library that doesn't have any printed books.
Since March 2010, the bookless library in the Applied Engineering and Technology Building has given UTSA students an innovative way to read, research and work with each other to solve problems.
With ultra-modern furniture and a décor featuring desktop computers, scanners and LCD screens, the AET Library is designed to engage students in an online format. But it also offers group study niches and study rooms with whiteboards and glass walls on which students can write. The space encourages teamwork, communications and problem solving for the next generation of scientists and professional engineers.
Did you know? The UTSA AET Library is the nation's first completely bookless library on a college or university campus. It served as a model for Bexar County's first-in-the-nation public bookless library system and one of its branches, the Dr. Ricardo Romo BiblioTech.
The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.
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