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SBA Honors Philadelphia’s 2017 “SBA Emerging Leaders” Graduates

Release Date: 
Thursday, October 26, 2017
Release Number: 
Robert Goza (610) 382-3084 |

Eastern Pa. – The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Eastern Pennsylvania District honored entrepreneurs who completed its Emerging Leaders Program at a graduation ceremony Oct. 11.

“Small businesses are vital to the U.S. economy and here in the 40 counties of Eastern Pennsylvania we count on small businesses to create jobs in our neighborhoods,” said Director Antonio (Tony) Leta, SBA Eastern Pennsylvania District. “Half of all Americans own or work for small businesses like those in the Emerging Leaders program. As leaders in their communities, I know these graduates will continue to roll up their sleeves and do all that they can to grow their businesses and create more jobs as the next generation of innovative entrepreneurs.”

SBA identifies businesses across the nation demonstrating high growth potential and provides free, intensive business education in the form of an in-depth six-month course in organization management, growth strategies and management, market development and strategic planning.

The Emerging Leaders Program is a catalyst for expanding opportunities for underserved communities.  Graduates have secured more than $1 billion in government contracts and accessed $73 million in new financing.  They’ve also reported creating nearly 2,000 new full-time jobs since the program’s inception.  Sixty-two percent of surveyed participants reported an increase in revenue while 70 percent of those surveyed reported maintaining or creating new jobs in their communities.

“Emerging Leaders graduates are the brightest rising stars in our communities. SBA’s Emerging Leaders program provides the know-how they need to help the businesses they’ve started grow and succeed,” said Jennifer Tilden, SBA Eastern Pennsylvania District Lead Business Opportunity Specialist and Emerging Leaders Program Manager.

The program’s curriculum includes approximately 100 hours per participant and provides opportunities for small business owners to work with experienced mentors, attend workshops, and develop connections with their peers, city leaders, and financial communities. Program graduates have created hundreds of new jobs and secured millions of dollars in financing and government contracts.

Emerging Leaders honored at the graduation ceremony:

  • Ian Bongaardt, Co-owner, Comfort Keepers
  • Dorothea (Dee) Gillette-Spencer, Founder, D. Gillette Industrial Services, Inc.
  • Selina Kedziora, Founder, President and CEO, G. Adams Construction Group, LLC
  • John Perozzi, Jr. President and Owner, Beacon Auto & Truck Collision Center/ABC Emergency Rental Company
  • Sri Vadi, Founder and Managing Director, The United Solutions Group, Inc.
  • Joel Walker, Owner and CEO, Industrial Resolution

For more information about this year’s Emerging Leaders graduates:

For more information about SBA’s Emerging Leaders Program: