By JOHN PITT
Economic Development Consulting
Logistic Specialties Inc.
According to the most recent Small Business Administration report (which frankly, isn't all that recent) more than half a million small business opened in America in 2009. Regrettably, 100,000 more than that closed their doors the same year. While it’s true that 2009 was the height of the current recession, the number of small businesses that open is traditionally only slightly more than the number of small businesses that close in even the best year.
That same SBA report provides several reasons why so many small businesses close. The reason at the top of the list is insufficient planning. The second reason is insufficient operating funds. Fortunately there is a plentiful new source of substantial help on the way for Utah small business owners to overcome both of those insufficiencies.
This unexpected source of help for Utah small businesses is none other than the New York monetary monolith Goldman Sachs. Its "10,000 Small Businesses Initiative" is a $500 million pledge to provide training, capital, and ongoing business services to small business across America ... 10,000 small businesses, to be exact.
Goldman Sachs is operating the 10K Small Businesses program through Community Colleges in Chicago, Cleveland, Houston, Long Beach, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York and Salt Lake City. While Salt Lake City does not have the same urban-density as the other cities, Goldman Sachs was anxious to open a program here because it employs more people in Utah than in any other state, except New York. Salt Lake City is home to the company's second largest office.
The initiative will ultimately contribute $15 million to Salt Lake-area small businesses to create jobs and develop new market opportunities. Salt Lake Community College will conduct the training element of the initiative, beginning early next year with a comprehensive series of small business management classes and clinics.
Interested business owners can apply for the 11-session course online at www.slcc10ksb.com. There is no fee to apply or to participate; however, enrollment is limited and expected to be highly competitive.
Businesses must meet the following criteria to be eligible:
• Have been in operation for at least two years
• Have revenues between $150,000 and $4 million in the most recent fiscal year.
• Have a minimum of four employees.
In addition, participating business owners must:
• Commit an additional 6–8 hours per week of out-of-class activities to work on your business, including completing assignments, attending networking events and business support clinics
• Develop a tailored plan for growth prior to graduation
The graduation rate from this program has been higher than 90 percent in other cities that are running the program, according to Karen Gunn, Dean of Professional and Economic Development at SLCC. Small businesses interested in the Goldman Sachs courses, business services, or loans available to graduating companies are invited to attend an information session in Room 102 of the UVU Business Resource Center in Orem from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 28.
Goldman Sachs and its Utah partners hope that many of the 10,000 small businesses helped by this program will be in business (and stay in business) in Davis County.