Mayor's Office

Press Release

Mayor Parker, Community Leaders Present Houston's First Graduating Class from Goldman Sachs Foundation Small Business Educational Program
53 Local Entrepreneurs Now Equipped to Create Jobs, Help Businesses Grow



October 3, 2011 -- Mayor Annise Parker today was joined by U.S. Senator John Cornyn, Houston Community College Chancellor Dr. Mary S. Spangler and various other community and business leaders to congratulate 53 local entrepreneurs who are the first in Houston to graduate from the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses initiative.


The program is designed for owners of small businesses with limited financial resources, and with few opportunities to otherwise access a business education designed to enhance small business success. The educational program provides all the resources business owners need to grow and create jobs: world-class business education designed by national experts; access to an array of support, including one-on-one business advising and networking with local partners; and the opportunity to access capital to finance their growth.


“Houston is an ideal location for this program given that local businesses employ more than 60 percent of Houston’s workforce. Houston is also one of the few cities in the nation that has experienced economic growth,” said Mayor Parker. “The Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program is just another way Houston supports and encourages business growth and job creation.”


“I commend all of the partners who have made today possible and specifically the 53 graduates who are taking risks to fulfill their dreams, create opportunities for others and invest back in their local community here in Houston,” Sen. Cornyn said. “This spirit of entrepreneurship is essential to getting the economy back on its feet and Americans back to work.”


With a graduation rate of 100%, this first class of small business owners represents the broad diversity of Houston’s business population ranging from family-owned businesses – such as a restaurant and insurance broker – to area pharmacies, real estate companies, HVAC, staffing, marketing, and clinical research.


“These 53 graduates of 10,000 Small Businesses embody the diversity and entrepreneurial spirit of Houston,” said Dina Habib Powell, President of the Goldman Sachs Foundation.  “We are proud to work with a tremendous network of local partners in Houston, and we are very pleased to see the graduates already begin to win new contracts, grow and create jobs.”


As the nation’s fourth-largest city, the greater Houston area is home to 117,886 small businesses (under 100 employees) according to U.S. Census Bureau data. According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Houston registered the nation’s second strongest employment gains during the past year, increasing employment by 2.6% and adding approximately 65,000 private-sector jobs between July 2010 and July 2011. In addition, Houston was the fastest-growing metro area between 2000 and 2010 with an increase of more than 1.2 million people, according to Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research.


The initiative, already in place in several other cities, comes with a $20 million commitment to provide loans to help local small businesses and $5 million in program and capacity-building grants to local partner organizations.  Additional grants will be provided to subsidize business education for current small business owners. 


Who Should Apply
Houston is expected to run six class groups per year for the duration of the program. The second class set of Houston small business owners will begin classes in November 2011.


Broad characteristics of business owners targeted to participate include, but are not limited to: ownership or co-ownership of a business; business revenues between $150,000 and $4 million in 2010; business in operation for at least two years; at least four employees; operations in economically underserved areas; and a business model that could scale to create more jobs.


Businesses interested in the business portion of the program can apply at:


To express interest in a 10,000 Small Businesses loan, please send an email with your name, title, company, and full contact information to


Program Background
10,000 Small Businesses is a $500 million initiative that will unlock the growth and job-creation potential of 10,000 small businesses across the United States through greater access to business education, financial capital and business support services. 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. In Houston, program partners include the City of Houston, Houston Community College, Greater Houston Partnership, Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Houston Minority Supplier Development Council, National Development Council Grow America Fund and the University of Houston Small Business Development Center Network. In addition to Houston, the program is now operating in New Orleans, New York, and the Greater Los Angeles area and will continue to expand to communities across the country.


Strategy and guidance is provided by the 10,000 Small Businesses Advisory Council, chaired by Lloyd Blankfein, Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett and Harvard Business School Professor Dr. Michael Porter.


10,000 Small Businesses is modeled on the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women initiative, which creates partnerships between academic institutions and non-profit entities to provide a business and management education to women around the world. 10,000 Women is currently operating in 22 countries, where it is helping women entrepreneurs create jobs and growth in their communities.