The Minister of Economy, Luis Felipe Céspedes, along with the General Manager of Sercotec, Bernardo Troncoso, and the U.S. Ambassador to Chile Michael Hammer announced the creation of the first 33 Business Development Centers to help small and medium businesses. The centers are the result of a cooperative agreement between the United States and Chile regarding the promotion of entrepreneurship and the growth of small and medium business modelled on the U.S. network of Small Business Development Centers.
At a ceremony held Monday, January 5 at the Ministry of Economy, the authorities noted that one of the main objectives of the Business Development Centers is to provide specialized and free advice to small businesses to conduct business plans, as well as supporting their implementation. The first 33 centers, of a total of 50, will open during the second half of 2015.
The centers will operate on a standardized service platform, providing diagnostics and developing a strategy for effective implementation. These services will have a specialized focus on helping women entrepreneurs.
Cooperative Agreement with the United States
The agreement between the U.S. and Chilean governments regarding the Promotion of Entrepreneurship and the Growth of Small and Medium Enterprises provides for technical assistance, training, and collaboration from the United States for the implementation of the Business Development Centers. The technical counterpart of this agreement includes the Small Business Development Centers (SBDC), a network of more than 1,100 points of comprehensive care for small businesses and entrepreneurs in topics of management and access to bank financing.
As part of the agreement, a delegation from the Ministry of Economy and Sercotec traveled to the United States to receive training in the SBCD network at the University of Texas. Then, a delegation from the campus and from the U.S. State Department visited Chile to continue their advisory work. In addition, a certificate was created for future operators of these centers, organized by Sercotec, and associated with the Institute for Economic Development at the University of Texas.
The first 33 centers will be located in Arica (2 centers), Iquique, Pozo Almonte, Antofagasta, Calama, Copiapó, Vallenar, La Serena, Ovalle, Quillota, Valparaíso, Melipilla, Recoleta, San Bernardo, San Miguel, Santiago, Rancagua, Santa Cruz, Curicó, Talca, Cañete, Chillán, Temuco, Angol, La Unión, Valdivia, Osorno, Puerto Montt, Aysén, Coyhaique, Puerto Natales and Punta Arenas.