Close this search box.

Get our email updates

Stay up-to-date on the companies, people and issues that impact businesses in Syracuse, Central New York and beyond.


SBA begins recruitment for this year’s Emerging Leaders program class

SBA BannerSYRACUSE, N.Y. — The Syracuse district office of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) on Monday started the local recruitment effort for the next class of its Emerging Leaders program, which is in its seventh year.

The SBA calls the Emerging Leaders initiative a “free business-training program for Syracuse small businesses.”

“Just because it’s free, though, doesn’t mean it’s easy,” Bernard J. Paprocki, director of the SBA Syracuse district office, stressed in his remarks at a Monday morning event in downtown Syracuse.


The seven-month, “intensive,” executive-entrepreneurship education series includes about 100 hours of classroom time per participant.

“We’ll be accepting between 15 and 20 businesses into the program this year, and the individual accepted from the company has to agree to attend all 13 sessions,” said Paprocki.

The program is “equivalent” to a master’s-degree level training, he contended.

“At the end of seven months, our participants will have acquired a new habit of working on their business, not working in their business, taking a look at what they’re doing from outside and being removed from the day-to-day operations, so to speak,” he added.

Participants will produce a strategic-growth plan for their company.

“The curriculum gives small-business owners an opportunity to gain knowledge and experience through a combination of three things: executive education, practical tips based on real-life business experiences, and advice from other business leaders that can be readily applied,” said Paprocki.

It also provides small-business owners the chance to work with experienced mentors, attend workshops, and develop connections with their peers, city leaders, and financial communities.

Paprocki and U.S. Rep. John Katko (R–Camillus) hosted the SBA event at Café Kubal, Creekwalk Commons Café at 324 Water St. in Syracuse. Café Kubal is a local coffee-roasting company that operates six cafés.

Café Kubal founder and CEO Matt Godard graduated from the Emerging Leaders program in 2014.



To be eligible for the Emerging Leaders program, a business must be at least three years old; have at least one employee, other than the owner; and generate annual revenue between $400,000 and $10 million.

“And most importantly, [the participant must] be an individual whose willing to take their business to the next level,” said Paprocki.

The SBA has scheduled the program to begin April 26 at the Syracuse Technology Garden and will conclude with graduation in November.

The 13 classes are scheduled every other week during the seven-month program. They’re scheduled in the evening between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. The lone exception is the first class on April 26, which will last four hours, Paprocki said.

Since 2008, the SBA Emerging Leaders program has helped more than 3,000 small-business owners in 51 cities across the country grow their businesses with support, resources, and skills to succeed, the agency said.

With the 2016 class, 95 Central New York entrepreneurs have completed the program since it launched in Syracuse.


Contact Reinhardt at


PHOTO CAPTION: A banner from the Syracuse district office of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), as seen Monday morning at the Café Kubal location at 324 Water St. in Syracuse. The SBA has launched the local recruitment for the seventh year of its Emerging Leaders initiative, which the agency describes as a “free business training program for Syracuse small businesses.” (Eric Reinhardt / BJNN)


Get our email updates

Stay up-to-date on the companies, people and issues that impact businesses in Syracuse, Central New York and beyond.