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Emerging Leaders, A Free SBA Business Course, Returns to Seattle

Free “Mini-MBA” Program Provided by SBA Gives Underserved Business Owners Tools to Spark Sustainable Business Growth, Job Creation
Release Date: 
Thursday, February 4, 2016
Release Number: 
SDOPR 16-07
Matthew Williams 206-553-7315

SEATTLE –The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Seattle District Office is offering the Emerging Leaders training initiative for local businesses on the brink of growth.

The intensive entrepreneurship education series, focused on women-, minority-, immigrant-, and LGBT-owned small businesses, includes approximately 100 hours of classroom time during seven months, from April through October. Upon completion of the course, participants have a three-year growth action plan and a network of peers and industry experts.

The deadline to apply online at is Tuesday, March 1; there is an informational webinar Feb. 19 to help answer any questions applicants may have about the program.

“Small business owners move from challenge to challenge and often don’t receive the additional training or planning assistance they need for their businesses to flourish,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “The Emerging Leaders training initiative will enable King County business people to brush up on the basics and get focused on the future.”

"Seattle's dynamic and thriving small business community continues to create prosperity, grow jobs, and add to the rich diversity of the city," said Mayor Ed Murray. "We are a welcoming city that celebrates all communities. This educational opportunity will help entrepreneurs take their businesses to the next level." 

Due to the success of the Emerging Leaders program, the SBA has nearly doubled the number of cities offering the program from 27 cities in 2014 to 48 cities in 2015.  Since the SBA started the program eight years ago, the initiative has trained more than 2,000 small business owners across the country. In 2014 alone, nearly 400 small business owners graduated from the program, representing the largest graduating class since the program began in 2008.

“Small business owners often know where they want to take their business, but can find themselves struggling with how to get there,” said Calvin Goings, SBA Regional Administrator. “The Emerging Leaders initiative provides business owners with the tools and expert guidance to spark sustainable business growth.”

Basic eligibility requirements to participate in the Emerging Leaders program include the following:

  • Be a small business owner or C-level executive (example: CEO, COO)

  • Have business annual revenues between $400,000 and $10 million

  • Have been in business for at least three years

  • Have at least one employee, other than self

  • Make the time commitment required of the course

  • Demonstrate the business is on the brink of growth or transition

  • Women-, minority-, immigrant-, and LGBT-owned small business owners encouraged to apply

Graduates of the program have created nearly 2,000 new full-time jobs, secured more than $73 million in new financing, and were awarded federal, state, local and tribal contracts worth more than $1 billion.

For more information about the Emerging Leaders initiative, visit