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2016 April 10 - 05:06 pm

Goldman Sachs Pumps $10 Million Into Businesses in Rhode Island

Money Will Help Pay for Free Courses at State Colleges


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — In a minor coup for the job creation agenda of Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo, the investment banking firm Goldman Sachs and its philanthropic arm have pledged $10 million to help small businesses grow in the state.

The Wall Street company’s president and chief operating officer, Gary Cohn, appeared at a Providence bike shop to announce the new initiative with Raimondo.

“We’re really trying to get to the root cause of job creation,” Cohn said.

Cohn said the Democratic governor visited the bank’s headquarters last year and helped convince the company to expand its “10,000 Small Businesses” initiative to the state. Rhode Island will be the 30th region to participate in the program since 2009 and the first to do so on a statewide rather than cityfocused level.

Half of the $10 million will go toward free business and management education courses that will be coordinated through the Community College of Rhode Island and the Rhode Island School of Design. The courses will begin this fall based on a curriculum created by Babson College in Massachusetts.

“It’s a really rigorous program,” Cohn said. “It’s sort of a condensed MBA program.”

The other $5 million will be used to make loans to small businesses through intermediary BDC Capital, a Massachusettsbased business lending and investment firm with offices in Providence.

Small businesses are eligible if they have annual revenues of at least $100,000, two or more fulltime workers and have been around for at least two years. The program also targets businesses in economically disadvantaged areas.

Raimondo said the bank’s initiative complements a new $5.5 million state program that helps finance small businesses with limited access to capital.

Raimondo, Cohn, Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza and Democratic U.S. Sen. Jack Reed convened at the NBX Bikes shop in Providence to launch the Goldman Sachs initiative. Matt Bodziony, owner of the 34- employee bicycle business that also has branches in Narragansett, Warwick and East Providence, said he plans to apply.

“If we can double their employment and double their job creation, we’ve had enormous impact,” Cohn said. “That’s really how you grow economies. The big corporations don’t grow the economy. Small businesses grow the economy.”

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