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SBA Emerging Leaders Initiative Returns to the Inland Northwest (Eastern Washington and North Idaho)

Free “Mini-MBA” Program Provided by SBA Gives Business Owners Tools to Spark Sustainable Business Growth, Job Creation in the Inland Northwest
Release Date: 
Monday, February 22, 2021
Contact:, 509-353-2810

SPOKANE, Washington – For the fourth consecutive year, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Spokane Branch Office – part of the SBA Seattle District – is offering the Emerging Leaders training initiative for small businesses in the Inland Northwest on the brink of growth.

The SBA Emerging Leaders program provides free entrepreneurship education and training for executives of small, poised-for-growth companies that are potential job creators. 

This intensive executive entrepreneurship series includes nearly 100 hours of virtual classroom time.  It also provides opportunities for small business owners to work with experienced coaches and mentors, attend workshops, and develop connections with their peers, local leaders and the financial community.

“Dozens of small businesses have benefited from the successful Emerging Leaders program in the Inland Northwest,” SBA Spokane Branch Manager Joel Nania said. “We’ve graduated small business owners from north Idaho, the Tri-Cities, Walla Walla, Colville and Spokane.”  

Since its inception in 2008, the SBA Emerging Leaders Initiative has trained more 5,000 small business owners across the country.

SBA Emerging Leaders graduates have created more than 6,500 jobs, generated more than $300 million in new financing and secured more than $3.16 billion in government contracts.

“For every $200 the SBA invests in the Emerging Leaders program, a new job is created,” SBA Seattle District Director Kerrie Hurd said. “That’s a substantial return on investment for small business owners ready to grow and actively contribute to our economy and communities.”

The SBA Emerging Leaders Initiative had grown to be offered in 60 cities across the U.S. during 2019. The program was postponed due to the pandemic in 2020 but is coming back strong for 2021.

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

  • Be a small business owner or head decision-maker
  • Have business annual revenues between $250,000 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

The SBA Emerging Leaders Initiative is free to small business owners, but space is limited. There are 20 available seats for the 2021 program in Spokane.  The SBA Spokane Branch Office is now accepting online applications through March 26. The program will run from late April through October 2021.

Past Emerging Leaders graduates from the Inland Northwest have come from a wide range of industries such manufacturing, construction, business services, and restaurants.  Owners of all types of businesses are welcome to apply.

“What a wonderful class. I am continuing to meet with my CEO group and to follow up on how everyone is implementing the things we learned,” said Marshon Kempf, an SBA Emerging Leaders 2018 graduate and owner of Mountain Dog Sign Company in Spokane Valley.

For more information about the SBA Emerging Leaders Initiative, visit  or contact Joel Nania at or 509-353-2810. 


About the U.S. Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit The Seattle District Office serves Washington state and north Idaho with office locations in Seattle and Spokane, Washington.