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Small Business Administration calls on small business owners to take part in free business development program

Posted at 5:00 AM, Mar 04, 2019

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INDIANAPOLIS — The Small Business Administration of Indiana is looking for local companies that want to further develop their business by taking part in their Emerging Leaders program.

Only a little more than 60 percent of small businesses survive at least two years, and about half of those survive at least five years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Ila Mitchell, president of Mitchell & Sons HVAC, Inc. in Indianapolis, has been in business since 2009. It was not until a few years into owning his company that Mitchell realized he needed to work on his workflow.

"I had actually grown my business too fast," says Mitchell. "I had cash flow issues badly when I went into the program."

Mitchell is an IUPUI Kelley School of Business grad and says he thought he had the knowledge he needed to run his business. However, he signed up for the SBA's Emerging Leaders program to see if there was anything more he could do for his business.

"It actually turned everything around for me," explains Mitchell. "I was in the survival stage of my business. I had been working for years, for five or six years, however, I didn't know how to get the business to that next level."

The Emerging Leaders initiative provides free entrepreneurship education and training for executives of small companies that are potential job creators.

"They are going to walk out with a three to five year strategic business plan," explains Stacey Poynter, the District Director of the Indiana Small Business Administration. "We bring in all kinds of partners, that come in and provide free advice from legal type of advice to accounting advice and things about taking their business to the next level."

The program includes nearly 100 hours of classroom time over seven months, but it also provides opportunities for small business owners to work with experienced coaches and mentors, attend workshops, and develop connections with their peers, local leaders, and the financial community.

"It's all time that you are investing back into your business to grow your business," says Poynter. "It is an opportunity to get a street-wise MBA working on your business, for free."

The SBA program is a priceless tool for Mitchell and his business, as he plans to keep his HVAC and construction company going for decades through the leadership of his sons.

"Emerging Leaders is just a wonderful program," says Mitchell. They say it's like a mini-MBA. But the context and the people that you meet is probably more valuable than the information. So for me, it just changed everything. I don't know how I would have gotten here without having that experience, because I am not in survival anymore. I know we will continue to exist, now it is about being strategic and how you grow so that you know you, end up where you want to be."

The next set of classes start in April and the SBA is looking to fill the class with 20 small business owners that can commit one evening every other week for seven months.

Criteria to apply include:
-Have annual revenues of at least $250,000
-Have been in business for at least three years
-Have at least one employee, other than self

To apply go to the SBA or Interise websites.

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