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BELTRAIDE to open First Small Business Development Center in Belize Print E-mail
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Written by Shane D. Williams   
Thursday, 10 May 2012 00:00

Participants of Counselor and Director Certificate Training ProgramThe Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE) plans to open the first Small Business Development Center (SMDC) in Belize later this year.

Starting a business is no easy task. There are many cases where the best ideas fell flat because of poor planning. SMDCs help entrepreneurs by assisting small businesses with financial, marketing, production, organization, engineering and technical assistance as well as providing feasibility studies. At the moment, BELTRAIDE already provides assistance upon request to aspiring entrepreneurs. However, there is much more that can be done to promote entrepreneurship in Belize. The SBDC Model is a proven model for success and representatives of BELTRAIDE, the Development Finance Corporation, the University of Belize, and other institutions are participating in a training program as Belize prepares to adapt the SBDC Model in order to help local small businesses.

SBDCs are primarily partnerships between government institutions and universities. Such centers provide educational assistance to small business owners who cannot afford the services of a private consultant. Cliff Paredes from the University of Texas at San Antonio is one of the trainers in the being offered by BELTRAIDE. He explained that SBDCs are extremely beneficial to the community.  Businesses that access the service of such centers are more likely to succeed. As businesses succeed and expand, more jobs are created. Business expansion and job creation also means an increase in revenue for government. Therefore, the services provided by SBDCs benefit businesses, government and the labour force.

Melanie Gideon, Acting Executive Director of BELTRAIDE, explained that the workshop should result in the development of an operational plan for a Small Business Development Center that BELTRAIDE plans to establish by October of this year. The workshop is being held at the Belize House of Culture and concludes on Thursday, May 10.