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The U.S. Small Business Administration has launched Emerging 200 Initiative, a program designed to get entrepreneurs to the next level of success. It is based on the notion that when fledgling businesses get past the initial grit, inspiration and funding from family, friends and personal credit cards, they sometimes hit a wall.
Sales may plateau or even decline, unless the company chief can acquire the skills and savvy (not to mention the capital) needed for expansion. The SBA program is being rolled out in 11 cities. They are Philadelphia, Boston, New Orleans, Baltimore, Chicago, Atlanta, Milwaukee, Memphis, Des Moines, Albuquerque and Oakland, CA.
All of the chosen cities have 40,000 or more inner-city jobs and low or negative compound annual growth from 1998 to 2005. "We're looking for companies that have gotten through the launch phase, people who have gotten to that critical point," Steven Preston, the top administrator for the SBA, told a group of people in Philadelphia who represent various area organizations involved with business development.
The program will provide 80 hours of training in marketing, planning, finance and government contracting. It will also include a mentorship component.
To qualify, companies need to have been in business for three years, have annual revenue of about $400,000, and be willing to commit their top executive, the owner, founder, president, chief executive or CFO, to 80 hours of training.
SBA will finance the training with $400,000 split among the cities. That's about $36,000 a city to pay for 80 hours of training for 20 businesses. The SBA expects local business development organizations to provide mentoring and other kinds of assistance.
The SBA is now recruiting businesses to participate in the program. At the same time, it is seeking bids from organizations that can provide the training. The training will include information on growth strategies and accessing capital.
For more information, visit www.sba.gov
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