The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) have agreed to work together in order to foster connections between small and medium-sized businesses in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean.
The agreement is part of the IDB’s “Made in the Americas” program, for which it has already launched a social networking site (ConnectAmericas.com), where businesspeople can connect with potential clients, suppliers and investors from across the hemisphere, and access tools and practical information designed to help them carry out international transactions.
According to the IDB, ConnectAmericas has already been visited by over 250,000 people, while 24,000 businesspeople from 56 countries have created profiles.
The bank expects to increase the participation of U.S. firms in ConnectAmericas, while using the platform to spread the word about the variety of programs that SBA offers to SMEs.
In the recent CEO Summit of the Americas in Panama, executives from major business firms, including Arcos Dorados, DHL, CISCO, Grupo BIMBO, Softtek, Grupo Britt and GeneXus, announced their intention to collaborate in the design and implementation of the “Made in the Americas” program.
As part of the agreement, SBA and IDB will cross-disseminate information about the support services they provide, besides allowing SMEs to access their expertise and networks.
“Entrepreneurship is no longer considered the path you take because you have to, but rather it’s the path you take because of the opportunities it affords,” said Administrator Contreras-Sweet of SBA.
Businesess participating in Made in the Americas will be able to publish procurement notices and requirements that can be seen by ConnectAmericas’ global audience of SMEs.
“To be able to trade and invest internationally, SMEs need better access to contacts abroad, as well as training, market intelligence and finance, and that is what we provide in ConnectAmericas,” said IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno. “Through this collaboration, we aim to reach more U.S. companies, while incorporating an additional source of high-quality information and tools that they can access.”
The SBA helps Americans to start, build and grow businesses through an extensive network of field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations, with its programs focusing on access to capital, entrepreneurial development, government contracting, small business advocacy, and export promotion.