In a Nov. 17 statement, the company said its "10,000 Small Businesses" program will provide greater greater access to business education, mentors, networks and financial capital. Credit unions could be a part of the effort as Goldman Sachs said it will invest $300 million through lending and philanthropic support to community development financial institutions. The investment will increase the amount of growth capital available to small businesses in underserved communities and expand the capacity of the CDFIs to deliver enhanced technical assistance to small businesses.
"The $300 million this program is investing in CDFIs will make a significant impact on CDFI financing for small businesses, particularly now," said Mark Pinsky, president/CEO of the Opportunity Finance Network, a network of CDFIs. "This is the largest single-source pool of capital dedicated to CDFI small business financing."
Goldman Sachs said it will also contribute $200 million for scholarships to partnerships between small businesses and local community colleges, universities and other institutions to study business education. Advice, technical assistance and networking will be offered to participating small business owners through partnerships with national and local business organizations and Goldman Sachs.
The first community college to participate will be LaGuardia Community College in Queens, New York, which houses a small business development center. Classes will begin in the spring of 2010. The first CDFI scheduled to receive financing from Goldman Sachs will be Seedco Financial Services Inc., New York. Loans to underserved businesses in the New York area are expected to commence in early 2010, according to the company.
The 10,000 Small Business program will have a 13-member advisory council co-chaired by billionaire Warren Buffet, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein and Michael Porter, a professor at Harvard Business School and founder/CEO of Initiative for a Competitive Inner City, a not-for-profit organization that promotes economic prosperity in inner cities. The five-year program is modeled after Goldman Sachs' 10,000 Women initiative, which is currently operating in 18 countries.