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Emerging Leaders Initiative Returns to Seattle

Free “Mini-MBA” Program Provided by SBA Gives Business Owners Tools to Spark Sustainable Business Growth, Job Creation in Western Washington
Release Date: 
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Release Number: 
SDOPR 15-05
Advisory Date: 
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Melanie Norton (206) 553-7082

Emerging Leaders Initiative Returns to Seattle

Free “Mini-MBA” Program Provided by SBA Gives Business Owners Tools to Spark Sustainable Business Growth,
Job Creation in Western Washington

SEATTLE – A solar company that increased staff by nearly 50 percent, a medical equipment firm that opened a retail division, a trucking company revolutionizing the way truckers are paid in a struggling industry, and a storage company that opened a new location – these are a few examples of the successful, sustainable growth achieved by Seattle-area graduates of the Emerging Leaders initiative.  

For the sixth year in row, 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 includes approximately 100 hours of classroom time during seven months. Upon completion of the course, participants have a three-year growth action plan and a network of peers and industry experts.

“The beauty of the SBA Emerging Leaders program is it provides the framework for local entrepreneurs to work on their business instead of in their business,” said Nancy Porzio, district director of the SBA Seattle District Office. “It’s amazing to see the progress our Emerging Leaders graduates make during the program and afterward. They truly are local business leaders.”

There are 17 available seats for the 2015 program in Seattle. The SBA Seattle District Office is now accepting applications < > through Friday, March 20.

“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, which we’ve seen in Emerging Leaders graduates across the country who have reported a 62 percent increase in revenue.”

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

“Every [Emerging Leaders] class and homework assignment is a chance to remove yourself from the daily grind and focus on what's important,” said 2013 Emerging Leaders Graduate Reeves Clippard, CEO of A&R Solar in Seattle. “We're becoming more focused on what we need to do to make growing in the future easier.”

Due to the success of the Emerging Leaders program, the SBA has nearly doubled the number of cities offering the program from 27 cities last year 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. 

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