One by one, 61 entrepreneurs took to the stage at St. Andrews Hall at Wayne State University, where they were greeted with a standing ovation from relatives, friends and colleagues.
This was the second graduation of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Initiative in Detroit, more intimate than the first, which included a long list of top business leaders, including billionaire Warren Buffett.
But, the mood this morning was just as uplifting.
“There is momentum building in this great city,” said Wayne State University President Roy Wilson. “It’s happening right now. You can feel it and see it. Opportunity, will and creativity are converging in Detroit, and entrepreneurs are at the heart of it. Programs like this one that support small businesses are fueling this reinvention. and are our top priority. “
The $ 500 million Goldman Sachs program is designed to help entrepreneurs increase their incomes and create jobs. The program started in 2010 and has expanded to 26 cities. The goal is to train at least 10,000 entrepreneurs. Goldman’s commitment to the Detroit program is $ 15 million.
The program provides participants with training courses, mentors and access to loans.
Some of the graduates said the program – although only lasted four months – resembled an executive master’s degree in business administration.
âIt’s like an MBA on steroids,â said Shaniece Bennett, 37, of Accutrak Consulting.
Throughout Thursday’s ceremony, speaker after speaker touted the program – and Detroit – and the power of small business, as well as the opportunity to work together to transform Michigan.
National program director Katherine Colsher said Detroit’s program was his favorite and praised it for having graduates who, on the whole, outperformed the program in other cities.
US Representative Debbie Dingell, D-Dearborn, highlighted the importance of small businesses to the state’s economy.
“The continued revitalization of Detroit and Michigan will be built on the growth and innovation of small businesses,” she said. “The people behind me represent the future of Detroit and Michigan.”
And Raahul Reddy, one of the graduates who spoke, said the program participants each have their own stories, but “what binds us together is this unwavering determination to boldly face challenges and s ‘flourish on behalf of family and community’.
Reddy, owner of educational software company Carter, Reddy & Associates, urged his classmates to be agents of change and assert the public good.
âIf we do,â he said, âwhen the world reads the Detroit story, which we helped write, it won’t just be the story of the phoenix rising from the ashes of decay; but, moreover, the legend of this phoenix. hovering in the midst of the flames of fate. “
Contact Frank Witsil: 313-222-5022 or email@example.com
10,000 small businesses
What: The $ 500 million Goldman Sachs program is designed to help entrepreneurs increase their incomes and create jobs. offers participants training courses, mentors and access to loans.
Investment in Detroit: $ 15 million
Site to apply: www.10ksbapply.com.
Eligibility: You must be a small business owner, have been in business for at least two years, and have income of more than $ 150,000 in the most recent fiscal year.