The U.S. Small Business Administration has launched its 2015 Emerging Leaders executive-level training series in 48 cities and communities across the country, including San Juan, which is joining the program for the first time.
The initiative has trained more than 2,400 promising small business owners in underserved communities, and its impact continues to expand in helping small businesses to grow and create jobs throughout the country. There are 22 new cities joining the initiative for the first time, including Birmingham, Charlotte, Salt Lake City, San Juan and Providence.
“The Emerging Leaders Program is a resource that can open lucrative doors for America’s small businesses,” said SBA Administrator María Contreras-Sweet. “The addition of more than 20 new cities in 2015 will help serve even more entrepreneurs. Graduates of the initiative have measurably increased their revenue, and helped create jobs and drive economic growth in their local communities.”
The Emerging Leaders Program has been a catalyst for expanding opportunities for underserved communities. Emerging Leader graduates have secured more than $1 billion in government contracts and accessed $73 million in new financing, the agency said.
Graduates also reported having created 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. The initiative graduated nearly 400 small business owners in 2014, representing the largest graduating class since it began in 2008.
The seven month executive intensive entrepreneurship education series 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 2015 training cycle is underway at selected SBA district offices, and classes are scheduled to begin in April. Information on how interested small business owners can apply and eligibility criteria can be found at www.sba.gov/emergingleaders.