CHICAGO (CBS) — You might think people who own thriving businesses know a thing or two about reading a balance sheet or creating jobs, but a program at one of the City Colleges of Chicago shows us you’re never too experienced to learn how to make even more money.
CBS 2’s Jim Williams reports billionaire Warren Buffett and Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein helped give advice to dozens of small business owners who graduated from a program at Malcolm X College on Tuesday.
Ken Williams is a successful businessman, owner of “The Shred Authority,” a Chicago company that shreds and stores confidential documents. And he has the formal education to support his entrepreneurial ambitions – an MBA from Northwestern.
But his quest for knowledge did not end there. Here was one of 37 business owners who completed Goldman Sachs’ “10,000 Small Businesses” program at Harold Washington College
Although some might say he knew everything he needed to know before he started the program, Williams said, “You don’t know what you don’t know.”
Williams wanted to learn more about growing his business. He started the program in January and, since then, has hired two more workers.
He said it was “absolutely” due to the program at Harold Washington that he was able to hire those additional workers.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel attended Tuesday’s graduation ceremony for the program, joining Blankfein and Buffett, who joked he had selfish motive for being here…
“I pretended that I was doing this for public service reasons and all that,” Buffett said. “Not true, not true. I wanted to meet 37 people like I met this morning.”
The program’s aim is advise small businesses, which ultimately put people to work.
Danielle Hrzic runs Gourmet Gorilla, a rapidly growing catering company.
“This program came at a very critical time in our business, and understanding how to manage our financial resources, and being an effective leader,” Hrzic said.
Williams said, “I’m a lifelong learner. Any small business that neglects that lifelong learning aspect, they’re doomed to fail; because you always have to change your scope, and where you’re going.”
The Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program is absolutely free, But it’s not easy to get into. More than 150 business owners applied for the program, and fewer than 40 were accepted. They were in the first graduating class in Chicago. It’s been done for a while in other cities.