SBA Launches Inner-City Initiative

The Small Business Administration on Tuesday announced that it has chosen 11 cities to participate in an initiative designed to stimulate jobs and growth while targeting inner-city small businesses.

The Emerging 200 plan will begin in: Albuquerque, N.M.; Atlanta; Baltimore; Boston; Chicago; Des Moines, Iowa; Memphis, Tenn.; Milwaukee, Wis.; New Orleans; Oakland, Calif.; and Philadelphia.

According to the SBA, research shows that small firms with fewer than 20 employees created 80 percent of the net new jobs in the economy between 1990 and 2003. The research also found that small businesses in inner cities added nearly three times the number of new jobs than larger companies between 1995 and 2002.

"This innovative initiative is designed to accelerate the growth of companies that are poised for sustained expansion," said SBA Administrator Steve Preston in a statement. "With the selection of these 11 cities, the Emerging 200 initiative will begin to prepare 200 high potential companies for their next phase of growth. It will attract and tap the power of these local entrepreneurs to transform their communities, grow wealth and increase the tax base in a real and lasting way."

The Emerging 200 initiative will have its official unveiling in each of the pilot cities at local launch events to be scheduled in late March and early April.

Separately, former SBA Administrator Hector Barreto recently signed on with ZANA Network as a member of its advisory board. The ZANA Network is a firm that offers online business development help to small and medium businesses.

Barreto also currently serves as chairman of the Latino Coalition, an umbrella organization for many Hispanic business advocacy groups, which he joined in April 2006.

"Small business is the fastest growing business segment of America, and the Hispanic community is the fasting growing segment of our population," said ZANA CEO Howard Keating. "Hector's experience as an entrepreneur, small business owner and leader in both private industry and public service will prove invaluable to ZANA Network members."

By Sharon McLoone |  March 12, 2008; 10:20 AM ET Data Points , Policymakers
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