UTSA International Trade Center completes training in Guatemala

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Guatamala City, Guatemala, and nearby volcanoes

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By Douglas CohenMiller
Media and Communications Specialist, UTSA International Trade Center

(Nov. 21, 2012) -- The International Trade Center in the UTSA Institute of Economic Development announces it has completed its four-part Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Counselor and Director Certificate Training in Guatemala City, Guatemala. The program is helping Guatemala establish SBDCs throughout the country to support Guatemalan business owners and entrepreneurs.

Established throughout the United States by the federal government in partnership with universities and colleges, SBDCs assist entrepreneurs and business owners in establishing and growing their businesses through a free and confidential suite of advising services. Services include, but are not limited to, feasibility studies, business strategy, financial planning, marketing, production and professional networking. The centers support new and existing businesses.

Through the SBDC Counselor and Director Certificate Training, participants have learned about the U.S. SBDC model and methodology. Individual training modules focused on SBDC business advising best practices, the role of specialty SBDCs (like those focused on international trade), as well as real-world and practical development of an operational plan to guide future counselors and directors on how to manage an office, personnel and funding. This training is part of the International Trade Center and Institute for Economic Development's International SBDC Expansion Initiative that, with the support of the U.S. Department of State, has helped countries develop U.S.-modeled SBDC networks since 2003.

International Trade Center Director Cliff Paredes and International Business Consultant Minerva Garcia will complete UTSA's Counselor and Director Certificate Training. The last module was held Nov. 19-20.

When asked about the importance of businesses that will receive assistance from future SBDCs to the Guatemalan economy, training participant Walter Morales RĂ­os of the Guatemalan Business incubator Visioneer Group S.A. said, "Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) represent a dynamic sector of the Guatemalan economy that has long-term growth opportunities and a high rate of job creation. They are essential to build a formal economy that contributes to better salaries, promote economic stability for Guatemalan families and the development of our country. The training provided by the Ministry of the Economy of Guatemala and UTSA will help us assist local business so that they become financially viable and independent, which will create jobs and revitalize their communities."

The International Trade Center at UTSA is one of the largest and most successful trade assistance organizations in Texas. It helps companies become globally competitive through technical trade consulting, customized market research and innovative training programs. The center is a specialty SBDC program in the South-West Texas Border SBDC Network. Follow them on Twitter (@TexasTrade) and like them on Facebook.

For more information on the project, visit the SBDC Global website.