SBA training gives boost to Boston business owners

Martin Desmarais | 2/12/2014, 10:14 a.m.
The U.S. Small Business Administration is stepping up its efforts to connect with budding local Boston small business owners to ...
U.S. Small Business Administration New England Regional Administrator Seth Goodall talks to participants in last year’vs Emerging Leaders training program. The program is intended to help Boston small business owners expand their businesses with seven months of classes and workshops. SBA

“I look for a diverse makeup of the class — minority entrepreneurs, veteran entrepreneurs, women entrepreneurs — a real makeup of the community,” Nelson said.

Interested small business owners have to apply for the program and Nelson’s office will interview applicants to choose the 15 companies that get to take part.

After many years of running the program, Nelson said he has full confidence that the small businesses that are involved benefit with growth.

“They will absolutely get something out of it. They are going to get results,” he said.

The Boston program is part of the SBA’s national Emerging Leaders program, which has been run for the last six years and will be launched this year in almost 30 cities across the country, with recent expansion to Washington, D.C, Miami and Newark, N.J. Overall, programs have trained more than 2,000 small business owners.

“Emerging Leaders has a proven track record of helping small businesses in underserved communities,” said SBA Acting Administrator Jeanne Hulit. “Graduates of the program have increased their revenue, created jobs and helped drive local economic growth in their communities. Adding new locations this year builds on this success and provides even more entrepreneurs in underserved communities with the support, resources and skills to succeed.”

According to information provided by the SBA, the program has been successful in expanding business opportunities in underserved communities with graduates creating about 2,000 new full-time jobs since its start. Graduates in the program have secured more than $73 million in new financing for their businesses. A survey conducted by the SBA also reported that after participants in the program graduated, they have reported they were awarded federal, state, local and tribal contracts, worth more than $1 billion. In a survey of program graduates, 62 percent reported an increase in revenue while 72 percent reported maintaining or creating new jobs in their communities.

In 2013, all the programs run around the country graduated nearly 400 small business owners, representing the largest graduating class since the SBA launched the program in 2008.

The U.S. Small Business Administration will start its 2014 Emerging Leaders program in April. Applicants have a March 17 deadline to apply. For information, contact the Boston office at 617-565-5590 or visit www.sba.gov/ma.