SME Counselors Stand Up North American Small Business Counseling Network Pilot

Small business counselors in Mexico, Canada, and the United States are collaborating to help small businesses find success through exports.  In January, SBA business counselors joined their Canadian and Mexican counterparts to launch the Small Business Development Center (SBDC)/Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Counseling Network Pilot Program.  Their joint goal is to help their country’s small business clients take advantage of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

The U.S. network of counselors comes from SBA’s SBDC’s, Women’s Business Centers, the technical assistance partners of SBA’s Office of Native American Affairs, and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency Centers.  Together with their counterparts in Mexico and Canada, some early benefits to businesses through this collaboration are included below.

  • To help a Canadian small business pass rigorous vetting processes leading to orders which met supply chain needs in the United States, the Illinois SBDC worked with the World Trade Center (WTC) Winnipeg and to reciprocate, the WTC Winnipeg agreed to do the same for the SBDC’s clients.
  • To discover potential business opportunities for U.S. small businesses in Mexico, the Idaho Women’s Business Center was invited by the Organization of Women in Trade – Mexico to bring a trade mission to Mexico for Utah companies.
  • To show U.S. businesses how to increase sales to Mexico and Canada, two SBDCs launched a training series for clients as part of their International Business Development Program.

The USMCA SBDC/SME Counseling Network Pilot Program is just one of the activities under the USMCA SME Chapter that SBA is supporting in coordination with other Federal Agencies, USTR, and Mexico and Canada.  To access more information on USMCA, hear the most recent webinar on Advance Rulings under USMCA, and learn where to get started visit Identify Your Market on SBA Trade Tools website or reach out to your local SBA Resource Partner to begin no-cost business counseling.

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