Susan Leger-Ferraro awarded U.S. Small Business Administration’s 2010 Massachusetts Women in Business Champion award

Susan Leger-Ferraro, founder and president of Little Sprouts early childhood education schools, consisting of  11 locations in Massachusetts,  has been named the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 2010  Massachusetts Women in Business Champion award winner, according to an announcement made by Robert H. Nelson, Massachusetts SBA District Director.  Ms. Leger-Ferraro was nominated for this award by Joe Bevilacqua, president of the Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce.

The Women in Business Champion award is presented annually to an individual or individuals who have fulfilled a commitment to the advancement of women’s business ownership.

This award will give Susan the opportunity to influence President Obama’s agenda on small business development and early childhood education.

“Susan Leger-Ferraro exemplifies the talent, business savvy and vision required to be a recognized leader in Massachusetts,” said SBA Director Nelson.  “This award affirms her hard work on behalf of women-owned businesses and women and children in general.”

“It is an honor to receive such an acknowledgement from the United States Small Business Administration”, replied Ms. Leger-Ferraro, “for work that has improved the lives of so many.  The 2010 Massachusetts Women in Business Champion award will bring the light of awareness to all the human and civil rights initiatives we have championed for so many years.”

Susan is founder and champion to several award winning businesses.

Little Sprouts Inc. has received the prestigious 10 MM US Dept. of Education Early Reading First Preschools Centers of Excellence Award 3 times.  It is the only for profit Early Education School in the nation to receive this national recognition. Little Sprouts schools are accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children; a status obtained by less than 8% of early-education schools.

Imajine That, founded in 2004 by Susan, is an interactive, indoor educational play space. Imajine That partners with WGBH’s Award Winning PBS series Between The Lions, Peep in the Big Wide World and FUNdamentals of Music and Movement and offers workshops, birthday parties, parent support groups, play groups and exploratory fun for children of all ages and stages.  Imajine That was also voted the “2009 Favorite Indoor Play Space” by The Boston Parent’s Paper.

Susan is the President of the Leadership and Literacy Foundation which offers free, reduced consultant work for women and minorities in business seeking grants.  The Foundation also provides training on multiple organizational development topics.

Susan’s Leadership and Literacy Foundation creates leadership and entrepreneur opportunities for at-risk teens by way of Project STRIVE, Pathways and Connect. These projects, created in 1998, include a GED and leadership program for at-risk teens that have dropped out of high school in the greater Merrimack Valley. The teens that are chosen for the programs must meet low income, residency, and employment barriers and want to better themselves in all aspects of life

Susan also works with woman and minority business owners and designs business plans for them to ensure access to capital.  She is also a business partner of Next Street Financial which is a merchant bank that serves inner city small businesses countrywide that show potential for growth and success.   This partnership provides business owners with financial help and advice that enables them to achieve their goals.

Susan studied under the direction of Stephen Covey, Deepak Chopra and David Simon and is Facilitator Certified in the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and Creating Health and travels nationally to train people from all walks of life in these techniques. She has facilitated this training for businesses, high school students, business partners and sister schools of Little Sprouts.

Ms. Leger-Ferraro will be honored along with nine other small business award winners, at an awards luncheon in Worcester in the spring.