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2017 Emerging Leaders Initiative Builds Business

Entrepreneur Training Initiative Sparks Small Business Growth, Job Creation
Release Date: 
Thursday, March 9, 2017

Business owners seeking to grow their business have a unique opportunity through the 2017 Oklahoma Emerging Leaders Class. Registration is now open for the class which has helped numerous businesses across Oklahoma expand.

“This is an opportunity for Oklahoma small businesses to develop a comprehensive growth plan for their business,” Dottie Overal, Oklahoma District Director for the Small Business Administration said.  “Emerging Leaders has a proven track record of helping small businesses in Oklahoma. Graduates of the program have increased their revenue, created jobs and helped drive local economic growth in their communities.”

The Oklahoma District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration will hold its 2017 Emerging Leaders executive-level intensive entrepreneurship training initiative for small business owners at Rose State College beginning in April.  Entering its tenth consecutive year, the initiative has trained more than 2,000 promising small business and continues to expand its impact helping small businesses grow and create jobs. 

“This class allows small business owners to work on their business instead of in their business,” Overal said.  “Too often they are caught up in the day-to-day operations and don’t build and plan for the future.”

The Emerging Leaders Program has been a catalyst for expanding opportunities for underserved communities.  Emerging Leader graduates have secured more than $1 billion in government contracts and accessed $73 million in new financing.   Graduates also reported having created nearly 2,000 new full-time jobs since the program’s inception.  Sixty-two percent of surveyed participants reported an increase in revenue while 70 percent of those surveyed reported maintaining or creating new jobs in their communities.  The initiative graduated nearly 400 small business owners in 2014, representing the largest graduating class since it began in 2008.

The seven month executive intensive entrepreneurship education series includes approximately 100 hours of classroom time per participant and provides the opportunity for small business owners to work with experienced mentors, attend workshops and develop connections with their peers, city leaders and financial communities.

Information on how interested small business owners can apply and on the eligibility criteria can be found at; or by contacting John D. Veal, Jr., Deputy District Director, 405-609-8020 or .

The Oklahoma District Office of the SBA is responsible for providing businesses with tools for enhancing and growing their businesses. It also oversees the delivery of SBA's programs throughout the state such as:

  • Free counseling, advice and information on starting a business through SCORE, the Oklahoma Small Business Development Centers, and the Women’s Business Center.  These organizations also conduct training events throughout the district.
  • Financial assistance for new or existing businesses through guaranteed loans made by area bank and non-bank lenders.
  • Business development assistance via the 8(a) program, available to businesses owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals.
  • Veterans assistance through the Boots to Business program and dedicated lending programs for Veterans

For more information on any of these programs, contact the Oklahoma District office at 405/609-8000.