Story by Laurie Winslow found on TulsaWorld.com
Last year, Stone Mill Inc. doubled its sales and hired more employees.

Susan Spring, co-owner of the Bixby-based business that manufactures concrete products that look and feel like natural stone, attributes a special program offered through the U.S. Small Business Administration with helping the company develop a three-year strategic growth plan that already has yielded tangible results.

“I would highly recommend the program. … Any small-business owner should jump at the chance to take that class,” she said.

Tulsa is one of 10 Native American communities that has been selected again as a site for the 2012 e200/Emerging Leaders training initiative, which helps urban small-business owners and Native American communities sustain and grow their businesses. Seventeen other urban markets also will be participating in the program

The eight-month program includes about 100 hours of classroom time per participant and provides the opportunity for small-business owners to work with experienced mentors, attend workshops and develop connections with their peers, city leaders and financial communities.

“It’s been over a year since graduating from the 2010 e200 class,” Spring said. “Since last year, we’ve doubled our sales, hired one full-time employee and three part-time employees and started an installation crew that we have been able to keep employed throughout the year.”

Last year’s sales totaled…

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