Are you serious about growing your business? If so, you might consider a program called Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses (known as 10KSB to its friends). According to the Goldman Sachs website, 10KSB  “partners with select Community Development Financial Institutions to provide loans to small businesses in various locations throughout the United States. Through these partnerships, loans are available to qualifying small businesses that lack access to affordable capital or may not qualify for traditional sources of credit.”

But this program is much more than just a way to get loans.  It includes a free intensive 12-week course, designed by Babson College, that participant Christy Nelson describes as a mini MBA for business owners. She says the course is “designed to help entrepreneurs develop an actionable growth plan and understand the bones of business by studying topics like financial statements, marketing, and negotiation. The program is free and is run by top business professionals and academics.” 

The 10KSM program is a philanthropic initiative launched by Goldman Sachs and the Goldman Sachs Foundation in 2009. Goldman Sachs itself dates back to New York in 1869, and today the investment bank is just shy of being the world’s 100th most valuable company.

Goldman Sac’s original goal of 10,000 small businesses has already been met. Some 12,800 companies have now taken part in 10KSB, which is offered in every state and U.S. territories as well as the UK and France. There are local education programs in 19 locations across the country, many in conjunction with community colleges. Businesses are enrolled as part of a cohort, and alumni of the program often form a supportive community for each other.  The impressive statistics for the program are shown on the Goldman Sachs infographic page.

While only 8% of the participating businesses are in retail (professional and business services make up the largest percentage), your store may be eligible.  Requirements include being the owner or or co-owner of a small business in operation for at least two years, and with revenues over $75,000 in the most recent fiscal year. You will need to be able to take time to participate in the learning sessions and out-of-class activities, and be willing to create a business growth plan.

If this sounds like something that might benefit your store, consider filling in the application on the 10,000 Small Businesses site.  Who wouldn’t be proud to be part of a program whose participants create jobs, and show consistent revenue growth in their businesses?

Happy retailing, 

Carol “Orange” Schroeder