LaGuardia joins in Goldman Sachs biz initiative

LaGuardia Community College will be the first educational institution to reap the benefits of Goldman Sachs’ $500 million small business initiative.

Goldman Sachs recently announced that it would spend $500 million – with $200 million going to colleges and other educational partners and $300 million in loans and grants to small businesses – as part of its “10,000 Small Businesses” Initiative.

“This initiative will make it possible for LaGuardia to help create jobs,” said LaGuardia Community College President Gail Mellow. “With this innovative approach, we, and other community colleges will have the resources to provide small business owners with hands-on education, training and consulting that can help them build their businesses.”

The 10,000 Small Businesses initiative, which has been in development for the past five years and is modeled after Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Women initiative, is a five-year program that will aim to partner academic institutions with non-profit entities to provide practical business and management education to small business owners.

“The basic goal is to create a curriculum and have small businesses to understand the context of market place,” said Jane Schulman, Vice President of LaGuardia’s Division of adult and continuing education.

LaGuardia’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) has served more than 2,300 small businesses in the local economy and continues to see about 400 clients each year. This center has saved or created more than 994 jobs locally and assisted small businesses in obtaining $25 million in loans and grants, since it opened in 2001.

“This exciting partnership with Goldman Sachs will allow the Small Business Development Center to expand its reach to small business owners,” said Schulman, which oversees SBDC. “It will help them grow their businesses and create jobs, which, in turn, will strengthen neighborhoods around the city.”

According to Schulman, the project consists of three phases. In the first phase, customers will be able to design a curriculum for the business to grow. In the second phase, they will be able to work with mentors in Goldman Sachs. Finally, in the third phase, they will have access to capital to support that growth.

“Once the business grows, they will be able to hire more people,” said Schulman.

In addition, faculty from LaGuardia’s department of business and technology will participate in the program.

“We are very excited and look forward to working with entrepreneurs to grow their businesses and create jobs,” said Michael Napolitano, Chairperson of the department. “With the support of the team from Goldman Sachs, our faculty will work with local business owners to access new opportunities, develop sound business plans and secure needed capital.”


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