Placing a product abroad looks attractive, however, behind this, there are a number of considerations that before the SBNA Small Grant Program were not in place for SBDC UNICAES Santa Ana.
The internationalization of a Central American or Dominican product to international markets, such as the United States, represents an opportunity to improve the conditions of any micro and small enterprise (MSMEs), however, behind it there are several aspects that, until the partnership, did not have the right vision.
According to Miguel Ángel Cárcamo, director of the SBDC of UNICAES Santa Ana in El Salvador, one of the main lessons learned in the exchange with the SBDC of Oklahoma, United States, is related to the process of validating a product locally before targeting the international market.
Our prior vision was to send a container full of Salvadoran products to the U.S., but they taught us how to take advantage of the presence of foreigners in El Salvador as a way to “validate whether these were exportable,” Cárcamo said.
Other key technique acquired to validate the intention to send products outside the country is related to the execution of simulations between the three different zones in the national territory. Which means that the products made in the east have to be commercialized in the west or the center of El Salvador, and vice versa.
Using the same logic, the lessons learnt contemplate carrying out the same process on a regional scale, as, among other aspects, this will allow MSMEs to correct the useful life of the product, to mention just one aspect.
In the case of food, Cárcamo emphasized the application of knowledge on the requirements of the recipient country, as well as its laws and regulations at the time of being internationalized by MSMEs.
BEYOND WHAT HAS BEEN LEARNT
The impact of the partnership with the SBDC of Oklahoma has also strengthen the skills within the SBDC team of professionals, related to technological resources to help small business owners in subjects like packaging design and advertising management, and it has also meant a way of communication to generate demand in the United States.
Although prior to the partnership with the SBDC of Oklahoma, efforts were made to provide this services to MSMEs, the SBDC UNICAES recognizes that the objectives were not being met, either because there was not enough financial capacity to hire external consultants or they did not have the technical knowledge to do so.
With the transfer of knowledge, it now has a prepared and trained team, and the deficient aspects were strengthened.
The 40 MSMEs benefited are now receiving the support of a team of advisors with foundations of internationalization and mentoring, in addition to other benefits, such as the creation of packaging, to mention just one aspect.
On the other hand, the SBNA Small Grant Porgram allowed the SBDC UNICAES Ilobasco to partner with the SBDC of the Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra, in the Dominican Republic, in order to strengthen business services.
To this end, the partnership, allowed them to collaborate with the creation of a strengthening strategy with an economic impact approach that benefited 22 advisors, 2 directors and 35 businesswomen. The success was to have jointly advised, between the SBDC UNICAES Ilobasco and the SBDC of the Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra advisors, more than 30 companies, and to have been able to initiate a commercial exchange between companies served by both centers, as highlighted in the final report.
Miguel Cárcamo – Director SBDC UNICAES Santa Ana There are more than 40 companies that have been strengthened in internationalization, knowledge in packaging, nutritional labels, nutritional tables and sanitary registries”.
Source: SMALL BUSINESS NETWORK OF THE AMERICAS (SBNA). Results and experiences of the SBNA Small Grant Program. November 2019. CENPROMYPE.