Background information

Within the framework of the initiation of the project of implementing the SBDC model in St. Kitts and Nevis, and taking into consideration the interest of the St. Kitts and Nevis 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, in August 2016, the Ministry of International Trade, Industry, Commerce and Consumer Affairs in collaboration with the Organization of American States, the University of Texas at San Antonio and the Department of State of the United States of America 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.

As a result of the consultation process, public, private and academic sectors' representatives considered that the model could be adapted to the national context and would support the implementation of it. The "Certificate Training for Future SBDC Counselors and Directors" to prepare professionals on how to operate and manage an SBDC was finalized in May 2017.

In July 2017, a delegation of high-level government officials and key MSME stakeholders participated in an observational learning visit to the SBDC program at UTSA, with a view of gaining a deeper appreciation for the mechanics of operating a successful SBDC program. The delegation also participated in visits with U.S. policy makers involved in SME development for a first-hand look at some of the elements of policy framework as well as in visits with SBDC program administrators for a better understanding of how to operate, manage and monitor a national SBDC program.

The Ministry and participating organizations are currently collaborating and joining efforts in order to successfully adapt and adopt the model to launch Small Business Development Centers across the nation.