The Trade Center was established in 1979, by Dr. William R. Bennett, Emeritus Professor of Marketing and International Business at The University of Alabama’s Culverhouse College of Commerce and Business Administration. In his honor upon retirement, the Center was designated as the William R. Bennett Alabama International Trade Center. Today the Trade Center employs five full time professionals, four consultants, and fifteen student assistants. It operates as a federal-state partnership program between the University of Alabama and the U.S. Small Business Administration, promoting SBA’s export financing programs in Alabama.
The Trade Center is an institutional member of the Alabama Small Business Development Center Network (ASBDC), a statewide network of 10 management and technical assistance centers. The Center is also a founding member of the Export Alabama Trade Alliance, a statewide export promotion network led by the International Trade Division of the Alabama Department of Commerce.
AITC is recognized as an Associate Office of the U.S. Department of Commerce.
The Alabama International Trade Center has received the US Department of Commerce’s Export Achievement Award and is recognized by the SBA as a State Model of Excellence in International Trade.
The America’s SBDC Network began operating in 1980 and the Alabama SBDCs make up 10 of the nearly 1000 SBDC service centers nationwide. SBDCs are located in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam and American Samoa.
The mission of the Alabama SBDC Network is to enhance economic growth by making Alabama small businesses more competitive through the provision of entrepreneurial assistance.