In the early 1980's, a strong movement began to place international trade education in a more prominent position in colleges, universities, and various public service institutions. Many programs were begun, mostly housed at educational institutions, world trade centers, chambers of commerce, and other trade-related groups. In addition, Small Business Development Centers, funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration, were beginning to join the groundswell of activity...

By 1986, John Otis, founding director of Oregon’s statewide program, decided it would be a good idea to invite all SBDC-, university-, and chamber-based international trade programs from throughout the country to a conference in Oregon. The conference, held in Portland in May, 1988, sponsored by the Portland SBDC program, Seattle Community College, and the SBA, was a huge success, attracting 130 attendees from 30 states and Puerto Rico. The format for the conference was so successful that it became the basis for future NASBITE conferences.

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A National Steering Committee was soon formed. Planning sessions were held in St. Paul, MN to develop the new organization and the next conference. At the end of two days, NASBITE (National Association of Small Business International Trade Educators) was born, six standing committees were formed, the mission statement developed, five major objectives were crafted, and an editor for the first newsletter was appointed.

In 1992, NASBITE was awarded tax exempt status as a 501(c)(3) organization. In 2000, NASBITE embarked on a new mission to develop a credential that would raise the level of practice in the field, provide professional development goals, and showcase competency. 

Over the next several years, Jim Foley, from Bradley University, led the effort to develop the NASBITE CGBP (Certified Global Business Professional) credential. NASBITE contracted with Professional Examination Service (PES) in New York to help create the body of knowledge and the test protocol. In cooperation with numerous federal and state government, and corporate partners, as well as the Centers for International Business, Education, and Research (CIBERs), and practitioners the NASBITE CGBP™ credential was developed and on March 20, 2005 the first credentialing exam was given. As of 2008, nearly 500 candidates have recieved the credential.

To reflect the expansion of partners worldwide, NASBITE became NASBITE International in 2006. The new name was adopted to better reflect the expanded population of global business professionals being served by NASBITE, beyond small business and educators.