N.J. SBA recruiting for Emerging Leaders class

Al Titone is retiring from the SBA. (File photo)

The U.S. Small Business Administration New Jersey district office announced it is looking for candidates for its fifth Emerging Leaders class, an executive-level entrepreneurship training program for small business owners throughout New Jersey.

According to Al Titone, SBA New Jersey district director, the seven-month series starts April 3 and will be held at the Rutgers Business School in Newark. The program is free for participants, but requires approximately 100 hours of classroom time per student. In addition to the training, participants will be given the opportunity to work with mentors, attend workshops and develop connections.

“The Emerging Leaders Initiative advanced training series is open to small business owners and executives who have annual revenues of at least $400,000; have been in business for at least three years; and have at least one employee, other than self,” Titone said. “Between now and March 9, we are looking for the 17 most qualified small business owners who meet this criteria, are committed to the program and on the cusp of taking their businesses to the next level.”

Titone said that, over the past four years, participants in the program have come from all over the state.

“When we interview potential candidates to become part of the Emerging Leaders class, we’re looking for a small business owner to make a significant time commitment and who has the desire to grow their business significantly,” Titone said. “In exchange, we are offering small business owners the chance to earn what is essentially a mini-MBA. We have seen over 60 students go through this program in New Jersey and each of them has improved their business processes as a result of being enrolled in the Emerging Leaders program.”

This program, according to Titone, is available in 60 cities throughout the U.S. The initiative, which as been around for 11 years, has trained more than 5,000 small business owners, created over 6,500 jobs, generated $300 million in new financing and helped small business owners secure $316 billion in government contracts.

“Over time, the Emerging Leaders initiative has been a catalyst for expanding opportunities for underserved communities,” Titone said. “We are excited about recruiting and interviewing candidates for our fifth class here in Newark.  Our primary goal is to get inner-city small business owners, who are poised for next-stage growth, and provide them with the necessary support, resources and skills to help them to achieve long-term success.”

In New Jersey, Rutgers University’s Center for Urban Entrepreneurship & Economic Development, Financial Resources Federal Credit Union, Greater Newark Enterprises Corp., M&T Bank, the New Jersey Business & Industry Association, New Jersey Small Business Development Centers and The 504 Co. are sponsoring this year’s program.

To apply to the program, click here. For the online application, click here.