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Goldman Sachs’ “10,000 Small Businesses” Program Spurs Economic Growth

Stacy M. Brown | NNPA News Wire | 7/11/2016, 11:47 a.m.
In 2010, Goldman Sachs launched the “10,000 Small Businesses” program to help business owners unlock their potential for growth and ...
GS1 Alumni from the Goldman Sachs “10,000 Small Businesses” gather at a recent program in Philadelphia with city officials and a top Goldman Sachs executive. (Goldman Sachs)

In 2010, Goldman Sachs launched the “10,000 Small Businesses” program to help business owners unlock their potential for growth and job creation by providing greater access to business education, financial capital and support services.

Six years later, the $500 million initiative continues to empower small business owners – from startups to seasoned companies – with the tools they need to achieve higher levels of success.

In December, NAACP National President and CEO Cornell William Brooks announced that his organization would join the initiative and utilize the NAACP's network of 2,200 local chapters and state conferences to help inform and recruit small business owners to join the program, which provides intensive specialized business management courses for applicants and opportunities to access capital.

“Small businesses are the lifeblood of every neighborhood and community,” Brooks said in a news release. “Supporting their growth and ability to thrive will only strengthen the communities in which those businesses call home and provide much-needed economic opportunity to the existing and future employees of those businesses.”

In getting the word out about the program to local communities, Moin said they always partner with local and national entities like the NAACP and the National Urban League, particularly where the membership is primarily African-American.

“It's important to partner with these organizations…they are the community ambassadors,” she said. “I can show up in a market and the small business owners are not going to know me, but they may know someone from the NAACP or the Urban League.”

The program is based on the broadly held view of leading experts that greater access to this combination of education, capital and support services is the best way to address barriers to growth.

“The easiest way to describe the program is that it's a practical hands-on business education on your business,” said Sonia Moin, program manager at Boston-based Initiative for a Competitive Inner City – or ICIC, which has partnered with Goldman Sachs on the “10,000 Small Businesses” program. “In the room, the small business owners learn from other business owners who are facing similar challenges including growth opportunities, access to capital and [hiring practices].”

Moin said that the program curriculum, designed by Babson College, one of the top entrepreneurship colleges in the country, enables participants to immediately apply the lessons they've learned that day in a real world business environment.

The “10,000 Small Businesses” program is currently operating in Cleveland, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York City, Philadelphia, Rhode Island, and Salt Lake City.

Approximately 62 percent of small businesses in the United States have four or fewer employees and the Goldman Sachs initiative offers enormous and largely untapped potential in creating new jobs and generating economic development, according to a recent report titled “The State of Small Business in America” by Babson College.

“We all benefit if we are able to foster a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem that best supports ongoing small business growth and job creation in America,” Babson College President Kerry Healey said in a statement. “Public and private sectors must work together to support small businesses, which comprise 99 percent of all U.S. employer firms and which account for more than half of the private sector's net new jobs over the past two decades.”