Reference: E-014/15
January 23, 2015

The Organization of American States (OAS) today launched the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Model in Jamaica, in a ceremony that took place in Kingston.

The model, organized in partnership with Jamaica’s Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, the Caribbean Export Development Agency and the University of Texas at San Antonio, focuses on one-one and long-term assistance to help clients generate sustained economic impact through the establishment of new businesses, job creation, and increases in sales and access to capital; the promotion of a results-oriented culture, as professionals are evaluated in terms of impact generated through client work; and the development of business and trade linkages among the clients of the different centers through tools such as the SBDCGlobal online platform.

During the launch ceremony, the Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce of Jamaica, Anthony Hylton emphasized that the model is a “reality” in Jamaica, pointing to the fact that the private sector and academia have demonstrated a significant commitment to partner with the Ministry in implementing the model. He added that the model “provides a structured framework to promote the competitiveness and development of our MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises). The provision of interventions throughout the firm’s life cycle, the partnership arrangement between universities, public and private sectors, as well as the monitoring and evaluation mechanisms will address in a major way, some of the deficiencies of current programs.”

The Executive Secretary for Integral Development of the OAS, Sherry Tross, highlighted the SBDC model’s “successful track record” in the Americas, attributing this success to the fact that “the model leverages the technical, human and financial resources of the public and private sectors and academia to develop an ‘ecosystem’ to nurture the growth of small business enterprises.”

The United States Ambassador to Jamaica, Luis G. Moreno, noted that, “through the Small Business Development Centers, American entrepreneurs have created billions of dollars of growth and millions of jobs.” Ambassador Moreno also reiterated the commitment of his government to the economic development of Jamaica, adding that, “We want to work in partnership with the Jamaican Government to enable Jamaican prosperity by supporting the small business sector.”

The launch is part of a broader OAS initiative that began in 2012 in Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Jamaica, and Saint Lucia, and seeks to contribute to the development of institutions that support and help increase the competitiveness of MSMEs in the CARICOM region.

The CARICOM SBDC Project builds on the 35-years’ experience of the Small Business Development Centers in the United States and their adaptation to other countries in the region, including Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Panama, the Dominican Republic, Colombia and Chile. The SBDC model combines the resources from institutions of higher learning, public and private sectors in order to assist small businesses, contributing to the sustainability of the program and promoting synergies and efficient use of resources.

The CARICOM SBDC Project is funded by the US Government through its Permanent Mission to the OAS. Jamaica is the third country in the CARICOM region to launch the SBDC model, with Belize being the first of the five pilot countries to launch in October 2012, followed by Saint Lucia in November 2014.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at www.oas.org.

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