Paul Shim, senior associate and co-founder of the South Plainfield-based MFS Consulting Engineers, LLC, was recently one of 15 to graduate from the New Jersey Small Business Association’s (SBA) inaugural class of Emerging Leaders.

Launched earlier this year in New Jersey, SBA’s Emerging Leaders initiative is an intensive executive-level entrepreneurship-training program for small business owners. The initiative provides executives with the organizational framework, resource network and motivation required to build sustainable businesses and promote the economic development within urban communities. To be eligible, program participants were required to have annual revenues of at least $400,000; be in business for at least three years; and have at least one employee, other than self.

MFS Consulting Engineers, LLC, located on Hamilton Boulevard, is a multi-discipline, minority-owned certified engineering and design consulting firm. During the eight-month program – which ran from April to November – Shim logged a combination of 100 hours of work and evening/group class time to fulfill the program requirements.

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For Shim, who holds a masters degree in civil engineering, the Emerging Leaders program served as a mini-MBA crash course geared toward entrepreneurs and how to run a business. “I wanted to learn more about how to become a better leader and key factors to becoming a better entrepreneur,” Shim said. “I applied, interviewed and, a week later, found out I was accepted.”

According to Shim, the program focused on how, as a business owner, one should make plans and set goals and how to become a better leader. It was also geared toward providing the information and skills necessary to help businesses grow and maintain that growth over the next three to five years. “From the Emerging Leaders program I have developed my big vision for the company, which will be implemented over the course of the next five years,” said Shim, who noted that the timing couldn’t be better since MFS Consulting Engineers, LLC celebrated its 5th anniversary this past August.

 “Over time, we the believe that these first graduates of the New Jersey initiative will see increased revenues, create more jobs and help drive local economic growth in their communities,” SBA New Jersey District Director Al Titone, who delivered remarks at a Nov. 6 graduation ceremony held at the Rutgers University Business School in Newark where the program took place, said. “We will build on this success and provide even more entrepreneurs in underserved communities with the support, resources and skills to succeed.”

The United States Small Business Association’s Emerging Leaders initiative launched seven years ago and is currently present in 27 cities and communities across the country. To date, the program has trained more than 2,000 promising small business owners in underserved communities and continues to expand its impact of helping small businesses grow and create jobs.

The New Jersey Emerging Leaders program was co-sponsored by the African American Chamber of New Jersey, Brick City Economic Development Corporation, Greater Newark Enterprises Corporation, Morris County Hispanic-American Chamber of Commerce, New Jersey Business & Industry Association, New Jersey Small Business Development Center and the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce. In addition to South Plainfield, participants hailed from Camden, East Orange, Galloway, Garfield, Jersey City, Monmouth Junction, Mountainside, Newark, Orange, Paterson and Princeton.

For additional information about the Emerging Leaders program, contact Dominick Belfiore, SBA’s New Jersey Program Manager of Emerging Leaders, at (973) 645-3683 or email Dominick.Belfiore@sba.gov. For more information about MFS Consulting Engineers, LLC, visit www.MFSengineers.com.