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Jacksonville Selected for SBA Emerging 200 Initiative

This just in from the Florida Times-Union!

A federal program designed to assist small businesses in the inner city is coming to Jacksonville in 2009.

The U.S. Small Business Administration announced Tuesday that Jacksonville is one of five new cities being added to the Emerging 200 initiative. The other cities are Detroit, Dallas, Denver and Portland.
They will join 10 cities that were part of the program when it was started in 2007.
Small Business Administration spokesman Dennis Byrne said 20 small businesses in each city will be invited to participate in the program each year. The program involves about 80 hours of classroom instruction for the businesses selected. The goal is to take existing small business to the next level, he said.

The goal of the SBA Emerging 200 initiative is to identify 200 inner-city businesses across the country that show a high potential for growth—and to provide them the network, resources and motivation required to build a sustainable business of size and scale within a designated inner-city geographic location. SBA is increasing outreach to areas historically challenged by high levels of unemployment and poverty. Bolstering entrepreneurial success in these areas will generate new jobs, attract investment, and provide a more sustainable economic base in distressed areas.
Current efforts also include a program to improve access to credit to small businesses located in rural areas.

The SBA Emerging 200 initiative will enable the participating small businesses to engage in an intensive curriculum focused on developing a winning, expansion strategy for their business, including options for capital access and contracting. Participants also will have the opportunity to work with experienced mentors, attend workshops and develop connections with their peers, city leaders, and financial community.
To participate in the program, small businesses must be in business for at least three years and have a gross revenue of $400,000 or more.

Business owners are taught growth strategies, long range planning, finding new revenue streams, government contracting and developing new means of mentorship under the program.Details of how to apply for the Jacksonville program are not finalized but SBA officials hope to have the businesses selected in the spring of 2009.
More information on the program can be found at: http://www.sba.gov/e200, or contact the UNF SBDC at 904-620-2476.
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