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;