Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Detroit program welcomes new leadership, celebrates 10 years and 30 cohorts of training entrepreneurs

The Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Detroit program (GS10KSB Detroit) is celebrating two milestones and new leadership this year. In March, the local program, a part of the national initiative, marked its 10th year of training small businesses owners from all around metro Detroit, in partnership with Wayne State University. The program also welcomed Kimberly Burroughs, Ph.D., as its new executive director. In May, GS10KSB Detroit brought in its 30th cohort to date.

A group of people stand and smile for a photo. Several of them are holding objects like framed photos
The Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Detroit program celebrates 10 years and 30 cohorts of training entrepreneurs this year. Here is the 30th cohort, which kicked off in May and ends in August. Cohort members are at one of the weekly sessions, during which they were asked to bring in a cultural symbol that describes their business, as well as think about the culture they create for their employees and their business. Photograph courtesy of Kimberly Burroughs 

Founded in 2010, the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses (GS10KSB) national initiative prepares small business owners to create jobs and economic opportunity by providing education, capital and support services. GS10KSB teaches entrepreneurs with annual revenues between $75,000 and $20 million practical skills in topics such as negotiation, marketing and employee management. If accepted into the program, tuition is fully paid for by the Goldman Sachs Foundation.

GS10KSB’s local programs are delivered through partnerships between community colleges, business schools and nonprofit organizations across the U.S. The curriculum — which is organized into nine intensive modules that include classroom discussion, peer learning exercises, skill building and experiential applications — is designed with Babson College, which for decades has been ranked as the country’s top school for entrepreneurship. The Goldman Sachs Foundation also works with the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City on GS10KSB’s outreach and selection process.

A new era of leadership

Wayne State welcomed the arrival of the GS10KSB program to Detroit a decade ago. The university’s Office of Economic Development runs the program, alongside Oakland Community College and Macomb Community College. Since then, nearly 830 entrepreneurs have graduated from GS10KSB Detroit.

A photo of a woman smiling with her arms crossed in front of her. She is standing in a coworking office.

Kimberly Burroughs, Ph.D., became the new executive director of the Goldman Sach's 10,000 Small Businesses Detroit program in March. Photograph by J. Lindsey Photography

“I think it is wonderful, the fact that the program's sustainability has been here for 10 years. That means that there's still a need, there's small business owners that are still looking for resources,” says Burroughs, who is no stranger to the GS10KSB program. Prior to coming to Detroit, Burroughs spent nearly eight years working with GS10KSB’s Houston program as a module faculty member and later as its executive director. As Houston’s executive director, the program reached a milestone of 1,000 graduates from the program. When the opportunity arose to join the GS10KSB Detroit team, Burroughs, who is a native Detroiter and desired to be closer to family, embraced the change.

In her first couple months as GS10KSB Detroit’s executive director, Burroughs has focused on observing the program and building relationships with her new team, which she could tell was already incredibly strong before her arrival. She is also happy to see the abundance of opportunities for entrepreneurs in the city, compared to decades ago when people were leaving Detroit due to lack thereof. 

“I see so many new things happening, so many new businesses, so many people that are inspired, and people that are coming from other places that see the beauty of Detroit,” Burroughs says. “I have always known, being born and raised here, the beauty of Detroit.”

Expanding the programming 

Burroughs is also focused on expanding the program’s partnerships with other organizations and raising awareness of GS10KSB Detroit in surrounding neighborhoods and communities. “I think that is probably the largest impact that I want to make,” she says. Burroughs is also hiring a new alumni manager that will continue engaging with and providing education for the 800+ Detroit alumni. “I need people to know how wonderful and important this program is, that it is no cost for folks to come through the 14-week program and learn how to grow their business, and then they impact their community. And in doing so, they refer and share with others.”  

A group of five people stand and talk amongst themselves

Members of GS10KSB Detroit's 30th cohort interact during one of the cohort's weekly sessions. Photograph courtesy of Kimberly Burroughs

The 30th cohort of GS10KSB kicked off last month and currently has 15 “scholars,” as Burroughs calls the participating entrepreneurs. (She adds that summer cohorts tend to be smaller, whereas fall cohorts tend to have on average 30-35 participants.) When Burroughs is not attending meetings and promoting the program within the community, she is right in the classroom with the entrepreneurs and instructors, watching as they interact and learn. Burroughs says that even after six years of sitting in on modules between Houston and now Detroit, she still learns something different. She enjoys hearing the questions the entrepreneurs ask, which are then shared with Goldman Sachs and Babson College to make any necessary tweaks to the curriculum based on the entrepreneurs’ needs.

Graduates making impact 

One “scholar” who has been making waves in the community since graduating from GS10KSB Detroit is Lydia Michael. As the founder of Blended Collective, a local multicultural marketing and brand consultancy, Michael puts authenticity, culture and diversity at the forefront of what her business does. Blended Collective’s services include social media and digital marketing, brand development and strategy, designing and facilitating workshops and webinars, and more.

Michael graduated from cohort 26 in 2022. During her time with GS10KSB Detroit, she says she learned how to work more on her business rather than in her business. The program’s online platform has helped her to grow her network locally and nationally, and Michael applies what she’s learned to her own business practices.

A group of six people smile and pose for a photo. Two of them are holding plates with dessert on them.

Lydia Michael (far left), founder of multicultural marketing agency Blended Collective, graduated from the 26th cohort of the GS10KSB Detroit program in 2022. Photograph courtesy of Lydia Michael

“Some of my fellow cohort members have become great accountability partners as well as ‘entrepreneur’ friends whom I continue to check in with,” Michael says. They’re part of my network and we all refer business to one another. The program has allowed us to get to know each other well and build trust.”

Michael, who is also a Wayne State alum, has received several professional accolades since completing GS10KSB Detroit. During the summer of 2023, Michael celebrated the launch of her first book, “Brand Love: Building Strong Consumer-Brand Connections,” in which Michael describes how brands appeal to the emotions of their consumers and the benefits of brands earning their customers’ trust. That October, Michael was named a 2023 Salute Award winner, an award from TechTown Detroit that recognizes individuals that embody Detroit’s entrepreneurial spirit. More recently, Michael received a 2024 Oakland Together 40 Under 40 award. As a TechTown building tenant, Michael also volunteers as a Professional Services Network member, offering free marketing and advertising consultations through TechTown’s Ask an Expert program, a way for established entrepreneurs to give back to their ecosystem.

Looking ahead

The GS10KSB program has proven to be a success nationwide. Across the country, 67% of the program’s participants reported an increase in revenue within six months and 46% reported creating new jobs within six months. Graduates are also building their businesses together; the program reports that 92% are doing business with each other.

Several people write on large sheets of paper that are taped on walls
GS10KSB Detroit Executive Director Kimberly Burroughs wants to ensure the program maintains its quality as it continues serving local entrepreneurs. She also wants to continue engaging entrepreneurs beyond their graduation from the program. Photograph courtesy of Lydia Michael

As GS10KSB Detroit continues to celebrate its 10th anniversary throughout 2024, Burroughs says the sustainability of the program is what she’s most proud of and wants to continue upholding. And she stresses the importance of engaging with the entrepreneurs beyond their graduation from the program.

“Maintaining the quality of service and delivery that we have done — that Detroit has done — over the past 10 years,” Burroughs says of what she’s hopeful of the program and its continued impact. “And that is making sure that we engage, making sure that we communicate, making sure that we promote the program, it’s importance, and how what we do makes a huge impact in the Detroit metro area and smaller communities. There's such growth and opportunity here, so we want to make sure that we touch as many people as we can, so they can continue to grow. As they grow, they create jobs and economic opportunities in their community. And then, they pass that word on to others, and it's like a trickle effect. We continue to provide as long as they keep coming.”


To learn more about the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Detroit program and apply for a future cohort, visit 10ksbdetroit.com. To learn more about the Office of Economic Development’s programs, visit economicdevelopment.wayne.edu/what-we-do.  

  

  

← Back to listing