Portland to Host 2014 Emerging Leaders Initiative

Release Date: 
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Release Number: 
Advisory Date: 
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Advisory Number: 
Kellie Randall, (503) 326-5200

Course Provides Graduates Skills to Develop and Grow Business


PORTLAND, Ore.  – The U.S. Small Business Administration Portland District Office is accepting applications for the 2014 Emerging Leaders executive-level training initiative. In 2013, 13 Oregon and SW Washington-based small business owners benefited from seven month course, providing 100 hours of classroom training, the opportunity to network with mentors and develop connections with their peers. 


The Emerging Leaders Initiative is a federal training initiative that specifically focuses on executives of businesses poised for growth. The initiative provides these executives with the organizational framework, resource network, and motivation required to build sustainable businesses and promote economic development within urban communities.


The curriculum helps small business owners focus on developing their business and a strategic growth plan. Dr. Matt Hicks of Moreland Neighborhood Dental was a graduate of Portland’s 2013 Emerging Leaders Class.


Dr. Hicks had wanted to be a dentist for as long as he can remember, but becoming a business owner was not so natural for Matt. After graduating from the Dental program at Oregon Health and Science University in 1997, he went to work for Dr. David Long at Moreland Neighborhood Dental. He happily lived out his dream, working as an associate for the next eight years. But in 2004, Dr. Long laid out the future for him. “I told him, either you buy the practice or you move on,” said Dr. Long. So just like that, Dr. Hicks began to take over Moreland Neighborhood Dental.


Without any prior business experience, Dr. Hicks found himself struggling with most aspects of running the practice. “I didn’t know what I was doing,” said Dr. Hicks. “It was intimidating, so I did what Dr. Long had done for years and things just went along.” The practice continued doing what they do best – providing high-quality personalized dental care to a loyal following of patients.


Moreland Neighborhood Dental has been in the same building since they opened 42 years ago. With a desire to remodel or build a new building, in March 2013, Dr. Hicks found himself doing some online research about SBA loan programs. “That’s when I saw the information about the Emerging Leaders Program, and thought – that’s just what I need,” said Dr. Hicks.


“Emerging Leaders got me to think about the future,” said Dr. Hicks. “Your business should support your personal goals in life and the course gave me the nuts and bolts to do that. Including little tips, like developing an elevator speech and always having my business card with me. I feel like I’m not just a great dentist now, I’m becoming a great business owner.”


Now, Dr. Hicks is planning the practice’s expansion and move through constructing a new building at their same location. Moreland Neighborhood Dental continues to thrive, supporting three dentists, two hygienists, three dental assistants and six administrative office staff and offering expanded office hours five days a week starting at 7 a.m.


Recruitment for the 2014 training cycle ends March 21, 2014. To be considered, firms must have annual revenues of at least $400,000, been in business for at least three years and have at least one employee. Interested small business owners can apply online at www.interise.org/SBAemergingleaders.  


For more information about Emerging Leaders, contact Yuri Dyson (yuri.dyson@sba.gov) or visit www.sba.gov/emergingleaders.