Promoting Entrepreneurship through Small Business Network of the Americas Sister Centers

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


The U.S. Department of State hosted approximately 100 business advisers from across the Western Heisphere today at the Small Business Network of the Americas’ (SBNA) second annual International Sister Center Workshop near Dallas, Texas, to expand economic cooperation and small business growth in the Americas.

The workshop helped centers increase the international market connectivity of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through the establishment of independently sustainable partnerships. The event was launched with the U.S. Association of Small Business Development Centers (ASBDC) and the Small Business Administration. This year’s workshop is focused on connecting business advising centers in Mexico, Canada, and the United States, in line with commitments made at the North American Leaders Summit in February 2014. It builds on the success of the SBNA Sister Center Workshop held for the wider Western Hemisphere region in 2013.

Participants attending the workshop serve a total of more than 100,000 small businesses and represent a growing network of community-based centers that provide entrepreneurs with the resources necessary to spur broad-based economic growth throughout the Americas. The workshop matched these small business support providers with similarly focused counterparts from other countries to build International Sister Center partnerships. These prospective partnerships are an important opportunity for those working at small business support centers to network, exchange best practices, and connect businesses looking for commercial opportunities.

The International Sister Center Workshop is an important component in President Obama’s SBNA effort to catalyze greater business-to-business partnerships and trade among SMEs in the Hemisphere. By building closer ties between service providers, governments collaboratively allow local businesses to tap into the global marketplace while also creating jobs in local communities.

The workshop coincided with ASBDC’s 34th Annual Conference from September 9-12. The ASBDC association is a partnership program uniting private enterprise, government, higher education and local nonprofit economic development organizations. More than one million businesses are assisted by ASBDC member programs each year.

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