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Nov 18 -- The Small Business Administration (SBA) invites comments to OMB by January 5, 2023 regarding the proposed evaluation of the SBA Emerging Leaders (EL) initiative. [Note: The 30-day comment period begins with SBA submission to OMB on December 6, 2022.]

The SBA Emerging Leaders (EL) initiative was designed to strengthen and grow existing local entrepreneur communities in historically distressed cities. The key goals of the program are to (1) increase small business growth and survival, and (2) promote economic growth in distressed communities by providing employment opportunities as well as necessary goods and services. To achieve these goals, the program offers executives of high-growth small businesses a five-month executive leader education series, free of charge, that provide the networks, resources, and knowledge required to promote a sustainable business growth, create jobs, and contribute to the economic well-being of local communities. In 2022, the program was revamped under the new name, T.H.R.I.V.E. Emerging Leaders Reimagined. The revised program provides training that customizes content for small businesses' unique needs, increases accessibility through a virtual component, and specifically promotes business ecosystem connections among business owners, government agencies, and the financial community. This information collection is necessary for SBA to understand the progress made by the T.H.R.I.V.E. program toward achieving its goals. [T.H.R.I.V.E. stands for Train. Hope. Rise. Innovate. Venture. Elevate - an executive-level training series designed to accelerate the growth of high-potential small businesses across the United States]

The evaluation will be used to track participants' business growth, to provide guidance to the program training contractor on areas for additional assistance, and to increase SBA's understanding of the program outcome trends. This evaluation aims to examine the program participants' business growth outcomes including revenue, profits, job creation, and business survival. The evaluation also describes the population of program participants—their businesses, business management practices, experiences with the program, and satisfaction with and perceived effectiveness of the program. Over the previous years, the evaluation results have helped to track the program performance outcomes and provide suggestions for program improvements to better facilitate small business growth. The results are also expected to provide suggestions for improving future evaluations.

The following surveys are conducted with the program participants: (1) the application form before the program enrollment, (2) the intake survey before the training, (3) the module feedback form during the training, (4) the feedback survey right after the graduation, and (5) the follow-up survey annually up to three years after graduation. The application form examines the eligibility status of the enrollees, obtains their contact information, and asks for their business goals. The data from the Intake survey is used to determine baseline levels of business outcomes, the use of management practices, and the extent to which the target population for the program is reached. The module feedback form assesses the participants' experience with each of the eight modules of the training program. The feedback survey is used to measure participant satisfaction with the training activities and to suggest training adjustments, if necessary. The annual follow-up survey tracks changes in the small business owner's management practices and business outcomes for three years after graduation from the program. The data collection covers four cohorts of program participants. The given year participants complete the application form, intake survey, module feedback, and feedback survey. The three cohorts of participants who graduated from the program one, two, and three years prior complete the follow-up survey.

T.H.R.I.V.E. Emerging Leaders Reimagined: https://www.sba.gov/sba-learning-platform/thrive-emerging-leaders-reimagined
SBA submission to OMB: https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewICR?ref_nbr=202212-3245-001 Click on IC List for questionnaire, View Supporting Statement for technical documentation. Submit comments through this site.
FR notice inviting public comment: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2022-25193
For AEA members wishing to submit comments, "A Primer on How to Respond to Calls for Comment on Federal Data Collections" is available at https://www.aeaweb.org/content/file?id=5806

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