Business owners in Newark, surrounding cities eligible for free SBA training

By Stacy Jones/The Star-Ledger
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on February 25, 2014

The U.S. Small Business Administration added Newark to a list of 27 cities and communities whose business owners are eligible to participate in its Emerging Leaders Initiative training program. In this photo Vonda McPherson of Vonda's Kitchen in Newark prepares a tray of appetizers.


NEWARK — The U.S. Small Business Administration today added Newark to a list of communities whose business owners are eligible to participate in the Emerging Leaders Initiative, a free, 7-month executive training program for business owners in underserved areas.

Today's announcement makes Newark the only New Jersey city currently eligible for the program. Although only Newark appears on the initiative's list by name, Al Titone, SBA's New Jersey District Director, said his office would accept applications from companies based in Jersey City or with a presence in East Orange, Elizabeth, Englewood, Hacksack, Irvington, Passaic, Paterson and Plainfield.

He also said the program is meant to elevate established companies, not help would-be entrepreneurs test the waters or assist young companies in getting established.

"This training is for established business owners only and is not intended for start-ups or people who are thinking about starting a business," Titone said in a press release.

To qualify for one of the 15 spots in the program, business owners must have an annual revenue of at least $400,000, have been in business for three years and have at least one employee other than themselves.

The program's curriculum includes 100 hours of classroom instruction, meetings with mentors, workshops and networking with city officials and financial executives.

"Over time, the Emerging Leaders Initiative has been a catalyst for expanding opportunities for underserved communities," Titone said. "We are excited about taking a proven formula and bringing it here to Newark."

Last year the program graduated just shy of 400 small business owners, the largest class since it began in 2008.

The SBA keeps the program free for participating entrepreneurs by partnering with local business organizations. In Newark that includes the African American Chamber of New Jersey, Brick City Economic Development Corporation, Greater Newark Enterprises Corporation, Morris County Hispanic-American Chamber of Commerce, New Jersey Business & Industry Association, New Jersey Small Business Development Center and the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce.

Fill out an application or contact Dominick Belfiore at the SBA's New Jersey district office at 973-645-3683 or by email.

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