Business Owners Get the Lowdown on Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Small Businesses Initiative

The excitement in the room was palpable.

Some 40 women business owners crowded into the October 12 training session at the WBDC for insight into an exciting new program, the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses initiative. Presenters shared the details about the program and answered a gazillion questions from enthusiastic attendees.

The program – which is now available in six cities including Chicago – aims to help 10,000 small businesses grow to the next level. Goldman Sachs has made a $25 million investment in Chicago’s small business community through organizations like the WBDC and the City Colleges of Chicago.

Deadline for applications for the first group of business owner-participants is Wednesday, October 26.  Download the 40-question application at  Here are highlights of the information shared at the WBDC presentation.

  • The organizers are looking for business owners with “fire in their belly.”  While the educational part of the program (which starts January  6, 2012) is free, it does require a time commitment.  You should apply only if you, as the owner or business partner, are willing to commit to attend 11 pre-scheduled learning sessions. The commitment includes all the educational classes held at City Colleges of Chicago, plus six to eight hours a week outside of classroom activities such as assignments, networking events and business support clinics.
  • The curriculum, designed by Babson College, will provide practical skills you can use right away through a peer-learning environment with support from a team of business advisors. How cool is that?
  • The program will help prepare participants for a business loan.  While this is not a preparatory course for a business loan, the program includes specialized clinics around business financial and legal issues, and one goal of the program is to make you, the business owner, bankable. Again, passion is key. Participants must be on a growth track and have the ability to reach their goals.
  • If you’re accepted into the program, business advisors will visit your site and talk to you about all the resources you may need to grow the business, such as legal, operational and financial.  Now may be the time to do a little fall housecleaning.
  • Who should apply: Applicants should have been in business at least two years, have business revenues of between $150,000 and $4 million in the most recent fiscal year and have a minimum of four employees (there is some flexibility on the criteria, and you should contact the program if you have questions on your situation). Did we mention that passion is key?!

Want to know more? Check out the WBDC’s website or download the 40-question application at

Chris Ruys is President of Chris Ruys Communications, Inc. and a contributing author to the WBDC blog.


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Filed under Business Start-up, Established Business, Finance, Women Business Owner

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