Launched on the mainland in 2008, the SBA’s Emerging Leaders Initiative delivers entrepreneurship education and training focused on small, poised-for-growth companies that are potential job creators. Over the years, Emerging Leaders has been a catalyst for expanding opportunities in underserved communities, training more than 3,000 promising small business owners since its inception.
Its impact continues to grow, as its graduates have reported that nearly 70 percent of them have achieved revenue growth and over 80 percent have created new jobs or retained all existing jobs. They have also secured more than $1 billion in government contracts and accessed $73 million in new financing.
“We are thrilled to bring this premier training series to the Virgin Islands and hope that it is the first of many, so that we may continue providing small business owners with the tools they need to expand their companies and help stimulate the local economy,” said SBA District Director Yvette T. Collazo.
“The companies we recruited for this inaugural class represent the islands of St. Croix and St. Thomas as well as diverse business sectors, from fiber optics, lab testing, insurance, sales and finances to manufacturing, event equipment rental, restaurants and hospitality,” Collazo said.
The following 13 businesses have been competitively selected for the Virgin Islands Emerging Leaders Class of 2017 to be held on St. Croix: Un Amore; Legacy Restaurants dba Chop & Grill; Netwave Unlimited Services Inc.; Inter-Ocean Insurance Agency; Southern Seas Inc. dba Big Beards; Premium Finance Company, Caribbean Ltd.; Scoops and Brew LLC; Eddie’s Glass Services; Arawak Bay: The Inn at Slat River; Select Temp Staffing; Ocean Systems Laboratory Inc.; Ethlyn Tuitt-Mills, CPA PC; and Sound Solutions Inc.
Over the next seven months, participants will work with an instructor and subject-matter experts, and develop connections with other business owners and community leaders. Upon graduation, the participants will exit the program with a strategic growth plan and an action plan for their business, developed by using the knowledge, skills and techniques they have honed in class.
The V.I. Small Business Development Center (VISBDC) has joined the SBA as cosponsor for the training series. To learn more about the program, visit www.sba.gov/emergingleaders.