Goldman Sachs brings $100 million rural small business investment program to Arkansas

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 1,561 views 

Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses announced Friday (Oct. 27) it has expanded its $100 million “Investment in Rural Communities” initiative to Arkansas and is making a $20 million commitment to Community Development Financial Institution (CFDI) Hope Enterprise Corporation to foster job creation and help catalyze economic growth across the region.

The new initiative, which first launched in North Dakota in September, is an extension of Goldman Sachs’ successful 10,000 Small Businesses program, which it says has served over 14,000 businesses across the country for more than a decade by providing access to education and capital. The initiative plans to reach rural small business owners in 20 states in the next five years.

“We are thrilled to expand our 10,000 Small Businesses program by partnering with the University of Arkansas – Pulaski Technical College and Hope Enterprise Corporation,” said Goldman Sachs Chairman and CEO David Solomon. “Through our work together, we can provide rural entrepreneurs with the resources, education and access to capital they need to create jobs and grow the economy.”

As part of the $100 million commitment of the initiative, Goldman Sachs is partnering with Hope Enterprise Corporation to provide support to rural small business owners in Arkansas and across the region. In addition to investing in CDFIs to provide loans to small businesses, the broader initiative also provides funding for the 10,000 Small Businesses education program at local community colleges and capacity-building grants to support access to capital.

“Access to capital is a top priority for small business owners across the country,” said Hope Enterprise Corporation Bill Bynum. “We look forward to our continued partnership with Goldman Sachs to provide the financial stability that growing businesses need to thrive – in Arkansas and other under-resourced rural communities across the South.”

Survey data released by Goldman Sachs last month found that 74% of rural small businesses have grown revenues, and 72% have expanded their workforce as a result of this program.

The expansion was launched during an event at the Clinton Library. Goldman Sachs’ educational partner in the region is the University of Arkansas – Pulaski Technical College.

One beneficiary is downtown Little Rock’s Loblolly Creamery, an ice cream and specialty food shop.

“The 10,000 Small Businesses program gave me the tools and resources I needed to take my business to the next level,” said Sally Mengel, founder and owner of Loblolly Creamery and alum of Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses. “The entrepreneurial spirit thrives in Arkansas, but our small business owners are often overlooked. I am excited that Goldman Sachs is furthering its commitment to supporting rural entrepreneurs in Arkansas and across the country.”

Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses is an investment to help entrepreneurs create jobs and economic opportunities by providing a comprehensive business education program and access to capital and business support services. Founded in 1869, Goldman Sachs is headquartered in New York and maintains offices in all major financial centers around the world.

Hope Enterprise Corporation is a family of development organizations dedicated to strengthening communities, building assets and improving lives in the Delta and other economically distressed parts of Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee.

Asahi Pompey, Goldman Sachs’ global head of Corporate Engagement and president of the Goldman Sachs Foundation, was a guest on this week’s edition of Talk Business & Politics. You can watch her full interview in the video below.