From a Lodi woman-owned supplier of commercial and mil-spec fasteners and precision electronic hardware to a veteran-owned architect firm in Hopewell, 18 New Jersey small business owners graduated from the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Emerging Leaders program.
The eight month-long course sponsored by the SBA and Interise requires small business owners to log in a combination of 100 hours of work and evening class time. Newark, where the training was conducted, is one 48 cities across the country to host the SBA’s Emerging Leaders program.
“We couldn’t be happier with the results of our second Emerging Leaders class,” said SBA New Jersey District Director Al Titone, who delivered remarks at a recent graduation ceremony at the Rutgers University Business School, where the program took place. “We have had individuals come from all walks of life and parts of the state to participate in this year’s program. I applaud each participant’s commitment and desire to improve their businesses. This particular program put each business owner through the paces and pushed them to step outside their comfort zone and to take a look at their business model from another angle.”
According to SBA’s New Jersey Program Manager of Emerging Leaders Dominick Belfiore, participants had to have annual revenues of at least $400,000; have been in business for at least 3 years; and have at least one employee, other than self in order to participate in the program.
The 18 graduates, who participated in the program, came from the following New Jersey communities: Basking Ridge, Carteret, East Brunswick, Freehold, Hopewell, Irvington, Lawrenceville, Lodi, Newark, Piscataway, Princeton Junction, Rutherford, Sparta, West Caldwell, Westfield and Wyckoff.
Marcela Zuchovicki, the course instructor who led the class through the curricula set by the SBA said, “The SBA Emerging Leaders experience has given me great insight about the great work of the SBA and how this program is impacting a diverse group of small business owners that include women, minorities, and veterans. This was an incredible group of individuals who will all benefit in some way from this program. “
Completing its eighth year nationally, the Emerging Leaders initiative has trained more than 2,000 promising small business owners in underserved communities, and continues to expand its impact of helping small businesses grow and create jobs.
“One of my main goals going into this training was to focus on the expansion of our products, and services as well as the growth of our client base,” said Robin Lieberman, president of MF Supply of Lodi, a company that specializes in supplying commercial and mil-spec fasteners and precision electronic hardware to its customers. “The SBA Emerging Leaders program delivered on its promise to help me better define and leverage my firm’s assets, including our Women-Owned Small Business status and to develop a three year plan to grow my company.”
“Emerging Leaders has a proven track record nationally of helping small businesses in underserved communities,” said Titone. “We believe that each graduate from the New Jersey initiative will see increased revenues, create more jobs and help drive local economic growth in their communities. Going forward, the goal is to provide even more entrepreneurs in underserved communities with the support, resources and skills to succeed.”
“This program has provided me with invaluable insight and skillset that has truly benefited my company,” said Russell DiNardo, president of ThinkForm Architects of Hopewell. “The SBA Emerging Leaders program has allowed me the opportunity to focus on my business and create a formal, written, living document that is already being utilized for focused growth.”
The co-sponsors of the 2015 Emerging Leaders program were the Center for Urban Entrepreneurship & Economic Development (CUEED) at Rutgers University, Greater Newark Enterprise Corporation (GNEC), NJ Business and Industry Association (NJBIA), New Jersey Small Business Development Centers at Rutgers University, PNC Bank, Statewide