Insights on the inaugural Chicago program from three cohort members as told to the Women’s Business Development Center’s (WBDC) Bethany Hartley
“Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses is a $500 million national investment to help small businesses in the United States create jobs and economic growth by providing entrepreneurs with a practical business education, access to capital and business support services.” – Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Greater Chicago Fact Sheet.
With sixteen years in business, Total Event Resources has established itself as a WBE certified, award winning meeting and event production agency providing services throughout the nation. Kathy Miller, president of Total Event Resources, heard about the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program at the WBDC 25th Anniversary Entrepreneurial Woman’s Conference.
“It was at the September WBDC conference that I was introduced to the 10,000 Small Businesses Initiative through Mayor Emanuel’s speech, then watching the video and finally walking the trade show floor where I believe the stars aligned. A woman that was in the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses booth promoting the program stopped me as I was walking through the trade show to ask me if I knew anything about this program, to which my reply was, ‘Yes, as a matter of fact, I just heard the Mayor talk about it and saw the video, it sounds intriguing.’”
Kathy explains highlights of the program in detail:
“We meet as our full class, and we have a small group within that class. It is extremely interactive and engaging – this is not a lecture hall where we sit and take notes. We are fully engaged in rolling up our sleeves and working together and sometimes independently on our business. No two sessions have been the same, there have been some amazing business professionals that have been brought to us in the form of a panel discussion and the involvement of Goldman Sachs, the City Colleges of Chicago, Babson College, the Mayor’s Office, the 10,000 Small Businesses Partners and the local business community.”
In February 2009, Navjot Bajwa started Ocean Mist Inc., a certified WBE/MBE/DBE trucking company operating throughout the Chicagoland area. The Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program has been most beneficial in preparations for the future of her company.
“This program is preparing me to take my company to the next level and giving me skills, tools, resources and strategies for that. It has all the tools you need to grow your business.”
Navjot has taken away financial guidance and much more to use beyond the classroom.
“We are participants in the program with the same dreams and challenges. Everybody is very helpful and concerned and I found a supportive group of friends through this program. The best thing I like about the sessions is you never get bored or tired and every session gives you so much confidence!”
Joanna Sobran is president of MXOTech, a six year old WBE certified company that focuses on offering expertise in both application development and network system design and management. Joanna provided insight into the 10,000 Small Businesses initial session in our January AWB article and has continued to share her experience so far. Like Kathy and Navjot, Joanna also has taken away important financial guidance:
“Understanding the financials better has been instrumental to ask the right questions of myself and my team. This has already changed many aspects of our business and given us focus on services that are more profitable.”
Words of advice for those thinking about applying:
“The Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program is an amazing opportunity to help a small and even mid-size business owner realize focus and vision for their business. Whether you have been in business for a long time and need a face lift or are just starting out, this is a terrific program. You will learn about sales, marketing, finance, being ‘bankable’ and possessing true leadership skills. Best of all, you will met many amazing entrepreneurs where you can share your stories and exchange ideas to help you grow.”
Kathy echoes Joanna’s advice on applying to the program:
“Apply, don’t procrastinate, it is one of the best business decisions I have ever made! Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses has made a huge investment in the future of small businesses and the 10,000 Small Businesses Initiative is an incredible program.”
If you’re looking for this type of intensive, interactive and practical business education, we encourage you to apply for the next Chicago cohort of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program. Applications are being accepted now.