Local business owners have a relatively new resource if they are looking to take their business beyond what they can do on their own.
Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Small Business program is a national program that came to Iowa in 2019 with the goal of helping small business owners accelerate their growth.
It is a 12-week curriculum-based program that focuses on practical business skills that can be applied by small business owners.
During the 12 weeks, business owners have the opportunity to network and learn from each other while receiving training from the program’s business advisors. After completing the program, business owners join a growing network of alumni across the state and country.
David Barwin, the coordinator of the business program and professor at Iowa Central Community College, has been the principal faculty of the program at Iowa colleges. He has recently been named a senior member of the program’s faculty nationally.
“Three years ago, Jim Kersten (vice president of Iowa Central) came to me and said that they were looking to bring this program to Iowa and they wanted to have it at the community college level. So I applied to be a faculty member and was accepted.” Barwin said.
Barwin then attended training at Babson University in Boston. She said it is the No. 1 business school in the country, part of the reason she was chosen by Goldman Sachs to write the curriculum.
“After the training, I just ran one of the modules for the first year”, Barwin said. “It’s about culture and hiring and preparing to hire the right people for the job. The program itself is designed to help business owners who have outgrown start-ups.”
Business owners go through all nine modules in 12 weeks.
Modules range from lessons on growing businesses to marketing and sales along with financial lessons and lessons on employee relations. According to the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business website, the curriculum is organized into nine modules and four clinics geared toward small business management training, each of which includes classroom discussions, peer-to-peer learning exercises, skills and experiential applications.
Classroom activities are complemented by an integrated portfolio of business services, including: individual business advice, legal and financial clinics, and networking opportunities.
“They are extremely applicable to their business,” Barvin said. “It puts them in a position to create a growth plan for their business, which will essentially lead to hiring more people. So they grow their business and hire more people, which obviously helps the local economy.”
As a senior faculty member at Iowa, Barwin now oversees the construction of new modules. She also works with faculty from all of the Iowa community colleges on the program. The program is based at Des Moines Area Community College in Ankeny.
“I really love it because I’m on the front lines with these business owners. This program is very impressive and everyone recommends it long after they have passed it”, he said.
Goldman Sachs funds the entire program, so there is no cost to business owners who are accepted into it. However, Barwin admitted that business owners are often skeptical when the program is promoted to them.
“The question always comes up, ‘What do you really want from me? Is this really free? But I’m telling you, I wouldn’t be a part of this if I wasn’t going to help you. There are a lot of benefits for the local community if they come back and grow their business.”
Six area companies are alumni from the central Iowa region.
• Mona Everson, Life and Health Care
• Ben Pingel, Pingel Estates
• Maureen Seamonds, MyMedMart
• Todd McCubbin, Shiny Top Brewing
• Cheryl O’Hern, Spin Market
• Brian Pederson, Blue Ribbon Pelham Waters
According to the program’s website, 97 percent of business owners complete the 12-week program.
More than 60 percent of businesses in the program report an increase in revenue within six months of completing the program.
Nearly 50 percent of businesses report that they created new jobs within six months of completing the program and 86 percent of graduating business owners report that they are currently doing business with other program graduates .
“I love being part of this program,” Barvin said. “It is really special and I am passionate about serving others. I can see the impact it has on them in real time. It’s so priceless.”
Business owners interested in the program can visit https://www.10ksbapply.com for more information and to apply for the program. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.
Barwin said the next module will start in September and then another in February. It will be the eighth and ninth sessions for Iowa businesses.