Northeast Times

“Business boot camp” survivor

Port Rich­mond busi­ness own­er takes part in a free small busi­ness pro­gram that will help grow his con­struc­tion busi­ness

Lu­is Tor­rado of Tor­rado Con­struc­tion in Port Rich­mond. PHOTO COUR­TESY OF Com­munity Col­lege of Phil­adelphia

With the second wind of the po­lar vor­tex on its way to the East Coast this week, Lu­is Tor­rado of Tor­rado Con­struc­tion will be in Las Ve­gas at­tend­ing a weeklong con­struc­tion con­fer­ence called “World of Con­crete.”

Tor­rado is al­ways look­ing for ways to im­prove his busi­ness. He com­pleted the Gold­man Sachs 10,000 Small Busi­nesses pro­gram on Jan. 11. 

The pro­gram, which took place at Com­munity Col­lege of Phil­adelphia, offered free en­tre­pren­eur­i­al courses over the course of four months. Tor­rado took classes such as ac­count­ing, hu­man re­sources and risk as­sess­ment.

Gold­man Sachs holds classes like these all over the coun­try. In ad­di­tion to Phil­adelphia, the pro­gram is also act­ive in New Or­leans, Salt Lake City and Los Angeles.

Each class was not only aca­dem­ic­ally stim­u­lat­ing and en­rich­ing, but also left Tor­rado strug­gling to catch his breath, he said. 

“It was like busi­ness boot camp,” he said. “I left the first class ex­hausted with everything I’d learned.”

Tor­rado said his ex­per­i­ence with the pro­gram helped him look at the big­ger pic­ture re­gard­ing his busi­ness. 

“I fo­cus more on work­ing ‘on’ my busi­ness rather than ‘in’ my busi­ness,” he said. 

His busi­ness is loc­ated on E. Thompson Street in Port Rich­mond and has been around for al­most two dec­ades. Tor­rado Con­struc­tion has worked on pro­jects throughout the city, in­clud­ing the Shane Vic­torino Nicetown Boys and Girls Club. Cur­rently, the com­pany is help­ing to work on a con­struc­tion pro­ject in Cen­ter City’s Dilworth Plaza, Tor­rado said. 

The com­pany tries to pull many of its re­sources for their pro­jects from the Port Rich­mond com­munity, he said.

Classes were taught by Com­munity Col­lege of Phil­adelphia staff and fea­tured a cur­riculum de­veloped by Bab­son Col­lege in Mas­sachu­setts, ac­cord­ing to a press re­lease. In ad­di­tion to classes, par­ti­cipants were also offered work­shops and per­son­al busi­ness ad­vising from Gold­man Sachs pro­fes­sion­als. 

Tor­rado com­men­ded the pro­fess­ors who taught in the pro­gram. All had a spe­cial­ized know­ledge of their field, which he said was one of the pro­gram’s strong points. 

A wide vari­ety of par­ti­cipants who worked in fields ran­ging from fit­ness and well­ness to of­fice sup­ply and fast food took part in the pro­gram. Tor­rado said it was help­ful to be able to learn from each oth­er as well as from the pro­gram in­struct­ors. 

“It was nice to be able to col­lab­or­ate with new people, as well as some people I already knew,” he said.

The biggest takeaway from the pro­gram, he said, was learn­ing how to grow his com­pany in the fu­ture.

“The pro­gram def­in­itely put thoughts and ideas in my mind about the busi­ness that I’d nev­er con­sidered be­fore,” he said.

Gold­man Sachs is host­ing this pro­gram again in the com­ing months. The ap­plic­a­tion dead­line is for the next class is Feb. 10. Those in­ter­ested can ap­ply on­line by vis­it­ing ccp.edu/busi­ness-and-in­dustry/gold­man-sachs-10000-small-busi­nesses-pro­gram.

You can reach at cdifiore@bsmphilly.com.

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