Do you know about the Small Business Administration’s Emerging 200 (e200) initiative? The program identifies 200 inner-city businesses across the country that show high-growth potential, and then gives them the resources and motivation they need to take their businesses to the next level.
The e200 initiative has been so successful that the SBA just announced plans to expand e200 in 2010. Twelve new communities, emphasizing those areas with Native American business owners, have been added to the 10 markets e200 currently serves.
For 2010, the e200 program will be offered in the following cities:
• Jacksonville, Florida
• Des Moines, Iowa
Native American Communities
• Gallup, New Mexico
• Portland, Oregon
• Oklahoma City
• Santa Ana, California
• New Orleans
The e200 initiative has fueled success for many of the entrepreneurs who have participated. According to SBA Administrator Karen Mills:
“Over the last few years e200 has been a catalyst for expanding opportunities for many promising small businesses in underserved communities , [particularly those that were] most impacted by these tough economic times. Graduates of the program have increased their revenues, created jobs and helped drive local economic growth in their communities. SBA’s commitment to not only continue, but expand the program, will build on this success and provide even more entrepreneurs in underserved communities with the support, resources and skills to succeed.”
So far, more than half of the businesses that have taken part in e200 have increased their revenues and nearly two-thirds have created new jobs. Entrepreneurs who complete the training have received more than $9 million in new financing, and have been awarded $1.3 million in government contracts.
This program isn’t for the faint of heart, however — it’s essentially a business boot camp. Participants have to commit to nine months of training, including some 100 hours of classroom time. As part of the program, they work with experienced mentors, attend workshops and network with other business owners, government leaders and financial resource providers in their communities
The 2009 e200 class will be graduating soon. Recruitment for the 2010 class starts in January.
Find out more about e200.
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About the Author: Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a content and consulting company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. A nationally known speaker and authority on entrepreneurship, Rieva has been covering America ‘s entrepreneurs for nearly 30 years. Follow her on Twitter @Rieva and visit SmallBizDaily to read more of her insights on small business.