Small Business Leadership Academy at Thunderbird School of Global Management

Small Business Leadership Academy

September 2019 | Downtown Phoenix, Arizona

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Small businesses play a key role in boosting our economy, creating jobs and positively impacting the community. Indeed, the world runs on small business. And while these companies play a significant part in the marketplace, they can face challenges larger businesses may not. 

Established in 2008 in partnership with Salt River Project, the SBLA program is tailored to the unique needs of small businesses. Designed to accommodate the busy schedules of business owners, it delivers the skills you need to stay competitive and propel your business forward. Since its inception, more than 130 small businesses have participated in the SBLA. 

Through the SBLA, you will: 
» Learn to anticipate and overcome the business challenges of today and tomorrow
» Enhance your business acumen
» Broaden your perspective
» Strengthen your leadership skills
» Stay competitive and propel your business forward

Program Elements

  • Scholarship-based program to remove the costs for the small business leader.
  • 9-week evening program comprised of one 4-hour session per week
  • Sessions led by a blend of  faculty and local industry partners
  • Sessions focused on building your leadership toolkit with topics including strategy, services innovation, leading people, leading organizational processes and an elective track led by our industry partners to provide lessons from the trenches



Join a select group of fellow small business leaders in a transformative learning experience to:

» Gain tangible tools to add to your toolbox
» Prototype a solution to a challenge you are having in your business
» Extend your network and exchange knowledge with high-value peers, colleagues, and facilitators
» Draw on best practices and experience from numerous industries
» Discover additional resources for continuing support

SBLA Program Schedule

Application Requirements

To qualify for an SBLA scholarship, you must:
» Be willing and able to attend all scheduled classes and related activities
» Own at least 50% of an established (past start-up phase) business that’s been in business for a minimum of 3 years
» Have revenue between $1 million and $10 million
» Have fewer than 100 employees

Application deadline is June 28, 2019



If your organization has initiatives focused on small business or diversity, you can meet your goals — and those of a deserving small business leader — by funding an SBLA scholarship. Contributions are tax-deductible.

There are two ways your organization can support the program:

Participant Scholarship - $3,500 per participant
Benefits include:

  • Hand-select scholarship recipient who meets application requirements
  • Attend graduation festivities and/or sit in on select sessions
  • Have your company logo included in all digital and print program collateral
  • Be featured with the scholarship recipient in all program material and on his or her Certificate of Completion

Program Elective Session - $cost?
Benefits Include:

  • Provide subject-matter expertise on a topic critical to small business leaders.
  • Invite additional attendees from your organizational network to add networking value to the small business leaders.
  • Develop sessions that promote engagement, allowing participants to practice the application of knowledge during the session (sample sessions are available upon request).



Thunderbird Executive Education
1-800-457-6959 US | +1 (602) 496-7053