DENVER - Business leaders in the Boulder Valley can apply to participate in a free, seven-month training program put on by the Small Business Administration.

Participants in the Emerging Leaders Initiative program can learn how to write business development plans, how to go after new financing and how to apply for government contracts. Participants will be chosen by Small Business Administration workers in Denver. Classes will be held in Denver.

To be eligible, applicants must be presidents or chief executive officers of their companies. The companies must have annual revenue of at least $400,000 and must have been in business for at least three years. Applicants must have at least one employee other than themselves.

Applications are due by Friday, March 21. Register online at http://www.interise.org/sbaemergingleaders. Finalists will be notified by Tuesday, April 1. The program includes 13 classroom sessions, which are scheduled to start in mid-April and end in November.

In 2012, graduates of the program nationwide reported an overall 65 percent increase in revenue, with $700,000 as the average increased revenue amount, according to statistics posted on the Small Business Administration website. More than 90 percent of the applicants accepted to the program are people of color, women, immigrants, or people who operate a business in a lower-income community, according to the SBA website.