Goldman Sachs launches program that commits $10 million to RI small businesses

By: Elisha Kay Aldrich

Governor Gina Raimondo is teaming up with Goldman Sachs to launch a new program that will dedicate $10 million to creating jobs and generating growth among small businesses across the state.

Called “10,000 Small Businesses,” the initiative will offer business and management education to small business owners, access to lending capital from Goldman Sachs, and business support services through partnerships with community and national organizations, and Goldman Sachs themselves. It is the first ever statewide launch of the program.

The Goldman Sachs Foundation will contribute $5 million towards business and management, and another $5 million to “address the capital needs of small businesses.” Right now, the initiative has reached over 6,000 businesses in the United States and the United Kingdom, with participants reporting that they have increased their revenue and added new jobs within the first six months after graduating the program.

“10,000 Small Businesses is a proven model for unlocking the growth and job-creation potential of small businesses,” said Raimondo. “We are thrilled Goldman Sachs is bringing this program to Rhode Island, providing a unique opportunity to help us move our state forward by strengthening our local businesses – the backbone of our economy.”

Gary Cohn, the President and COO of Goldman Sachs, also commented on how the bank plans to work with Rhode Islanders.

“With small business owners currently representing more than 80 percent of the state’s employers, we recognize that supporting the remarkable work that these entrepreneurs do every day contributes to economic growth and strengthens communities in the process,” he said.

Other political players across the state are lauding the program as well, including Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza, Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien, Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian, and others. They will assist with recruiting for the program within their cities.

According to a press release, the program will work with local organizations to encourage small businesses to apply for the education and capital components. They will also provide advising and design expertise to participants.

Eligible businesses should have revenues above $100,000; been in operations for at least two years; and employ at least two full time workers. Applications for the education component of the program are currently being accepted and can be downloaded at Classes are free to businesses owners once they are accepted. Capital will be provided by BDC Capital, which will use the capital to make loans to small businesses throughout Rhode Island. Those interested in the loan application process should contact BDC directly, as it is separate from application and acceptance into the education program.