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Florida SBDC at FAU Receives International Program Excellence Award

The Florida Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at FAU recently received the prestigious "NASBITE International 2023 Program Excellence Award" for helping to develop and promote international trade.

The Florida Small Business Development Center at FAU, SBDC at FAU, NASBITE International 2023 Program Excellence Award, International Trade, Award


The Florida Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Florida Atlantic University recently received the prestigiousNASBITE International 2023 Program Excellence Award” for helping to develop and promote international trade. The purpose of this award is to recognize innovation and excellence in international trade instruction, curriculum development, research, program development, and/or advocacy of international business issues.

The award was presented during the 2023 NASBITE Annual Conference in Annapolis, Maryland. NASBITE International also recognized the SBDC at FAU internationally as an outstanding and innovative international education, counseling and training program. The award was presented to Sandra D. Marin Ruiz, Ed.D., assistant vice president in FAU’s Division of Research and regional director of the Florida SBDC at FAU.

“It is both exciting and an incredible honor for the Florida Small Business Development Center at FAU to receive this global recognition by NASBITE International,” said Gregg Fields, Ph.D., interim vice president for research at FAU, executive director of the Institute for Human Health and Disease Intervention (I-Health), and a professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry in FAU’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. “Receiving this award serves as well-deserved recognition of the SBDC at FAU for its outstanding and innovative work in international, economic and community engagement.”

NASBITE International is committed to advancing international trade by acknowledging professionals in the field who have demonstrated excellence in developing innovative programs and practices that improve international trade through its annual awards program. This award recognizes the dedication and service of those who are advancing international trade in each state in the United States as well as Canada and Mexico.

“This award also recognizes FAU’s efforts in developing the international SBCD Networks in Chile, the Caribbean, Brazil and Central America over the course of more than three years and advancing in the international business attraction in Europe and the Middle East,” said Marin Ruiz, a delegation member who founded the Small Business Network of the Americas in 2014 with the U.S. Department of State and other national and international organizations.

The award is given for specific programs developed by public or private sector trade-related organizations or educational institutions to meet a particular identified need. In recognizing these initiatives, NASBITE seeks to provide models for others to emulate.

The Florida SBDC at FAU offers high-level consulting and training to small- and medium-sized businesses in Broward and Palm Beach counties. The Florida SBDC at FAU has access to robust databases, business research resources and knowledgeable expert consultants who can help business owners and entrepreneurs successfully navigate the obstacles that come with the stages of the business life cycle, providing no-cost specialized services to fit their needs. From pre-venture businesses (exploring business feasibility) to established businesses (in business more than three years), the SBDC at FAU provides assistance and consultation.

Among the many services provided by the Florida SBDC at FAU include international market planning, export market planning, government contracting, strategic planning, strategic marketing planning, access to capital, loan proposal development, cash flow management, leveraging social media, feasibility studies, targeted market research, among others.

Special projects utilize students’ talents to accelerate the market research for international businesses.

“The FAU SBDC Student Consulting Project Program enabled students to work with international micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises in Chile,” said Sara Alshareef, Ph.D., SBDC consultant-in-residence, FAU College of Business. “The program encouraged students to apply knowledge learned in their course and to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills to create solutions for several real-world business scenarios. The program also equipped students with tools to better understand the dynamics of international trade and what should be considered by foreign companies when doing business in Florida and the U.S.”

The Florida SBDC at FAU is a member of the Florida SBDC Network, State Designated as Florida's Principal Provider of Business Assistance [§ 288.001, Fla. Stat.], a statewide partnership program nationally accredited by the Association of America’s SBDCs and funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration, Defense Logistics Agency, state of Florida, and other private and public partners, with the University of West Florida serving as the network's lead host institution. Florida SBDC services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Language assistance services are available for limited English proficient individuals.

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