It has been nearly a year since Goldman Sachs announced its 10,000 Small Businesses initiative. Remember? The Wall Street firm promised to invest $500 million to help spur small-business growth. The move was seen as a grand public relations gesture to quell outrage over bonuses at the bailed-out bank as much as a commitment to helping fledgling entrepreneurs. Whatever the motivation, the news was welcome.
Goldman appears to be living up to its promise, but the bank has a long way to go before it reaches $500 million. So far, it has committed $40 million in lending capital and has made some grants to nonprofit lending institutions, including Valley Economic Development Center, or VEDC, in Los Angeles County. "Businesses are lining up," says VEDC president Roberto Barragan, who hopes to write 30 new loans for businesses with annual revenue ranging from $150,000 to $4 million.
Goldman is also working with community colleges, including LaGuardia Community College in New York City and Los Angeles City College, to offer free business training workshops for business owners. Now for the next $460 million or so.