What 10,000 Small Businesses Taught Me

Caitlin Magidson

Caitlin works with students and alumni in Washington DC as a transformational Career Coach. She provides guidance around self-exploration, job search strategy, and networking through individualized coaching and professional development courses.

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Is your business ready for what’s next? This is the question the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program asks of business owners ready to take their ventures to the next level.

This past Monday, I had the opportunity to attend the graduation this week to celebrate two cohorts of students who completed the program. Carey’s very own Dr. Kevin Frick read the names of the graduates, and the energy in the room was palpable as the Mayor of Baltimore, Catherine E Pugh, spoke about the importance of championing small businesses to build a community. Mayor Pugh was followed by US Senator Chris Van Hollen, and then Kevin Sheekey, Global Head for External Relations at Bloomberg LP who came out to support graduates and their contribution through entrepreneurship.

The 10,000 Small Businesses program is an investment to help entrepreneurs create jobs and economic opportunity by providing access to education, capital and business support services. To date, the program has served over 6,700 small business owners across all 50 states and has resulted in immediate and sustained business growth for program alumni. It was a pleasure to attend the graduation and then network with graduates and business owners on behalf of Carey.

As a Career Coach overseeing the Entrepreneurship Network along with Corinne Brassfield in the The Johns Hopkins Carey Business School Career Development Office, we’ll be bringing some of these CEO’s to campus to share their experiences of starting, managing, and growing a business with students. Be on the lookout for programming and events in Handshake to stay up-to-date on entrepreneurial opportunities and learning this semester.

And if you’d like to consider applying to the 10,000 Small Businesses Program in your city, below are the criteria you need to meet for acceptance to the program:

  • Must be an owner or co-owner of a business
  • Business must have been in operation for at least two years
  • Business must have revenue of at least $150,000 USD in the most recent fiscal year
  • Business must have a minimum of four employees (including the owner)

In order to receive the maximum benefit from the program, business owners are asked to

  • Attend a program orientation
  • Complete 11 convenient learning sessions
  • Participate in out-of-class activities, including completing assignments, attending networking events and business support clinics (8-10 hours per week)
  • Create a business growth plan over the course of the program

When I asked alumni of the program “What was your biggest takeaway?,” without hesitation, most of them answered that they learned how to work on their business instead of in their business. Meaning, they learned how to train others and develop systems to allow their business to run without them which made it sustainable. Great takeaways! Keep this program in mind if you’re still in the ideating phase of business development and remember that the Career Development Office is excited and ready to support you in what’s next.

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