When President Obama was at the sixth Summit of the Americas in Colombia last month, a summit that aimed to build equal partnerships in the hemisphere, he placed an emphasis on the vital role of small businesses in the Americas. In Tampa, on his way to the summit, President Obama announced the Small Business Network of the Americas (SBNA), which is modeled on the success of the Small Business Development Centers (SBDC). With over 1,000 SBDCs already in place across the United States, the SBNA seeks to expand the number of SBDCs in Mexico and El Salvador. The SBNA will help foster trade among small business in the Western Hemisphere, as well as create jobs in small and medium sized enterprises.
While the SBNA will have an enormous impact in Latin America, it will also help small businesses throughout the United States. The SBNA will use the business competitions of the Latino American Idea Partnership (La IdEA) and the Caribbean Idea Marketplace (CIM) to award grants to the teams that have the best ideas for promoting the development of relationships between entrepreneurs in the US, Latin America, and the Caribbean. These grants will be accompanied by up to $150 million in financing through the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.
The Small Business Area of the Americas will help create and grow connections between small businesses in the United States and the rest of the Americas, producing a friendlier environment in our hemisphere for small businesses. For more information on the Small Business Area of the Americas, visit the White House’s website: