International development evaluation specialists Luis Bernal MPP, and Peter Appleton PhD, were assigned the final evaluation of the project called: "Central American Small Business Development Center Partnership Program: Adapting and Replicating the Small Business Development (SBDC) Model throughout Central America".

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Higher Education for Development of The American Council on Education, partnering with the International Trade Center at University of Texas-San Antonio, undertook a USAID-funded program to transfer, adapt, and support the adoption of the U.S. Small Business Development Center SBDC model to Central American countries, in particular Costa Rica and Honduras.

The evaluation took a twenty-two working-days period between November and December, 2013; it comprised visits to Washington DC, San Antonio TX, San José and Región Brunca in Costa Rica, as well as Tegucigalpa and Región Golfo de Fonseca in Honduras.

Field work comprised a number of site visits, Focus-groups and interviews with key stakeholders such as universities, government agencies, non-government organizations, business owners and entrepreneurs.

The evaluation was meant to evaluate the partnership’s design and implementation model; assess the partnership’s performance and contribution to output level results; document major management practices, challenges, and lessons learned; and provide recommendations to partnership institutions, HED, USAID and DOS on strategies, possible adjustments to the design and specific actions to ensure sustainable achievement of long-term objectives.

Evaluation criteria adopted were: i) Relevance, ii) Efficiency, iii) Effectiveness, and iv) Sustainability (economic, financial, institutional, political, technical and technological) additionally Cross-cutting issues, such as gender, were examined as well.