While Goldman Sachs has found itself in plenty of hot investigative water recently, the investment bank has also contributed significantly to the development of small businesses via community colleges. Last year, Goldman Sachs announced the launch of 10,000 Small Business, a multi-million dollar initiative geared toward the creation and growth of small businesses across the country.
An Associated Press report published on Diverse Issues in Higher Education
last November stated that Goldman Sachs is teaming up with billionaire Warren Buffett to provide $5 million to support small business owners in a variety of ways. Of that amount, $3 million will go to increasing opportunities for financial capital, while $2 million will be earmarked for education and training. The advisory council for the 10,000 Small Businesses initiative will be co-chaired by Buffett, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein and Harvard Business School Professor Michael Porter.
According to the Goldman Sachs website
, Goldman Sachs is partnering with Warren Buffett, the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City and Community College Associations to provide for three factors that have been identified as the primary barriers to the growth of small business in the United States:
- Access to Financial Capital – Goldman Sachs will invest $300 million in a combination of lending and donations to Community Development Financial Institutions to increase the amount of growth capital available to small businesses.
- Business Education – Additional education and training will be available to business owners through a partnership between Goldman Sachs, local community colleges, universities and other educational institutions. Goldman Sachs has pledged $2 million for education efforts to be given to community colleges and other institutions committed to helping small business thrive in America through appropriate training and education.
- Networking and Mentoring Support – Goldman Sachs will work with local and national organizations to provide access to networking, advice and technical training for small business owners to help them grow their companies.
While all three of these factors are equally significant in the Goldman Sachs model, the business education facet is particularly powerful, especially due to its implementation through community colleges.
Since the launch of the 10,000 Small Businesses initiative, Goldman Sachs has selected LaGuardia Community College
in Long Island City to be the first institution to receive a portion of their funding and launch their pilot program. The NY Daily News
reports that LaGuardia was chosen in part because its "high academic standards and knowledge of the local community enable it to provide small businesses with a practical education that will help them grow."
LaGuardia President Gail Mellow said that the 10,000 Small Businesses initiative will "give entrepreneurs
the knowledge and tools they need to make their businesses stronger during these challenging times.”
The college is currently reviewing applications for 30 slots available for this program. Candidates must be business owners who have at least four full-time employees and annual revenue between $150,000 and $4 million.
Participants in the LaGuardia program will take business classes
in accounting and finance, and they will work with mentors from Goldman Sachs to learn how to boost their sales. The cost of all tuition and books will be covered by Goldman Sachs.
Small Business and the Economy
The 10,000 Small Businesses initiative was developed in response to information about the significant role small businesses play in the health of the nation's economy. A Goldman Sachs report showed that 2.2 million businesses in the United States are responsible for 45% of the employment in this country. Small businesses have also been responsible for generating 65% of the new jobs in the past decade.
Warren Buffett agrees with the importance of small businesses to the national economy. He states on the Goldman Sachs website, "Our recovery is dependent on hard-working business owners across America who will create the jobs that America needs." Buffett adds, "I am proud to be a part of this innovative program which provides greater access to know-how and capital – two ingredients critical to success."
Once the program is established at LaGuardia Community College
, Goldman Sachs has its sights set on expanding the program to other community colleges and institutions as well. The partnership between community colleges, small businesses
, and Goldman Sachs is synergistic indeed.