Local business owners have a relatively new resource if they want to take their business further than they could on their own.
The Goldman Sachs program, called 10,000 Small Business, is a national program that came to Iowa in 2019 with the goal of helping small business owners accelerate their growth.
This 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 chance to network and learn from each other while receiving training from the program’s business advisors. Upon completion of the program, business owners join an ever-growing network of alumni across the state and country.
David Barwin, business program coordinator and professor at Central Iowa Community College, is the lead faculty for the program at Iowa’s junior colleges. He was recently appointed lead faculty member for the national level program.
“Three years ago, Jim Kersten (Iowa Central vice president) came to me and said they wanted to bring this program to Iowa and wanted to have it at the college level. So I applied to be a faculty member and was accepted,” Barwin said.
Barwin then attended Babson University in Boston. He said it’s the No. 1 entrepreneurship school in the country, part of the reason it was chosen by Goldman Sachs to write the curriculum.
“After the training I just ran one of the first year modules,” Barwin said. “It’s about culture and hiring and setting yourself up to hire the right people for the job. The program itself is designed to help business owners who have gone through the startup process.”
Business owners go through the nine modules over 12 weeks.
Modules range from lessons on growing a business to marketing and sales along with financial and employee relations lessons. According to the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business website, the curriculum is organized into nine modules and four clinics focused on small business management training, each of which includes classroom discussions, peer learning exercises, skill building and applications through experience.
Classroom activities are complemented by an integrated portfolio of business services including: one-on-one business advice, legal and financial clinics and networking opportunities.
“They are extremely applicable to their business,” Barwin said. “This puts them in a position to create a plan to grow their business, which will essentially lead to hiring more people.” So they grow their business and employ more people, which obviously helps the local economy.”
As a lead faculty member at Iowa, Barwin now oversees the construction of new modules. He also works with faculty from all Iowa community colleges in the program. The program is based at Des Moines Community College in Ankeny.
“I really enjoy it because I’m on the front lines with these business owners. This program is so impactful and they all highly recommend it after going through 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 often business owners are skeptical when he pitches the program to them.
The question always arises, “What do you really want from me?” Is this really free?’ But I tell them I wouldn’t be a part of it if it wasn’t going to help them. There are many benefits to the local community from them coming back and growing their businesses.”
Six local businesses are graduates of the Central Iowa Region.
• Mona Everson, Life and Health Care
• Ben Pingel, Pingel Farms
• Maureen Simmonds, MyMedMart
• Todd McCubbin, Shiny Top Brewing
• Cheryl O’Hearn, 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 increased revenue within six months of completing the program.
Nearly 50 percent of businesses report new job creation 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 just love being a part of this program,” Barwin said. “It’s really special and I’m 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. They will be the eighth and ninth sessions for Iowa business.