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International Visitors

Update: The SBA values our international colleagues who are working to support entrepreneurs and the development of small businesses around the world. Because of heightened interest in these areas, we have seen a significant increase in the number of requests we receive from visitors who want to come to our offices to learn about our programs. Unfortunately, due to resource and other constraints, we have been unable to accommodate these individual requests while still ensuring that we are operating our core programs effectively, so we are currently unable to host international visitors, until further notice. 

SBA provides courtesy services to international visitors and dignitaries who are attracted to small business development. The SBA is the oldest institution of its kind solely dedicated to small business and entrepreneurship, and in researching the “American model” and its progress. Since its creation in 1953, SBA has attracted foreign small and medium enterprises, trade organizations and government delegations interested in learning how SBA operates and why it is so successful. Many countries have adapted programs initially developed by the SBA to their own economic infrastructure.

Many of the SBA's visitors are part of the International Visitors Program of the U.S. Department of State which annually brings to the United States approximately 5,000 foreign nationals from all over the world to meet and confer with their professional counterparts and to experience America firsthand. The visitors, who are selected by American Foreign Service Officers overseas, are current or potential leaders in government, politics, economics, business, the media, education, labor relations, the arts, and other fields. SBA's International Visitors service also receives direct requests from resident Embassies, foreign Ministries, Members of Parliament, the Japanese Diet, and other foreign representatives, foreign Chambers of Commerce, and counterpart Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) institutions from around the world. As the oldest and most venerable international institution solely concerned with small business, the U.S. Small Business Administration receives between 600 and 1,200 visitors annually.

The SBA is considered a showcase for international visitors who wish to study the “American model.” Visitors are supplied with briefing kits of SBA's programs and services and are presented with a general overview of SBA within an hour. This may take the form of a PowerPoint presentation, an informal discussion, or a panel discussion. All include a question and answer period, either during or following the presentation or discussion. PowerPoint presentation and handouts are available in 13 languages (Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, English, Spanish, French, German, Russian, Korean, Portuguese, Hindi, Italian and Vietnamese). Briefings are available in English. For professionals seeking further in-depth and/or technical knowledge who have already researched SBA programs on the website, further appointments with appropriate department heads may be arranged, subject to timely advance notice and the availability of the SBA official.