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Dawn Golik

published on March 12, 2019 - 1:39 PM
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Since 2011, the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Emerging Leaders training program has taught 100 San Joaquin Valley companies how to go from good to great — teaching them the skills needed to increase profits, find new customers and improve their sales.

The SBA’s Fresno District Office is looking for 20 local entrepreneurs who are ready to grow their companies with the Emerging Leaders program. The seven month “SBA MBA” starting next month allows entrepreneurs work in their business while we help them also work on their business, learning the skills needed to make their companies more successful.  

The SBA’s 2019 Fresno Emerging Leaders class is currently accepting applications from San Joaquin Valley small businesses who are ready to move their business to the next level. The SBA wants Emerging Leader applicants reflecting the diversity in this region’s small business community: newer entrepreneurs and more seasoned ones; men and women; and companies representing a wide variety of industries. Applications are accepted at this link until March 29: https://www.interise.org/sbaemergingleaders  

Applicants should be in business three years or longer, show annual revenue of $250,000 or more and have at least one employee in addition to the owner. SBA can only accept one owner per firm, and applicants should be the company’s CEO, COO, CFO, or President. After reviewing all the applications, SBA will select the 20 most qualified entrepreneurs. Similar training programs cost thousands of dollars, but Fresno’s Emerging Leaders program is free for the business owners SBA chooses to participate.

Starting April 10, the 2019 Emerging Leaders’ Fresno cohort will meet every other Wednesday from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. at the SBA’s beautiful downtown Fresno office with free parking. In classes spread over seven months, entrepreneurs will receive over 100 hours of top quality training, education, and mentoring from an instructor with national non-profit agency Interise.

They will be assigned to a “CEO Group,” a small cohort of other Emerging Leaders participants who meet twice a month outside the class. The program culminates with each owner developing a Three Year Strategic Growth Plan they present to a panel of experts in October, at the last class. This document becomes their long term blueprint for sustained business growth and expansion.

The Emerging Leaders program is a catalyst for economic opportunities — nearly 70% of program graduates from around the country report revenue growth and over 80% create new jobs or retain all existing jobs.  Entrepreneurs who complete the program have secured over $700 million in federal, state, local and tribal contracts.

The U. S. Small Business Administration selected Fresno for Emerging Leaders because of the strong, diverse small business community. Last year, SBA guaranteed nearly $92 million in loans in Fresno County, underscoring the growth and expansion in our local economy. Additionally, there is a robust network of SBA supported partners assisting Fresno entrepreneurs, including the Small Business Development Center, and SCORE.

Emerging Leaders gives San Joaquin Valley small businesses the information, support, resources, and connections they need to increase profits, find new customers, and grow their sales.

The Small Business Administration is looking for the next group of San Joaquin Valley entrepreneurs who are ready to make a commitment to work on their business while still working in their business. The Emerging Leaders “SBA MBA” program gives our region’s small businesses the skills they need to go from good… to great.


Dawn Golik is Director of the Fresno SBA District Office serving small business owners from 15 counties in California’s San Joaquin Valley and Central Coast.


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