First SBNA Fellowships Advance Entrepreneurship and Commercial Ties in the Americas

Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
September 9, 2014


The U.S. Department of State inaugurated on September 8 the 2014 Small Business Network of the Americas (SBNA) Fellows Program, an international exchange program for 16 small business service centers in the United States and Latin America.

The 16 selected fellows from Brazil, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Venezuela, and the United States will participate in a fully funded, two-way exchange between Small Business Development Centers in the United States and countries in the Western Hemisphere. The Fellows were selected from a pool of applicants who had previously developed International Sister Center partnership agreements between U.S. and small business advising centers in the Western Hemisphere. The centers will reciprocally build their capacity to provide local small and medium-sized enterprises with individualized, long-term business counseling, group training, and market research services.

The Fellows Program was launched September 8, when business advisers and center directors met at the 34th annual conference of the U.S. Association of Small Business Development Centers (ASBDC) near Dallas, Texas. Fellows learned about the latest best practices in small business advising and had the opportunity to expand their network of partners in the region at an International Sister Center Workshop designed to develop mutually beneficial projects.

The Fellows will travel to their U.S. Sister Center on September 13 for a fellowship of up to two weeks. The Sister Center exchanges will allow Fellows to observe how U.S. centers advise small businesses and where they might explore potential areas of future collaboration.

The SBNA Fellows Program is made possible by the Department of State’s Professional Fellows program and through close coordination with implementing partner World Learning, an international non-profit organization.

For an overview of SBNA, please see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xf-4ejhxDPk. Additional information about the ASBDC conference can be found at http://www.asbdc-us.org/index.html. For further information, please contact WHAPress@state.gov or (202) 341-7786.