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The first Utah class graduated from the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program on May 22. Participating business owners were chosen last November after an in-depth application and interviewing process with national representatives from Goldman Sachs, Babson College and Salt Lake Community College, where the program is held.
Collectively, the Salt Lake City group represents a gamut of industries, with 32 business owners including doctors, engineers, manufacturers, construction contractors, retailers, online food companies and technology suppliers. They have produced 90 new jobs, developed strategic growth plans and expanded their business opportunities in various ways.
"This program has provided amazing mentors, advisors and resources," says Cathy Slusher, president of C&S Creative Services. “In my 26 years doing business, never has anyone taken the time and care to reach out and share guarded information and emotional support as I try to grow my business."
Slusher gained support and motivation from the group, after her advertising agency lost nearly half of its client base after the housing bubble burst. “I’m diversifying and broadening my client base, and the connections I’ve made through this program have already resulted in increased sales for my company,” she said.
“The program gave me the encouragement to think bigger and combat my growing competition,” said Nikki Keye, owner of Park City Pizza Company. Keye recently purchased a pizza catering truck to increase exposure and expand her marketshare.
For Brad Hart, founder and CFO of Peak Transportation and co-founder of Red Bicycle Breadworks, the program was a great experience to learn and apply new practices to help manage and grow his businesses. “My main focus was on a growth plan for Peak Transportation, but I really enjoyed being part of this elite group of small business owners and the network we now share,” he said.
So far, about 1,100 small business owners have graduated from the program, which began in New York City in 2010 and is now in 10 other cities, including Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles and London. A Goldman Sachs official said the financial firm generally commits to five years in each city. A preliminary survey of some of the graduates indicates an average 70 percent increase in revenues and 50 percent increase in new jobs.
“Our final class was filled with relief, exhaustion, hope and joy, as students, teachers and sponsors of the program came together with heartfelt gratitude for the incredible opportunities it created,” said Slusher. “I highly recommend the program for any small-business person who is passionate, open minded and motivated for success.”
Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses is part of a $5 million initiative to unlock the growth and job-creation potential of small businesses across the United States by providing them with greater access to business education, financial capital and business support services.
The next Salt Lake constituency begins in August. For information about the upcoming August program, visit http://slcc10ksb.com/">Slcc10ksb.com.