Agency offers ‘Mini-MBA’ training, first for Valley

HARLINGEN — A Small Business Administration leadership program is for the first time being offered in the Rio Grande Valley.

The Emerging Leaders Initiative, which debuted in 2008, provides “no cost” intensive entrepreneurship education and training to small business owners and executives in emerging market areas.

The course consists of 100 hours of classroom time as well as opportunities to work with experienced coaches and mentors, plus develop connections with their peers, local leaders and the financial community.

Emerging Leaders is aimed at small business owners and executives in South Texas markets.

“Nationwide the Emerging Leaders program has a proven track record of growing small businesses so we are pleased to have it expanded to the Lower Rio Grande Valley District,” said Angela Burton, SBA district director in the Lower Rio Grande Valley.

“Graduates of the program have increased their revenue, created jobs and helped drive local economic growth in their communities.

“This Mini-MBA training is exciting as it affords an opportunity for small business owners to work on their business instead of in their business,” she added.

“Too often small business owners are caught up in the day-to-day operations and don’t build and plan for the future.”

The SBA’s Emerging Leaders Initiative has trained over 5,000 small business owners, creating over 6,500 jobs, generating over $300 million in new financing and securing over $3.16 billion in government contracts, the SBA says.

The Rio Grande Valley course is part of an expansion to 60 new locations.

Over seven months, participants are given the opportunity to work with experienced mentors, attend specialized workshops and develop connections with their peers, city leaders, and the financial community.

Recruitment for the Emerging Leaders Initiative occurs on an annual basis, beginning in February and classes typically begin in April. The Initiative incorporates a curriculum that is research-based and nationally scalable, enabling participating businesses to engage in focused development and expansion strategies, including options for accessing new capital and securing government contracts.

Recruitment for the 2019 training cohort is ongoing as classes will begin in the spring at the Center for Innovation and Commercialization in Weslaco. Seating is limited.

Who’s eligible?

• Business generates revenues between $250,000 and $10 million

• Has been in business for at least three years

• Has at least one employee besides the executive participant

• Can attend 13 workshops and seven mentoring sessions, (about 100 hours)

• Completes required coursework.

More info

For more information on the eligibility criteria and/or to apply go to

or call Angela Burton at 956-427-8533, Ext 231 or email