SBA Emerging Leaders Program is a 7-month online course designed for business owners to create a strategic plan to grow their business

Business owners or chief executives interested in growing their existing business are invited to attend a free one-hour information session about the 2021 Emerging Leaders Program.

SBA Emerging Leaders Initiative

Eligibility and requirements

The Emerging Leaders Initiative is an intensive executive-level series intended to accelerate the growth of high-potential small businesses in America’s underserved cities.  Developed by SBA and drawing on the experiences of advisors and business leaders in urban communities across the country, this comprehensive curriculum provides the tools to catapult your company to the next level and help it emerge as a force in your community.

Do I qualify to participate?

This training is for established business owners and is not for start-ups or people who are thinking about starting a business. The Emerging Leaders Initiative advanced training series is open to small business owners and executives that:

Have annual revenues of at least $250,000

Have been in business for at least 3 years

Have at least one employee, other than self

What are the key program highlights?

Customized training for “C” (CEO, COO, etc.) level executives with demonstrated business sustainability of at least 3 years in business and annual revenue of at least $250K

Participant recruitment begins in February through SBA’s local district offices and classes typically begin in April

A three-year strategic growth action plan with benchmarks and performance targets to help the participant emerge as a self-sustaining business that creates jobs and builds communities

Includes 100 + hours of professional specialized training and peer-to-peer counseling delivered over the course of seven months

Specialized areas of training include:

Growth Strategies Plans

Financing and Access to Capital

Government Contracting

CEO Mentoring

What types of businesses participate in the program?

There are currently no restrictions on the types of businesses that can participate. Some examples of participating businesses include:  manufacturers, retail/wholesalers, contractors, professional services and food service.

In what ways does the training help my business?

The training is specifically designed to stimulate and support the expansion of your business. The curriculum provides strategies to help you access new avenues of capital. It offers practical tools to pursue new paths for business development. It surrounds you with a network of government resources and local business leaders prepared to invest time and energy in your business.

What are the overall benefits of participation?

The end result of the executive education prepares and encourages small businesses to move to the next level on their growth trajectory and to help them emerge as self-sustaining businesses that create jobs and build communities.  At the conclusion of the training, entrepreneurs produce a three-year strategic growth action plan with benchmarks and performance targets that will help them access the necessary support and resources to move forward. 

Is participation in the Emerging Leaders Initiative free?

The only cost is your time and commitment to complete the curriculum over the course of seven months. All other costs are covered by SBA and our local partners.

Training overview

Register Your Interest In The Program

Emerging Leaders Initiative provides free entrepreneurship education and training for executives of small, poised-for-growth companies that are potential job creators.  This intensive executive entrepreneurship series includes nearly 100 hours of classroom time. It also provides opportunities for small business owners to work with experienced coaches and mentors, attend workshops, and develop connections with their peers, local leaders, and the financial community.

Since its inception in 2008, the SBA’s Emerging Leaders Initiative has trained over 5,000 small business owners, creating over 6,500 jobs, generating over $300 million in new financing, and securing over $3.16 billion in government contracts.

Given the success of SBA’s Emerging Leaders, the SBA has expanded the initiative to include 60 locations to help growing entrepreneurs in emerging markets.

2021 Locations

AL, Birmingham

AL, Mobile

AR, Little Rock

AZ, Phoenix

CA, Fresno

CA, Irvine

CA, Los Angeles

CA, Sacramento

CO, Denver

DC, Washington

FL, Miami

FL, Orlando*

GA, Atlanta

HI, Honolulu

ID, Boise

IL, Chicago

IN, Indianapolis

KS, Wichita

MA, Springfield*

MD, Baltimore

ME (Portland), Brunswick

MI, Detroit

MI, Grand Rapids*

MN, Minneapolis

MO, St. Louis

NC, Charlotte

ND, Fargo

NJ, Newark

NV, Las Vegas

NY, New York City

NY, Syracuse

OH, Columbus

OH, Dayton*

OH, Youngstown

OK, Oklahoma City

PA, Philadelphia

PA, Pittsburgh

PR, Ponce

PR, San Juan

SC, Charleston

TN, Memphis

TX, Austin/San Antonio

TX, Dallas

TX, El Paso*

TX, Greater Houston

TX, Houston

TX, Weslaco

UT, Salt Lake City

VT, Williston

WA, Spokane

WI, Milwaukee

WV, Fairmont*

*New for 2020/2021


Program results? Here’s the link to view the national Impact Report of the program:

WHAT:  Learn About SBA’s Emerging Leaders StreetWise MBA Program

WHEN: Friday, March 5, 2021 from 12:00 – 1:00 PM

WHERE: Online (webinar)

RSVP: Click HERE  (no cost)

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