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Filling the Market Gap in Entrepreneurial Education

Written by Alexandra Edelstein, ICIC

“One of the best ways to help entrepreneurs scale their businesses and target new market opportunities is through increased entrepreneurial education,” notes former U.S. SBA Administrator Karen Mills. “Just as we need an emphasis on science, technology, engineering and mathematics, there are specific skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur.”
Whether a small business is in early-stage development or has existed f or a number of years, connecting the owner with relevant support services can be a game-changer. Small businesses are the true job creators in the U.S., but they must be in a position to grow in order to add jobs.
Unfortunately, there is a real gap in the market when it comes to innovative programs focused on providing a small business “growth intervention.” There are accelerators and incubators dedicated to startups and professional consultants available to large, well-resourced firms. While Small Business Development Centers offer some support services, small business owners are often challenged to find
relevant resources that are comprehensive, practical, and affordable.
One program that is dedicated to filling this gap and unlocking the potential of small businesses across the United States is Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses. A $500 million commitment by Goldman Sachs and the Goldman Sachs Foundation, this program is, “designed to help business owners build and implement a plan to grow their business by increasing their revenues and spurring new job creation.”
ICIC is a national partner on the program, supporting participant outreach, recruitment, and selection across the program’s twelve locations. Babson College, ranked #1 in graduate Entrepreneurship Education twenty years running, developed the 10,000 Small Businesses curriculum.
In their 2014 Progress Report, “Stimulating Small Business Growth,” Babson College noted that 44.8% of
10,000 Small Businesses participants added new jobs within just six months of graduating from the three to four month program. To put this into perspective, in the 12 months between July 2012 and July 2013,
this entrepreneurship education program were able to create jobs at a much higher rate than the national average in half the time.
The 10,000 Small Businesses curriculum covers everything from identifying growth opportunities and negotiating as a leader, to learning how to hire and retain top talent. In addition to attending professional workshops, business owners in the program build a powerful network of professional support and receive one-on-one business advising as they work towards completing a strategic and customized growth plan.
As we look to build our nation’s economy, we must realize the critical need to support the businesses that employ our citizens and fuel local economic development. How can we do more to help these small businesses grow? If the impact the 10,000 Small Businesses program has had in its first four years is any
indicator, investing in the practical education that America’ s businesses need to get out of survival mode and into growth mode is a good place to start.
The Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program is currently delivered in 11 local cities around the country. The national model of the program, open to business owners from all 50 states, is currently accepting applications for its upcoming Fall 2014 class. To learn more and apply, please visit www.10ksbapply.com or email 10ksb@icic.org.

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