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SBA Graduates 10 Companies from Emerging Leaders U.S. Virgin Islands Class of 2017

Release Date: 
Friday, December 22, 2017
Release Number: 
Angelique Adjutant (787) 766-5570

ST. CROIX, USVI – The U. S. Small Business Administration Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands district office has graduated 10 companies from the first ever Emerging Leaders training series delivered in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

“Today, we celebrate the hard work and dedication of 10 entrepreneurs who are committed to growing their businesses and to creating jobs, investing in the U.S. Virgin Islands’ economy,” said SBA District Director Yvette T. Collazo. “Our graduates have successfully concluded a seven-month period of entrepreneurial training, mentoring and teamwork, and take with them a three-year strategic growth plan to help catapult their respective companies to the next level.”

The 10 graduates represent the islands of St. Croix and St. Thomas as well as diverse business sectors, from fiber optics, lab testing, insurance, and financial services, to restaurants, hospitality and tourism.

The following business owners and their respective companies graduated from the Emerging Leaders Class of 2015: Katherine Pugliese, Un Amore Restaurant; Sana Smith, Legacy Restaurants; Ana Foster, Netwave Unlimited Services, LLC; Sandra Gutiérrez, Inter-Ocean Insurance Company; Steve Kammerzelt, Southern Seas, Inc. dba Big Beards; Luz Torres, Eddie’s Glass Services; Jennifer Jackson, Arawak Bay: The Inn at Salt River; Juliette Bynum, Select Temp Staffing; Leigh Fletcher, Ocean Systems Laboratory, Inc.; and Ethlyn Tuitt-Mills, CPA PC.

Launched locally this spring, the Emerging Leaders program was designed to serve as a catalyst to help expand opportunities for established small businesses in underserved communities. Over the past seven months, participants worked with an instructor, mentors and industry experts, developing connections with other business owners and community leaders. Today, they exit the program with a three-year strategic growth plan for their businesses, developed using the knowledge, skills, and techniques perfected throughout the course.

“Our Emerging Leaders graduates now have additional tools to take their businesses to the next level,” said Wayne Huddleston, SBA USVI Senior Area Manager. “They are the epitome of creativity and determination. At SBA, we have been witness to that since launching the program, and the last few months have been no different.”

To learn more about the criteria and requirements to participate in the Emerging Leaders program or to apply for next year’s round, please visit