Exclusive: Goldman Sachs, Warren Buffet to Appear at Detroit’s Ford Field


As part of its 10,000 Small Businesses initiative, Goldman Sachs and Warren Buffet are expected to name Detroit as the 17th city to join the program. The effort provides participating small business owners with a variety of tools to grow their operations, including capital, mentorships, education, and networking. The announcement is scheduled for Nov. 26 at Ford Field.

Leslie Shribman, a Goldman Sachs spokeswoman, says Detroit has been selected, but declined to comment further until the event. As part of the initiative, accepted small business owners receive more than 100 hours of intensive training and advice from business experts and peers at Babson College in Massachusetts or from local partners in a given area. In Detroit, business owners accepted into the program will receive their training locally (the education partners will be announced on Nov. 26).

According to Goldman Sachs, 10,000 Small Businesses offers qualified business owners:

  • The opportunity to create a customized growth plan that includes financial management, people management, negotiations, and marketing.
  • One-on-one business counseling and a network of support from other small business owners as well as leaders in the business world.

While Detroit will be the latest city to join the initiative, Goldman Sachs rolled out portions of the $500-million program nationally in September. The 10,000 Small Businesses initiative and its various partners, whether regionally or nationally, will cover the costs.

“When you give small businesses owners the tools they need to grow their businesses, they create jobs and strengthen both the local and national economy,” said Lloyd C. Blankfein, chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs, in a statement announcing the national rollout. He is scheduled to appear in Detroit to make the declaration.

The program’s advisory council is co-chaired by Blankfein, Buffett, and Michael E. Porter, an author and a professor at the Harvard Business School. The National Urban League, U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and Babson College are also represented on the Advisory Council, among other groups.

The program is designed for small business owners with limited resources who have a business poised for growth. Business owners interested in applying must demonstrate a commitment to grow their operations and create jobs in their community. Businesses must be in operation for at least two years, have revenue of at least $150,000 in the most recent fiscal year, and have a minimum of four employees.

Across the United States, initial results show that just six months after graduation approximately 63 percent of participants reported an increase in revenue, 47 percent have reported creating net new jobs, and 76 percent are doing business with each other. The program has a 99 percent completion rate.

The program currently offers education and capital in Chicago, Cleveland, Houston, Long Beach, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, Miami, and Salt Lake City. Business owners based in, or near, one of the cities may be referred to the local program. Capital is also provided by local nonprofit lenders to businesses in Kentucky, Montana, Oregon, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington.

For more information on 10,000 Small Businesses, visit icic.org/10ksb.