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A Shot in the Arm

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In June, Goldman Sachs announced the 10,000 Small Businesses Initiative, which will give small business owners in the Los Angeles area a shot in the arm educationally and financially.

The program will provide underserved small business owners access to business education and ongoing business support services and will provide the possibility of capital.

Small business owners selected for the program will be invited to enroll into 10KSB business and management education classes at Los Angeles City College or in the Long Beach Community College District, with tuition paid by the program. At LACC and LBCCD, the 10,000 Small Businesses program includes 80 hours of business education, financial advice and business support services such as technical support and customized business advice.

“The Long Beach Community College District is thrilled and honored to have been selected as a partner with the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Initiative,” said LBCC President Eloy Ortiz Oakley. “Our college is committed to economic development and we are ready through this new partnership to further assist our local small businesses.”

A. Alex Davis, dean of economic development and workforce education and executive director of 10,000 Small Businesses at LACC, said that the school has reviewed applications from business owners who wish to be part of this program. “We have had an overwhelming response — over 60 applications for about 35 spots,” she said.

Applicants include owners of cleaning, travel, food service, apparel and solar panel installation companies. “All kinds of business are represented across the board,” Davis said.

Criteria used to recruit and select business owners for the program include, but are not limited to, operating a business for two or more years, and the business must earn between $150,000 and $4 million annually, must employ at least four full-time employees including the owner and must be poised for growth.

The classes are from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays from August to December, and business owners are required to spend six to eight hours a week on assignments, at networking events and in meetings with individual business advisors.

This is the first time LACC has worked directly with local business owners.

“This is the first business development-focused program LACC has operated that contributes resources to the growth of small businesses in the community,” Davis said. “LACC has worked with many other community entities — including the mayor’s office and the Hollywood and Los Angeles Chambers of Commerce — and LACC is sure the model will be successful.”

In addition to providing education and business support, $20 million in lending capital has also been set aside for Community Development Financial Institutions in Los Angeles County. CDFIs are financial institutions — banks, credit unions, venture capital funds — that provide loans for small business owners in underserved communities.

Goldman Sachs aims to continue the 10,000 Small Businesses program for five years. And what will success look like? “The criteria includes creation of additional jobs, growth of the companies — which could mean increasing employees or expanding the area of operation — and a positive impact on the area where the business operates,” Davis said.

— Mary Jane Horton, Special Advertising Sections Writer

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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