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SBA Syracuse seeks small business “emerging leaders”

By Eric Reinhardt

Date:

It’s a free business-training program for Syracuse small-business owners who qualify

SYRACUSE — The Syracuse district office of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is accepting letters of interest through March 29 for the next class in its Emerging Leaders program.

 “We’re going to accept approximately 15 to 20 businesses this year into the class. The individual accepted has to agree to attend all 13 [classes],” Bernard J. Paprocki, executive director of the Syracuse district office of the U.S. Small Business Administration, said in the March 4 recruitment announcement. 

The Emerging Leaders program is a free business-training program for Syracuse small-businesses that qualify. 

Participants are “usually the owner or a key decision maker in the business,” Bernard J. Paprocki, executive director of the Syracuse district office of the U.S. Small Business Administration, said in his remarks. 

“The idea is to take your business to the next level,” said Paprocki. “This program is not for startups.”

Through the program, participants develop a three-year, “strategic growth action plan” for their company’s goals, the SBA said in a news release.

The SBA held the March 4 announcement at Mello Velo Bicycle Shop & Café at 790 Canal St. in Syracuse. Co-owner Sara Morris graduated from the Emerging Leaders program in 2014.

“To date, 130 [area] businesses have taken advantage of this program, including [Mello Velo],” Paprocki noted.

Interested small-business owners can find information on applying and eligibility criteria at www.sba.gov/ny/syracuse.

About the program

Paprocki called Emerging Leaders “a very intense program,” which includes 100 hours of classroom time with other CEOs.

“It gives you the opportunity to gain knowledge and experience through a combination of executive education, practical tips based on real-life business experience, and advice from business leaders that can be readily applied,” he said. 

Participants can work with experienced mentors; attend workshops; and develop connections with their peers, city leaders, and financial communities, the SBA said.

To be eligible, a business must be at least three years old, have at least one employee, other than the owner, and generate revenue between $250,000 and $10 million a year, said Paprocki. 

The program includes 13 classes, beginning April 23 at the Tech Garden in downtown Syracuse. Classes are held every other week through November. Class size is limited to one owner per business, the SBA said.

Since it launched in 2008, the SBA Emerging Leaders program has trained more than 5,000 small-business owners nationwide, creating more than 6,500 jobs, generating over $300 in new financing, and securing more than $3 billion in government contracts, the SBA says.           

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