Background information

Within the framework of the initiation of the project of implementing the SBDC model in Barbados, and taking into consideration the interest of Barbados in assessing the possibility of adapting and implementing the SBDC model, with the goal of broadening and improving assistance services to the micro and small business sector, on March 8th, 2012, the Ministry of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development in collaboration with the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export), hosted the event titled “Small Business Development Center Model: learning the SBDC model of the University of Texas at San Antonio”, during which the SBDC model promoted by the University of Texas at San Antonio was presented.

Following the presentation of the model, participants were divided in groups by stakeholder sector (private, public, academic, financial institutions and business support organizations), with the goal of obtaining feedback on the possibility of successfully adapting and implementing the model within the context of Barbados as well as assessing their interest in participating in such project.

As a result of the consultation process, public, private and academic sectors' representatives considered that the model could be adapted to the national context of Barbados and would support the implementation of it. In August-November 2013, UTSA conducted the "Certificate Training for Future SBDC Counselors and Directors" in Barbados to transfer the methodology and prepare professionals on how to operate and manage an SBDC.

The Ministry continues to work with its partners and key stakeholders on adapting teh model to the Barbadian context. In an effort to advance the implementation of the program, a delegation, led by the Honourable Minister of Industry, Small Business and Rural Development, Donville Innis and other members of the public and private sectors and academia, visited UTSA in San Antonio, Texas from June 16th - 18th 2014 and Washington, DC from June 19-20th, 2014. Since then the team in Barbados has worked assiduously in completing the institutional infrastructure to support the adaptation and implementation of the SBDC model. Barbados is scheduled to launch its SBDC network in January 2015.