Executive Secretariat for Integral Development (SEDI)

Department of Economic Development

Institutional Strengthening

The Department of Economic Development (DED), through its Trade and Economic Development Section assists member states in their efforts to improve the capacity of their micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) support institutions to provide services that promote the productivity, innovation and competitiveness MSMEs and their participation in domestic markets and international trade.  This approach is in line with the OAS priorities that favor the strengthening of member states’ institutions and capacity building of their human resources. 

MSME support services provided by these institutions include:

  • Assistance to entrepreneurs development of business plans and financing strategies
  • Use of information and communications technologies to improve productivity and broaden customer base
  • Compliance with technical standards, packaging, and sanitary and phytosanitary requirements to access external markets
  • Organization of cooperatives to strengthen the capacity of individual firms to achieve the volume and quality of products and services required by external markets
  • Preparing MSME to become providers of inputs to larger exporting firms as part of a competitive value chain.

The assistance provided is designed to impact a large number of enterprises by targeting the interventions on countries’ institutional framework that support MSMEs. The interventions build on innovative institutional models for providing MSME assistance implemented by countries in the region. The recently established spaces for dialogue among MSME authorities have greatly facilitated the dissemination and adaptation of these successful experiences such as the US model of Small Business Development Centers (SBDC).

About the SBDC Model

Developed over more than 35 years, the SBDC model is based on sustained counseling, training and technical assistance and uses tools to measure results in terms of job creation, increased sales and trade. The model has been adapted in Mexico where a network of 104 SBDCs has already been established and has also been expanded to the Dominican Republic and other Central American countries as part of a regional initiative. Building on the successful experiences in Central America, the Caribbean SBDC Project was launched in 2012 with a view to assisting CARICOM countries in strengthening their MSME support infrastructure. Five pilot countries, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Jamaica and Saint Lucia were selected for inclusion in the first phase of the Project and are currently in the final stages of the adaptation of the SBDC model. The Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE) opened the first SBDC pilot center in Belize on October 31, 2012. It continues to enjoy great success in the delivery of support services to its clientele. Saint Lucia launched its pilot SBDC on November 19, 2014 whereas Jamaica launched the model on February 23, 2015. For more information click here.