NEW YORK - The Goldman Sachs Group Inc. has announced the launch of10,000 Small Businesses- a $500 million initiative to spur the growth and job-creation potential of 10,000 small businesses across the United States through greater access to business education, mentors and networking, and financial capital. According to Goldman Sachs, it is based on the broadly held view of leading experts that a combination of education, capital, and support services best addresses the barriers to growth for small businesses.

Program highlights include:

• Business and Management Education: Small business owners will receive practical business education delivered through partnerships between local community colleges, universities, and other institutions.10,000 Small Businesseswill contribute $200 million to these partners to provide scholarships to predominantly underserved small business owners and build educational capacity.

• Mentoring and Networking: Advice, technical assistance, and networking will be offered to participating small business owners through partnerships with national and local business organizations, as well as the people of Goldman Sachs.

• Access to Capital: Goldman Sachs will invest $300 million through a combination of lending and philanthropic support to Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs). The investment will increase the amount of growth capital available to small businesses in underserved communities and expand the capacity of the CDFIs to deliver enhanced technical assistance to small businesses.10,000 Small Businesseswill provide technical assistance to graduates of the program to help them access other sources of capital.

• Advisory Council:10,000 Small Businesseswill be guided by an Advisory Council co-chaired by Lloyd C. Blankfein, chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs; Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway; and Dr. Michael Porter of the Harvard Business School. The Advisory Council will assist in the development, execution, and evaluation of the program.

“Small businesses play a vital role in creating jobs and growth in America’s economy,” said Blankfein. “We are pleased to work with our partners in this initiative to support small business owners, particularly those in underserved communities.”

“Our recovery is dependent on hard working small business owners across America who will create the jobs that America needs,” said Buffett. “I’m proud to be a part of this innovative program which provides greater access to know-how and capital - two ingredients critical to success.”

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Publication date:12/14/2009