Home » Economy » Small Business Development Center project piloted in Belize Mar 2, 2012

Mike Singh,  BELTRAIDE believes Belize is one step closer to establishing small business development centers across the country. And with the help of the Organization of American States (OAS) it may be possible. The OAS is including Belize in its five-country pilot project, to expand the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) model to the CARICOM region. A one-day consultation was held, at the Best Western Belize Biltmore Plaza, to jump-start the process of adapting the SBDC model. This consultation was organized with the objective of presenting the model and obtaining stakeholder feedback on the feasibility of successfully implementing it within the context of Belize and determining their interest in being part of the process. Mike Singh, Executive Chairman of BELTRAIDE “We are holding a consultation today with the main stakeholders, particularly those agencies that affect small business development to present a case for adopting a model for small business development centers in Belize. It is a model that Mr. Salgado with the University of Texas in San Antonio. Al and I have had meetings—we met twice to look at this model and we’ve looked at this model and we’ve seen the need from bringing a model similar to that to Belize for us to formalize the way we deal with developing small business; again recognizing that small businesses are an integral part to the contribution to our GDP, contribution to increasing employment. Beltraide today will also be signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the DFC where we will collaborate not only to try to get this model solidified and established in Belize, but also on an additional collaboration to tie in services that we offer with the services that DFC offers in respect to their lending window for small businesses. Today was made possible through collaboration with the OAS. Marcy is here today and she will be again participating and also assisting in funding the outreach into the Caribbean and Central America. And Leo who is here with the Caribbean Export Development Agency of which Belize is a partner is also collaborating on the side of the Caribbean where the pilot project which Belize is taking advantage of along with three other countries. And this is first consultation in the region is in Belize.”Natalie Gough Natalie Gough, General Manager, DFC “One of the challenges we have faced at DFC since we resumed lending in 2009 or the complaints that we are not moving fast enough in terms of loan delivery services. One of the reasons for that is that a lot of people especially small entrepreneurs walk in with an idea. It is hard to fund an idea and if there was that missing link between that idea and the business proposal. And so with the idea of this small business development center, I think we have put that missing link into place.”

Albert Salgado, SBDC Network, University of Texas “We’re grateful and happy that we can come and share our model really to promote the partnership between the public sector and academia. Again so important when you look at your local agencies and NGOs, we’re all part of the solution. And our hope is to really create a hemispheric network of agencies, SPDC, service providers that will improve the competitiveness of not only Belize but the region.”

from http://edition.channel5belize.com/archives/67692