Amid a challenging economy, 105 Dallas area small business owners have a reason to celebrate.
This month, a group of locals graduated from Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Small Businesses, a leading education program that offers support services and critical capital access to growth-oriented entrepreneurs. The North Texas graduates participated in the Spring 2020, Fall 2020, and Spring 2021 (17, 18, and 19) cohorts—while at the same time fighting against COVID-19 to keep their lights on and turn their small business dreams into reality.
Click here to see the list of 105 10KSB graduates.
As Marc Veasey, U.S. Representative (TX-33), puts it: The entrepreneurs truly embody what it means to be Texas strong.
“There’s no one tougher and stronger than DFW small business owners,” Congressman Veasey says. “I’m thrilled that Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses came to North Texas to help our entrepreneurs reach new heights and I’m excited to see more Dallas-Fort Worth businesses grow through this incredible opportunity.“
Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses held a big-name graduation ceremony for participants on June 7 at the Coyote Drive-In-Theater. In attendance was Congressman Veasey, Goldman Sachs Chief Financial Officer Stephen Scherr, Dallas College Chancellor Joe May, and other notable community leaders.
They had a lot to commend the graduates for. Within the first six months of graduation, 67 percent of program alumni increased their revenues and 47 percent created new jobs within their businesses.
“Dallas continues to be one of the fastest-growing cities in the country. At the heart of that growth is a resilient and resourceful small business community that drives the local economy,” Scherr said at the ceremony. “Today, they graduate achieving just that.”The graduates in the Dallas cohort included a range of small business leaders, from established family-owned businesses to aspiring founders. To Chancellor May, it represented the array of entrepreneurs for which North Texas has become a burgeoning hub. Leaders from Goldman Sachs echo the sentiment.
About the program
Designed by Babson College, the nation’s leading entrepreneurship school, the free 10,000 Small Businesses program (10KSB) in total serves more than 10,000 businesses in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. Following the Dallas graduation, the program’s community is now 11,400 businesses strong.
Alumni collectively represent more than $14 billion in revenues and employ more than 200,000 people.
The program is built on linking learning to action. Small business owners gain practical skills they can immediately apply to their businesses, such as how to understand financial statements, negotiate successfully, strategically sell, hire and retain top talent, identify and evaluate innovation opportunities, and create and execute customized growth plans.
10,000 Small Businesses is an investment funded by Goldman Sachs and the Goldman Sachs Foundation. The multinational investment bank and financial services company wanted to assist entrepreneurs in generating economic opportunities by providing broader access to education, capital, and business support services.
In total, 10KSB has a 98 percent graduation rate, with 86 percent of alumni working together later to make for a lasting marketplace.
Dallas College 10KSB partnership
Dallas College is one of twenty sites nationally to offer the best-in-class 10,000 Small Businesses (it’s currently accepting applications for its Fall cohort through June 17). At the graduation, Chancellor May said he looked forward to many years of the partnership.
10KSB has remained active in Dallas over the years. In 2014, Goldman Sachs and the Goldman Sachs Foundation committed $20 million to support small businesses in the North Texas area, and more than 540 small businesses have been served via the program’s partnership with Dallas College.
In general, local eligible businesses have annual revenues above $75,000, been in operation for two-plus years, have over two full-time employees, and a desire to grow.
“There’s no better place to see the future of small businesses than in Dallas, Texas,” he said. “Today’s graduation is a celebration of the growing talent our city has to offer and we’re looking forward to our continued partnership with Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses to help foster that growth.”
Inside Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses graduation
At the graduation ceremony, a representative from each cohort spoke: Victoria Thomas of JourneyFit (Cohort 17), Christie Moore of Mansfield Funeral Home (Cohort 18), and Kate Winsor of Cadence Studios (Cohort 19). Cohort 20 is currently in progress with 35 small business owner scholars.
“Over these last few months, COVID-19 has challenged small businesses like my own across the state” Winsor said at the ceremony. “I have seen firsthand the immense impact of this program, and I am fortunate to have gained a peer network, vital resources, and the tools necessary to continue to keep our doors open.”
Two other cities—Baltimore and Cleveland—held simultaneous ceremonies at drive-in movie theaters on June 7. That meant more than 300 business owners who completed the program over the last year were recognized on the same night.
In each city, the event had two components; a roundtable conversation with select program graduates, which allowed guests to hear about small business owners’ experiences, and the graduation ceremony that recognized 10KSB alumni and local partners.
Also discussed were the findings from 10KSB’s recent research report.
Survey says: Adaptation is going to be key to survival
10,000 Small Businesses surveyed more than 2,500 program participants to understand what is needed for an inclusive and durable recovery of small businesses, especially post-pandemic.
What they found was economic optimism— small businesses expect a return to normalcy, but adaptation is going to be key to survival.
The biggest roadblock to recovery is access to capital, per the survey.
Around 35 percent of business owners want to take on more debt, but more than half say they aren’t confident it would be approved.
Still, more than 75 percent of respondents believe the economy in 2021 will be better than it was during the pandemic, with 70 percent already seeing operations returning to normal.
In response to COVID-19, over 95 percent of respondents had to pivot or adapt their business model, with some 50 percent launching new products or services. Talent plays a large part in executing those strategies—more than 75 percent of respondents reported that “sales and marketing roles were very important for recovery and growth.”
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