Goldman Sachs Program Aims to Help Entrepreneurs Succeed

by Robert Moskowitz on May 10, 2013
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Looking for resources to grow and create jobs? Goldman Sachs may have just what you need.

A program called 10,000 Small Businesses aims to help entrepreneurs by providing them with greater access to education, financial capital, and business support services. It’s backed by a $500 million investment by the firm and its charitable foundation.

Here’s what you need to know to get your share.

Where It Operates

10,000 Small Businesses is open to U.S. companies that operate in Billings, Mont., Chicago, Cleveland, Houston, Long Beach, Calif., Los Angeles, Louisville, Ky., Philadelphia, New Orleans, New York, and Salt Lake City. The firm plans to roll out to additional cities in the near future.

What It Does

The program commits an unspecified amount — generally between $10 million and $25 million — per year for five years to supporting entrepreneurial endeavors in each city.

About 40 percent of the money goes to community colleges and business schools to pay for scholarships, faculty training, and technical assistance. The idea is to make sure that schools are better equipped to educate current and would-be small-business owners.

The program also helps fund 11 different educational modules, which are offered free of charge to business owners who attend the daylong programs. These modules cover such vital business topics as financial statements, hiring, marketing, and leadership.

The other 60 percent of the money funds loans and grants to nonprofit Community Development Financial Institutions and other lenders. The purpose is to increase the amount of growth capital available to small businesses and the ability of lenders to deliver technical assistance to borrowers.

The program also fosters partnerships between employees of Goldman Sachs and national and local business organizations, as well as professional services firms. The goal is to match small-business owners with mentors and to facilitate their networking opportunities and access to expert advice.

Who Can Benefit

More than 1,200 small businesses have participated in the program so far, and more than 99 percent of them have completed the training. So far, approximately 70 percent report increased revenues and 50 percent report enough growth to warrant hiring more people, according to Leslie Shribman, a spokeswoman for Goldman Sachs.

In the Los Angeles area, successful participants include Servando Orozco, co-owner of Orozco’s Auto Service, who went through the program at Long Beach City College, and Ronda Jackson, owner of Décor Interior Design, who went through the program at Los Angeles City College.

Want a piece of the pie? You must demonstrate:

  • Your business is poised for growth; and
  • You have a commitment to creating jobs in your community.

In addition, the program targets small businesses with:

  • At least two years of successful operations;
  • At least four full-time employees;
  • Annual revenues between $150,000 and $4 million; and
  • A base in an “economically disadvantaged” area.

It’s also helpful to have a business model that can scale to create more jobs, says Shribman.

10,000 Small Businesses tracks the performance of companies that receive its help with two key metrics: revenue growth and job creation. There are no penalties for failing to grow or hire people, but these benchmarks help administrators justify expenditures and make adjustments to increase the program’s effectiveness.

For more details or to apply, contact Shribman at Goldman Sachs.

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