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SBA Certifies 31 'Emerging Leaders' As Next Top Companies In The Region

EDC President & CEO Jim Coleman (3rd from left) with John Huggins, Prince George's County Emerging Leaders Instructor and the 2016 Washington D.C. Metro Area Small Business Administration Emerging Leaders graduates from Prince George's CountyWashington, D.C., November 10, 2016 - Yesterday, 31 local entrepreneurs were given the unique opportunity to graduate from the Washington DC Metro Area Small Business Administration (SBA) Emerging Leaders program.  This enterprising seven month program consisted of two Emerging Leaders classes for 2016; one in Prince George's County, Maryland and one in Fairfax County, Virginia. The Prince George's County Economic Development Corporation and the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority served as co-sponsors and host sites for this year's classes.  The Prince George's County class was comprised of sixteen companies; 12 were from Prince George's County, and the remaining four came from D.C. or Montgomery County.  The remaining 15 companies were from the Fairfax area.
 
"I challenged these graduates to think past their bottom lines and to think about their legacies," said EDC President and CEO Jim Coleman.  "The information and the expertise they received from this program mean nothing if they do not pay it forward to help their communities thrive.  There is no better social program to uplift a community than a good, high-wage job; and that is just what these CEO's have to offer. The EDC is delighted to be a part of the SBA's Emerging Leaders program and we look forward to a great partnership to mutually benefit everyone." 
 
The SBA Emerging Leaders Initiative is a federal training initiative that specifically focuses on executives of businesses poised for growth in historically challenged communities.  The initiative provides local executives with the organizational framework, resource network and motivation to build sustainable businesses and promote economic development in urban communities. By being situated so close to the hub of government contracting activity, with this new certification, these local companies are uniquely situated to take advantage of the $460 billion the government spends each year.
 
Now in its third year, the Washington DC Metro Area SBA Emerging Leaders program has been touted by current and former graduates as the best thing they have ever done for their businesses.  The business executives were challenged to learn more about the 'business of business' by examining and setting goals for their business, updating their growth plans, and learning how to market and sell the business, identify real customers, and how to properly hire people.  One of the most important components of the class was understanding financing.  Executives learned the finer points of financing and revenues, understanding the right questions to ask and who to ask for help when it is needed.  Their final project was to present a growth plan based on what they learned in the program to a panel of industry experts.  Executives who did not finish the growth plan could not graduate from the program.
 
"It is important for every business to participate in a program like 'Emerging Leaders' to gain 'business knowledge' if they are interested in building sustainable operations," said John Huggins, President of Last Mile Broadband and Prince George's County Emerging Leaders instructor. "I believe in the value of programs that give businesses that 'business knowledge' which most of them are missing.  Building a sustainable business or establishing legacy wealth is simply a dream without increasing your business knowledge. Companies must make the time to understand business so that they can continue to grow and create legacy wealth."
 
For more information on starting or growing small business, contact Kisha Logan, EDC Small Business Development Manager at 301-583-4650 or kvlogan@co.pg.md.us.