The SBA Emerging Leaders Initiative is a federal training initiative that specifically focuses on executives of businesses poised for growth in historically challenged communities. The initiative provides these executives with the organizational framework, resource network, and motivation required to build sustainable businesses and promote the economic development within urban communities.
The Emerging Leaders Initiative is based on available funding and currently hosted in the following cities:
- Albuquerque, NM
- Denver, CO
- Jacksonville, FL
- Oklahoma City, OK
- Syracuse, NY
- Atlanta, GA
- Detroit, MI
- Los Angeles, CA
- Philadelphia, PA
- Tulsa, OK
- Baltimore, MD
- Farmington, NM
- Memphis, TN
- Phoenix, AZ
- Youngstown, OH
- Boston, MA
- Fresno, CA
- Milwaukee WI
- Portland, OR
- Chicago, IL
- Helena, MT
- Minneapolis, MN
- Seattle, WA
- Dallas, TX
- Honolulu, HI
- New Orleans, LA
- St. Louis, MO
SBA’s outreach in these communities has resulted in entrepreneurial success that generates new jobs, attracts investment, and provides a more sustainable economic base in distressed areas. The Emerging Leaders Initiative has aided nearly 1,300 urban and Native American small business owners in sustaining and growing their businesses.The results of the Initiative show significant employment growth among participating companies with over 900 new full-time employees. Participants accessed over $26M in new financing since graduating the program, a 27% increase compared to last year. In addition, participants have secured federal, state, local and tribal contracts with a cumulative total of $330 million. This figure has increased each year since the initiative’s inception.
Over the course of seven months, participants are given the opportunity to work with experienced mentors, attend specialized workshops and develop connections with their peers, city leaders, and the financial community. Recruitment for the Emerging Leaders Initiative occurs on an annual basis, beginning in February and classes begin in April. The Initiative incorporates a curriculum that is research-based and nationally scalable (expanding from 10 to 27 communities since 2008), enabling participating businesses to engage in focused development and expansion strategies, including options for accessing new capital and securing government contracts.
Government statistics confirm that underserved small businesses are the engines of sustained economic growth and job creation. Small businesses in underserved cities added close to three times as many jobs to their local economies as large companies over the last decade. SBA launched the Initiative to capitalize on this proven capacity for stimulating jobs and growth in America’s cities. Each year, at least 200 businesses are expected to participate in the training.
Eligibility and Requirements
The Emerging Leaders Initiative is an intensive executive-level series intended to accelerate the growth of high-potential small businesses in America’s underserved cities. Developed by SBA and drawing on the experiences of advisors and business leaders in urban communities across the country, this comprehensive curriculum provides the tools to catapult your company to the next level and help it emerge as a force in your community.
Do I qualify to participate?
This training is for established business owners and is not for start-ups or people who are thinking about starting a business. The Emerging Leaders Initiative advanced training series is open to small business owners and executives that:
- Have annual revenues of at least $300,000
- Have been in business for at least 3 years
- Have at least one employee, other than self
What are the key program highlights?
- Customized training for “C” (CEO, COO, etc.) level executives with demonstrated business sustainability of at least 3 years in business and annual revenue of at least $300K
- Participant recruitment begins in February through SBA’s local district offices and classes typically begin in April
- A three-year strategic growth action plan with benchmarks and performance targets to help the participant emerge as self-sustaining businesses that creates jobs and build communities
- Includes 100 + hours of professional specialized training and peer-to-peer counseling delivered over the course of seven months
Specialized areas of training include:
- Growth Strategies Plans
- Financing and Access to Capital
- Government Contracting
- CEO Mentoring
What types of businesses participate in the program?
There are currently no restrictions on the types of businesses that can participate. Some examples of participating businesses include: manufacturers, retail/wholesalers, contractors, professional services and food service.
In what ways does the training help my business?
The training is specifically designed to stimulate and support the expansion of your business. The curriculum provides strategies to help you access new avenues of capital. It offers practical tools to pursue new paths for business development. It surrounds you with a network of government resources and local business leaders prepared to invest time and energy in your business.
What are the overall benefits of participation?
The end result of the executive education prepares and encourages small businesses to move to the next level on their growth trajectory and to help them emerge as self-sustaining businesses that create jobs and build communities. At the conclusion of the training, entrepreneurs produce a three-year strategic growth action plan with benchmarks and performance targets that will help them access the necessary support and resources to move forward.
Is participation in the Emerging Leaders Initiative free?
YES! The only cost is your time and commitment to complete the curriculum over the course of seven months. All other costs are covered by SBA and our local partners.
How do I sign up?
For information, contact email@example.com.