From One Entrepreneur To Another And 10,000 Small Businesses

Jun 6, 2014 7:00 PM ET

Originally posted on Bloombgerg Now

How in the world could a Philadelphia-based manufacturing company increase its business 60% year over year? What magic wand did a school food services company based in Chicago wave to triple its revenue and add 30 employees? And then there’s the staffing business based in New Orleans that doubled its revenue to $5.5 million.

These are just three of the thousands of success stories to come out of a Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Small Businesses program, and educational and financial support program for entrepreneurs in the United States. On June 2, it was announced that Mike Bloomberg would join Goldman Sachs chairman and CEO Lloyd Blankfein, Warren Buffett, and Dr. Michael Porter as co-chair of the 10,000 Small Businesses Advisory Council. On June 3, Bloomberg hosted a day-long coaching session for 18 small business owners.

“All big businesses start out as small businesses,” said Mike Bloomberg in a lunchtime conversation with Charlie Rose. “Small businesses allow you to try new things. New inventions come out of small businesses. And then there’s the economic impact of generating jobs.”

At Bloomberg world headquarters, nearly 100 volunteer advisors from Goldman Sachs and Bloomberg came together to share their expertise and use their skills to hone a strategy or solve a problem for a budding business.

“The coaching session provided an innovative and special opportunity for our employees to collaborate with our partners at Goldman and engage in service by lending their talent and expertise to small business owners,” says Nanette Smith, head of Global Philanthropy and Engagement. “Small businesses are central to a thriving community and our partnership with Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Small Businesses can have a real impact towards success.”

Participants also heard from a panel of executives from successful start-ups, including Jon Oringer, Shutterstock; Kristina Salen, Etsy; Dal LaMagna, IceStone CEO; and Adam Neumann, WeWork. Bloomberg News’ Stephanie Ruhle moderated the discussion.

Melissa Strada in Career Development worked with the owners of Red Rabbit, a Harlem-based business that provides 20,000 healthy meals to schools in New York City. Her team was tasked with helping the business to find ways to facilitate internal communication and to find and train new talent.

“It was an amazing experience to leverage the collective expertise of several Bloomberg and Goldman Sachs colleagues and to see how our ideas could immediately be implemented by Red Rabbit,” says Strada. “Everyone brought a unique perspective to the table.”

At the lunch session, Red Rabbit president and founder Reese Powell says he graduated from 10,000 Small Businesses in 2011, at which time he had 10 employees. Since then, his company has grown to more than 120 employees and revenue has increased 700%. Powell is now setting his sights on the $2 billion national school lunch market.

“I came away with a much better appreciation for the challenges that small business owners face,” adds Strada. “Being able to give back to the community and to use our skills in a new and different way is very rewarding.”

For his part, Sustainability’s Lee Ballin assisted Colmex Construction in helping to refine their marketing and sales strategies to increase their green building business by 50% within one year.

“Bloomberg was founded with ‘giving back’ in our DNA,” says Ballin. “How better to give back than to take time to help a small business grow? The knock on effects from our help is enormous: We help the business owners, the business owners hire, the communities benefit. It’s a win-win all around.”

Contributed by On Bloomberg, Bloomberg LP’s internal newswire.