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SBA’s Emerging Leaders Initiative Expands to Help Entrepreneurs Grow and Succeed

Intensive, executive entrepreneurship education series now available in Eight Cities and Communities in the South Central Region
Release Date: 
Monday, February 8, 2016
Release Number: 
16-03 SADO
Nina Ramon | 210-403-5920

DALLAS/FORT WORTH – The U.S. Small Business Administration’s 2016 Emerging Leaders executive-level training is launching in every state in the South Central Region – Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas - to help local entrepreneurs grow and succeed.  Local recruitment is now underway with classes scheduled to begin in April. 

The Emerging Leaders training focuses on small, poised-for-growth companies with potential for job creation. The only cost incurred is the individual’s time and commitment to complete the curriculum; all other costs are covered by the SBA and its local partners.

“This entrepreneurial education initiative is a priority for our Agency because it trains already successful small businesses in how to become prosperous medium- and large-size businesses which are able to propel America’s economy forward,” said SBA South Central Regional Administrator Yolanda Garcia Olivarez.

The Emerging Leaders initiative has been a catalyst for expanding opportunities for underserved communities.  Graduates have reported that nearly 70 percent achieved revenue growth and over 80 percent created new jobs or retained all existing jobs.  Graduates have secured federal, state, local and tribal contract awards over $700 million.

“An added bonus is that class participants gain the opportunity to establish strong networks, share best practices, success stories and be a part of building each other’s dream of entrepreneurship,” said Olivarez. “I encourage you to contact the San Antonio District Office at 210-403-5900 to find out how you can join this year’s class.” 

Karen Soeffkler, owner of All Things Kids and participant in the San Antonio District’s first Emerging Leaders last year, success is a testament to the true value of the program. As part of the course, participants are required to create a three year growth plan. Each plan must be vetted by peers and business experts.

“We actually have a ten year growth plan,” said Soeffler. “I believe in that growth plan and can now see that my growth plan of opening 80 stores in the next ten years is a reality thanks to the SBA and to the tools given to me. I hope this program stays and I hope it grows.

More than 3,000 promising small business owners across the country in underserved communities have been trained since its inception in 2008, and its impact continues to expand.

“Last year the San Antonio District Office was chosen as one of 28 new cities to host the Emerging Leaders initiative,” said Ron Dear, San Antonio Office Deputy District Director. “The participants from last year’s class continue to generate great success. I foresee similar achievement with this upcoming class and all future classes.”

The South Central Region locations for the 2016 Emerging Leaders initiative classes are as follows:

  1. Little Rock, Ark.
  2. New Orleans, La.
  3. Albuquerque, N.M.                            
  4. Oklahoma City, Okla.
  5. Austin/San Antonio, Texas               
  6. Dallas, Texas                                     
  7. El Paso, Texas                                   
  8. Houston, Texas                                                    

For more information about Emerging Leaders, please visit