The Small Business Administration is offering a helping hand to 200 inner-city small-business owners with workshops, mentors and better access to capital.

The Emerging 200, which is set to launch in April, will include businesses from Boston, Atlanta, Milwaukee, and nine other cities across the country, the agency said.

The program will focus on helping owners develop better strategies for attracting capital from banks, private equity firms and other lenders.

"This innovative initiative is designed to accelerate the growth of companies that are poised for sustained expansion," SBA Administrator Steve Preston said in a statement. "Clearly, in inner-city communities throughout the country, it is the small businesses that are creating employment opportunities," he said.

According to the SBA Office of Advocacy, inner-city small businesses added nearly three times as many new jobs as bigger companies between 1995 and 2002.