This month, Kyle is back in school. But it's, like, a REALLY cool school.
Kyle is currently enrolled in a program called Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses. Goldman Sachs (you know, investments, banking, all the money stuff?) has a foundation that is focused on giving some of this wealth (not just money, but experience, knowledge, and energy) back to the business community. This program is a partnership between Goldman Sachs and Babson College, located in Massachusetts, which is the #1 school in nation for entrepreneurship, ranking ahead of those Ivys like Harvard and Yale. And the program is all about helping small business and small business owners.
What this organization has found is that there are many small businesses out there that have reached a certain size and success without their owners, operators, or presidents having formal training in management, entrepreneurship, or any of the seemingly "necessary" job skills normally associated with a small business owner. This very specific need has the potential to not only affect the lives of the business owners themselves, but they also know that helping them helps others: A thriving business provides more employment opportunities, stimulates more economy, and can give back in many ways to the community is belongs to. Their goals for these organizations are threefold:
This is an exclusive program that only admits a limited number of people a session, so it's pretty incredible that our local business owner is now a part of it. In the short time since its establishment, only 7,300 business owners have graduated from the program across all 50 states in the US, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C. But the impact has been massive. Two years after graduating from the program, 47 percent of participating businesses grew their revenue by more than 77 percent and 56 percent of business added jobs in their communities. Not only that, but 88 percent of participating businesses have found new business partnerships, oftentimes with those in the alumni network to which they now below.
Kyle discovered this program during a rainy October day when our fall season crowds were low. He was reading the Telegraph Herald and discovered an article featuring the 10,000 Small Businesses program. After doing more research, Kyle was definitely interested. This program seemed way beyond the jumpstart business classes he'd been a part of before, and he felt that there was a lot of potential for both him and his business here.
There was a three-step process to get involved: The first was a paper application with all the business information and a description of Kyle's goals and aspirations for his business. Next was a whole series of financial documentation. After Kyle made it through these steps, he participated in an interview panel to see if he was a good fit for the program and dedicated to seeing it through. They were particularly focused on making sure Kyle was community driven - this program is not only interested in the business itself, but what it gives back to the community it belongs to.
In early February, he was accepted!
Kyle is now part of a 10-week program. He takes 2 online classes each week and twice he will travel to Massachusetts to participate in 4-day intensive classroom experience. Throughout the whole program, he will learn more about leadership, sales, financial documents, managing people, forecasting, supply chain management, and identifying opportunities within his own business. He will also have opportunities to practically apply these new job skills within his classes and within his business. He will leave the program with a comprehensive growth plan that he plans to apply and implement within the next couple of years.
Once Kyle is done with his classes, we'll be posting another blog that describes some of his experiences and we'll hint about what's next for the farm - a lot of exciting things. We'll also reveal his grade...hopefully he's a diligent student!
Until then, if you're interested, you can learn more about the program at the Goldman Sachs website.
Fun on the farm...in blog form!