Recently, SBA kicked off the 2012 Emerging Leaders (known as the e200) executive-level training initiative for small business owners in 27 cities, including 10 Native American communities.
The e200 is an intensive training program for small companies that have the potential for quick growth and job creation. I’m excited that e200 continues to reach our Native small business communities with training, mentorship and resources to help them take their businesses to the next level. Native American small businesses are an important part of creating a blueprint for an economy built to last.
Sacred Power, Inc., of Albuquerque, N.M is a great example of how e200 can help small businesses grow and create jobs. This Native-owned e200 graduate is an 8(a) certified small business that manufactures solar power systems used in rural areas, Indian reservations and pueblos. The business experienced tremendous growth after graduating from the e200 training, hired new employees, and purchased a new building to increase its production capacity.
E200 has been a highly effective tool for small companies in underserved communities to increase their potential for success. Graduates of the program have increased their revenue, created jobs and helped drive local economic growth in their communities.
The eight-month training includes almost 100 hours of class time for every small business participant and gives them the opportunity to work with experienced business mentors, attend relevant workshops and develop key connections with their peers, their community leaders, as well as the financial community.
The President recognizes that Native Americans have to be full partners in our economy. Last month, President Obama talked about the importance of restoring America’s promise for all people, including our first Americans.
“We want new businesses and new opportunities to take root on the reservation,” the President said. “We want to stop repeating the mistakes of the past and begin building a better future -- one that honors old traditions and also welcomes every single Native American into the American Dream.”
At SBA, we’re working hard to increase and strengthen the number of successful Native-American owned businesses, providing tools they need to build strong businesses and create jobs.
The 10 cities hosting e200 Emerging Leaders classes for Native American communities are Albuquerque, N.M.; Helena, Mont.; Farmington, N.M.; Honolulu, Hawaii; Milwaukee, Wis.; Phoenix, Ariz.; Rapid City, S.D.; Santa Ana, Calif.; Spokane, Wash.; and Tulsa, Okla.
Local recruitment for the 2012 e200 training cycle starts this month through SBA district offices, and classes are scheduled to begin in April. More than 200 Native-owned businesses have graduated from the program since it was expanded to Native American communities in 2010.
Going forward in 2012, we want to continue to focus our outreach efforts on education and training for Native American-owned businesses within these communities.
For more information about e200 Emerging Leaders training, or to contact the respective local SBA District office, visit www.sba.gov/e200.
Chris James is the Assistant Administrator for Native American Affairs at SBA