Distant Neighbors, Common Cause

I’m in Veracruz Mexico this week at what I hope will be an inflection point for cooperation between the U.S. small business development centers (SBDCs) and the equivalent Mexico organization, AMCDPE. They are calling it "Making Small Business Grow (Hacer Grande la Pequeña Empresa)".

Politics of LAFTA and all notwithstanding, especially in an election year, what’s going on here, with very little notice, is three days worth of meetings between people in both organizations. The agenda is spiced with American veterans of US SBDCs sharing their experience with their Mexican counterparts, one presentation at a time. Most of the panels include one person from a US SBDC alone with one or two from Mexico.

For example, tomorrow’s agenda includes the director of the Mississippi University SBDC and experts from Veracruz and Tabasco looking at how small business recovers from natural disasters. The theme: "three years after Katrina." This event, by the way, is in Mexico’s Gulf of Mexico port that was seriously submerged in the 1988 by Hurricane Gilbert.

They’re also presenting panels including US and Mexico experts on technology transfer from universities, working with banks, and sharing some success stories.

I’m on the agenda on Wednesday, talking about business planning.

This strikes me as a good place for cooperation between these organizations. Let’s grow small businesses. I don’t know the Mexican organization very well, but I do know that the US SBDCs are among the best advice givers there are for small business, and the more successful small businesses in Mexico, the better off the world. So I’m rooting for this idea to work.

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