The U.S. Department of State, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, and the Small Business Administration participated in a signing event for a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Brazil’s Micro and Small Business Support Service (SEBRAE), the U.S. Association of Small Business Development Centers, and the University of Texas at San Antonio Institute for Economic Development. The MOU links the organizations’ online trade platforms for small businesses their networks serve, and is a key step forward under the United States – Brazil Agreement on Trade and Economic Cooperation (ATEC). Under the ATEC, the United States and Brazil are exploring greater cooperation on a variety of issues, including small business.
President Obama has noted that “small businesses are the backbone of our economy and the cornerstone of our nation’s promise.” The same is true throughout the Western Hemisphere, where the small business sector plays a critical role in job creation and broad-based economic growth. The Administration's Small Business Network of the Americas (SBNA) will promote business development and entrepreneurship by micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSME) and encourage greater trade among these businesses throughout the Hemisphere. SBNA will promote the expansion of the SBDC model in partner countries; connect the more than 2,000 SBDCs and similar small business support centers throughout the Hemisphere that already serve approximately two million small business clients; and promote MSME trade through virtual trade platforms like SBDCglobal.com that can help SBDCs and their small business clients expand international partnerships.
At the MOU signing, which took place on September 11, 2012, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Matthew Rooney represented the Department of State and Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Small Business and Market Access Christina Sevilla represented the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk has stated that "increasing exports is crucial to the economic and job growth potential of America’s small businesses. Small businesses that export more tend to grow faster, add more jobs, and pay higher wages than small businesses that serve purely domestic markets." During the MOU signing, Mr. Rooney noted that the SBDC network is a “critical part of the Administration’s policy for greater economic cooperation and partnership in Latin America.”