Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) are the central, comprehensive source of technical and managerial support for micro, small and medium enterprises. These centres originated in the United States of America where they make up a collective network (SBDCN), an established, inter-connected matrix of centres dedicated to the overall development of the private sector in the USA.

The main mission of these centers is to promote growth, innovation, productivity and revenue for small businesses through improvements to their internal administration.

The centres seek to realize this mission through the utilization of certain core services:

  • Technical assistance to improve the efficacy of the company’s systematic infrastructure
  • Group training to improve the efficiency of the company’s human resources
  • Market research tailored to the client’s needs

The successful implementation of effective business stratagem and best practices within these individual small businesses ultimately endeavors to bring about the creation of new job opportunities; increased revenue; the strengthening and diversification of the country economy; as well as the stability and further growth of that country’s economic sectors. These are the stated goals of the SBDCs.

The key elements of the SBDC model are designed to foster a productive environment in which the client can gain the maximum benefit. This model is based on:

  • a focus on long-term assistance
  • work with multiple small business clients
  • the creation of economic impact
  • a results-oriented culture

The resources invested in the realization of the objectives of the SBDCs come from the public and private as well as academic sectors of each society in which these centres are established.  The success of the project is dependent on the adaptability of the SBDC model to the socio-political and economic environment of the country in order to garner maximum return on the investment.

This model is now being implemented in the Caribbean with support from Caribbean Export in association with the Department of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism in the Organization of American States and the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). This initiative was as a result of discussions at the Regional Workshop “Promoting and Improving SME Competitiveness and Productivity in the Caribbean” was held in San Diego, California, on September 6-7, 2011, in which all three parties were involved.

The Caribbean now has SBDC’s in;

  • Barbados

    In partnership with the Ministry of Industry, Small Business and Rural Development, UTSA, OAS and CE completed the Consultation Training Program with very favorable responses from the different stakeholder groups about the feasibility of the SBDC model in the country. The schedule for the Certificate Training in Barbados is being confirmed with the Ministry of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development.

    For more information and to contact the Barbados SBDC contact

  • Belize

    The UTSA, the OAS, and CE have worked with BELTRAIDE (Belize Trade and Investment Development Services) in transferring the SBDC methodology and in preparing future SBDC professionals via a Certificate Training Program. The team has also assisted BELTRAIDE in creating small business legislation. As a result, BELTRAIDE launched the first SBDC pilot center on October 31, 2012 hosted at the University of Belize in Belize City. The SBDC Belize has a significant number of clients and is doing an excellent job in offering training programs to small businesses in the community.

    The SBDC has also implemented, from the get-go, the client activity tracking system (WebCATS) that tracks client activities, monitors performance and measures results. Staff from the SBDC Belize participated in an observational learning visit to the SBDC program at UTSA on January 22-25, 2013 to learn more about how to operate a successful SBDC program.

    For more information and to contact the Belize SBDC contact

  • Dominica

    In partnership with the Dominica Employment and Small Business Agency under the Ministry of Employment, Trade, Industry and Diaspora Affairs, UTSA, OAS and CE completed the Consultation Training Program with very favourable responses from the different stakeholder groups about the feasibility of the SBDC model in the country. The schedule for the Certificate Training in Dominica is being confirmed.

    For more information and to contact the Dominica SBDC contact

  • Jamaica

    The project team is working with the Policy, Planning, Projects and Research Division of the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce in adapting and adopting the SBDC model in the country. Jamaica finalized the Certificate Training Program on March 2013 that trained over 60 participants that included government, private sector and academia representatives who will eventually be involved in the establishment of the SBDC program in Jamaica. The Ministry is currently planning the SBDC model implementation in the country and determining how to fund the SBDCs as well as how to integrate the efforts with their existing Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC).

    For more information and to contact the Jamaica SBDC contact

  • St. Lucia

    The Small Enterprise Development Unit under the Ministry of Commerce, Business Development, Investment and Consumer Affairs is leading the SBDC project in St. Lucia. The Certificate Training pro.