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SBA Grows Entrepreneurs with Highly Successful Emerging Leaders Training

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SBA Grows Entrepreneurs with Highly Successful Emerging Leaders Training

By byrned
Published: February 7, 2012 Updated: February 7, 2012

In late January, SBA Administrator Karen Mills spoke before an audience of entrepreneurs at one of the top business forums in the country.

Here’s what she told them: “We all know the facts.  Small businesses create two out of every three new jobs. More than half of working Americans either own or work for a small business.  And they are the foundation of the middle class. They are part of the economic bloodstream of this country; one of our greatest assets. America’s entrepreneurs have a strong spirit, a resiliency that keeps them going. They believe in their ideas and can energize the communities they live and work in.”

It was no coincidence that a few days later, and for the fifth consecutive year, the U.S. Small Business Administration kicked off its 2012 e200/Emerging Leaders executive-level training initiative -- this year in 27 cities and communities. Since 2008 the e200/Emerging Leaders initiative has helped nearly 1,000 promising small business owners in underserved communities across the country sustain and grow their businesses, providing training they use to succeed.

The e200 training classes attract participants from all types of entrepreneurial disciplines and industries from all over the country, and are part of just one of many programs the SBA offers nationwide to help spark small business growth and create jobs. To see a video with testimony from entrepreneurs who have benefited from the initiative, check out this YouTube video.

“Over the last few years Emerging Leaders has helped expand opportunities for many promising small businesses in underserved communities – in particular those that have been most impacted by these tough economic times,” SBA Administrator Karen Mills said. “Graduates of the program have increased their revenue, created jobs and helped drive local economic growth in their communities. Continuing with this year’s lineup of new classes builds on this success and provides even more entrepreneurs in underserved communities with the support, resources and skills to succeed.”

Despite the difficult economy, more than half of the businesses that have completed the e200/Emerging Leaders training have shown an increase in revenue totaling more than $7 million. Nearly 60 percent have reported creating new jobs in their communities.  Surveyed participants also reported having secured more than $7 million in new financing for their businesses, and an increase in confidence when applying for government contracts. As a result, program graduates have reported securing nearly 500 federal, state and local contracts, worth more than $112 million.

The Emerging Leaders initiative has been a catalyst for expanding opportunities for both urban small business owners and Native American communities. In 2011, there were 17 urban host cities and 10 Native American host cities. Combined, the program graduated 340 small business owners, representing the largest graduating class since the e200 initiative began in 2008.

The eight-month training 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. Local recruitment for the 2012 training cycle is underway now at SBA district offices, and classes are scheduled to begin in April.

For a list of participating cities and to get more information about the e200 Emerging Leaders initiative, go to or contact your local SBA office in that area.

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