The owners of established small businesses who want those businesses to grow can participate in an educational program that will put them on a path to fulfilling their entrepreneurial visions and help them with strategies to raise the capital they need.
Yep, there’s no charge for participating in the Goldman Sachs-sponsored “10,000 Small Businesses,” said Diana Lu, the program’s Philadelphia director of partnerships and outreach. The cost is in the commitment of time, Lu last week told members of the Greater Northeast Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce.
So, if time really is money, then, yes, there is some expense. The 11-week program requires 100 hours of classroom time and 16 hours a week dedicated to homework, Lu told chamber members gathered for a March 13 breakfast meeting at Community College of Philadelphia’s Townsend Road campus.
The program’s “no walk in the park,” said Chris Hess, coordinator of CCP’s Center for Small Business, Growth and Training. “You have to be committed.”
“You can’t miss a class,” Lu said.
The $500 million program, a public-private partnership, “will unlock the growth and job-creation potential of 10,000 small businesses across the United States through greater access to business education, financial capital and business support services,” Mayor Michael Nutter stated in a March 13 news release. “The program is based on the notion that greater access to this combination of education, capital and support services best addresses barriers to growth for small businesses.”
Lu likened 10,000 Small Businesses to an accelerated MBA program. She said the program has been introduced in several other cities. Philadelphia is the 12th, she said. The program always partners with a local community college. In Philly, that is Community College of Philadelphia at its Center for Business and Industry at 18th and Callowhill. So far, there are 2,000 graduates nationwide, with the target being 10,000.
Participants learn from business experts who will guide them with customized plans to expand their businesses. They’ll also make valuable business connections. And, again, it’s all free.
Lu said 64 percent of participants have reported increasing their revenues, 45 percent have reported creating net new jobs and 80 percent have worked or are working together with other program participants. The program maintains a 99-percent graduation rate nationwide. In Philly, it’s 100 percent, Lu said.
There have been three classes so far at CCP. Lu said the September classes are forming now.
Other than educating business owners, the program coaches participants in how to arrange finances.
Applications for the education component of the program can be downloaded at www.ccp.edu/10KSB
Applicants can call 267-299-5900.
“It will change your business and it will change your life,” said Varsovia Fernandez, president and CEO of the Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
The program isn’t for start-ups or one-person operations, Lu said. Participants must be in business at least two years and have at least a couple of employees.
One key part of expanding a business is getting the capital to do it, Lu said. The program will tip participants on how to pitch their plans to banks so they can secure the loans they need to grow. In Philly, the program is partnered with the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation. Call 215-496-8157 for information. ••