Executive Secretariat for Integral Development (SEDI)

Department of Economic Development

The Caribbean SBDC Program


The Caribbean Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Program, in existence since 2012, is implemented in the CARICOM region with the financial support of the Permanent Mission of the United States to the OAS and has collaborated with the Caribbean Export Development Agency, Compete Caribbean and other donors and international institutions. The program aims to assist CARICOM member states in strengthening the institutional frameworks of national MSME support programs utilizing the United States Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) model, and focuses on capacity building in the provision of quality and targeted support programs to MSMEs in beneficiary countries.

The SBDC Model

The model focuses on the enhancement of economic development through the strengthening of MSME support networks by providing small businesses with critical management and technical assistance through extensive one-on-one, long term professional business advising, low cost training and other specialized services.

A key feature of the program and arguably its most attractive is the ability to capture and record economic impact utilizing the customer relationship management (CRM) system NeoSerra. The tool is tailored to capture the data specific to the individual country context and track the economic impact of the MSME interventions at both the center and national levels.

Description of the Program

The Caribbean SBDC program aims to address five priority areas:
  • i) adjusting the regulatory framework to more efficiently address the needs of MSMEs,
  • ii) developing human capital,
  • iii) fostering MSME competitiveness and entrepreneurial spirit,
  • iv) developing regional MSME support structures, and
  • v) developing public/private partnerships to support the development of the sector.

Since the Program’s inception in 2012 the OAS, with the technical support of the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) has advanced the adaptation and consolidation of the SBDC model in Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia and The Commonwealth of the Bahamas. Consolidation activities of the program have focused primarily on assisting participating beneficiary countries in ensuring the long‐term sustainability of their SBDC programs. The Program has also supported the advancement of the Network of Caribbean SBDCs and engaged in activities to strengthen its role in promoting the development of all Caribbean SBDC programs, with special emphasis on advocacy, quality assurance, professional development, and outreach to key program stakeholders.