HOUSTON - Mayor Annise Parker today announced that Houston has been selected to join the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses initiative. The initiative, already in place in several other cities, comes with a $20 million commitment to provide loans to help local small businesses and $5 million in program and capacity-building grants to local partner organizations. Additional grants will be provided to subsidize business education for current small business owners.
“Small businesses play a vital role in job creation for our city’s economy,” said Mayor Parker. “However, due to the lack of a support network, they often struggle more than their larger competitors and lose out on opportunities to grow and create more jobs. The Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses initiative will have a real effect on the owners of these businesses, the working Houstonians whose livelihoods depend on them and our overall economy. It can help keep more of our local dollars here at home.”
“Goldman Sachs has a long-standing partnership with the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and we are proud that our national president, Javier Palomarez, sits on the national Advisory Council for 10,000 Small Businesses,” said Laura Murillo, President of the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. “The Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce will work to identify and recruit high potential small business owners, while we spearhead the delivery of business advising and support services, including holding topical economic development and capital clinics for local small business owners.”
Mayor Parker is convening a number of local organizations to manage the program in Houston. Houston Community College (HCC) will provide business basics at the classroom level and the Greater Houston Partnership (GHP) will help facilitate access to lending within the community. The University of Houston Small Business Development Center Network will provide technical assistance to small business owners applying for loans and will be the key organization to package the financial assistance.
The Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (HHCC) and Houston Minority Supplier Development Council (HMSDC) will host clinics focusing on the most pressing economic development issues for local small businesses.
“Houston plays a vital economic role in the United States,” said Lloyd C. Blankfein, Chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs. “At its heart is a community of thousands of small business owners who, through 10,000 Small Businesses, will be able to access new resources from local and national experts to help them grow.”
The 10,000 Small Businesses initiative will offer the following assistance:
· Business and Management Education: Small business owners will have access to a practical business education developed in partnership with Babson College, one of the nation’s leading schools for entrepreneurs, and delivered by HCC, one of the nation’s largest community colleges. Small business owners will develop a business growth plan to help them increase revenues and hire new employees. Classes are free to business owners accepted through a competitive application process. Applications are currently available online. Classes will begin on May 13.
· Access to Capital: Goldman Sachs is committing $20 million of lending capital to Houston area small businesses. The loans will be managed and distributed by regional and national Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) loan funds. These CDFIs will partner with local organizations to award the loans and build future lending capacity in Houston. CDFI loan funds provide loans and technical assistance to businesses that often cannot access traditional sources of capital and are partners in 10,000 Small Businesses nationwide.
· Business Support Services: Business advice, technical assistance and networking will be offered to participating small business owners through partnerships with the community colleges and national and local business organizations, as well as the people of Goldman Sachs.
“Houston Community College has a history of partnering with the local business community and promoting entrepreneurship and we are proud to continue this by participating in the 10,000 Small Businesses initiative,” said HCC Chancellor Mary Spangler. “The participants of the program will receive an education that will help them access resources and grow their businesses.”
“The Greater Houston Partnership is pleased to be a part of Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Small Businesses initiative,” said GHP President and CEO Jeff Moseley. “The program’s focus to take emerging small businesses and elevate them to next level will create jobs and paychecks to grow the Houston economy and secure our region’s prosperity for the future.”
“Every month hundreds of small business owners come through our doors. Many of them come in for help accessing the financing they need to expand or sustain their business,” said Roberta Skebo, Director of Business Services at the University of Houston Small Business Development Center. “Through 10,000 Small Businesses, we will help local business owners understand their financing needs, identify the right potential lender, and put together their loan application.”
“Minority-owned businesses are the fastest growing within our community, and this program will help them realize their full potential,” said Dick Huebner President of the Houston Minority Supplier Development Council. “We will work closely with Houston Community College to hold procurement and certification clinics for local small business owners and work closely to identify and recruit high-potential small business owners.”
10,000 Small Businesses is a $500 million initiative that will unlock the growth and job-creation potential of 10,000 small businesses across the United States through greater access to business education, financial capital and business support services. It is based on the broadly held view of leading experts that a combination of education, capital and support services best addresses the barriers to growth for small businesses. In addition to Houston, it is now operating in New Orleans, New York, and the Greater Los Angeles area and will continue to expand to communities across the country.
Strategy and guidance is provided by the 10,000 Small Businesses Advisory Council, chaired by Lloyd Blankfein, Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett and Harvard Business School Professor Dr. Michael Porter.
10,000 Small Businesses is modeled on the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women initiative, which creates partnerships between academic institutions and non-profit entities to provide a business and management education to women around the world. 10,000 Women is currently operating in 22 countries, where it is helping women entrepreneurs create jobs and growth in their communities.
Who Should Apply
The program is designed for owners of small businesses with limited financial resources, and with few opportunities to otherwise access a business education designed to enhance small business success. Broad characteristics of business owners targeted to participate include, but are not limited to: ownership or co-ownership of a business; business revenues between $150,000 and $4 million in 2010; business in operation for at least two years; at least four employees; operations in economically underserved areas; and a business model that could scale to create more jobs.