Community Partner Highlight: Cristina Shapiro, Vice President, Urban Investment Group, Goldman Sachs

Wednesday, July 17, 2013 / Published in Featured News, Community Partner Highlights
Community Partner Highlight: Cristina Shapiro, Vice President, Urban Investment Group, Goldman Sachs
1. How long has your organization been in the business of helping small businesses?
In 2010, we launched an initiative specifically aimed at helping small businesses. Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses is a national program created to help 10,000 small businesses increase jobs and create revenue by providing them with access to business education, business support services, and capital. Through this program, Goldman Sachs committed $500 million to small businesses across the country.
2. What’s been your organization’s biggest hurdle in achieving its goals of aiding small businesses?
On the capital side, there are many sites where there isn’t a CDFI small business lender or a community lender to absorb the type of loan that Goldman Sachs wants to make. We’ve worked to build the capacity of local lenders and at times helped bring in a new lender to that market to  fill the small business lending gap that exists in that particular market.
On the education side, small business owners are busy running their businesses. It can be difficult for them to take time out of their day-to-day to focus on growth. However, we have had exceptional retention of 99%.
3. Describe any major accomplishments for the Access to Capital Component of 10,000 Small Businesses over the last year.
One of our biggest accomplishments is that we’ve surpassed over $115 million in loan capital commitments to community based lenders this year.
In four of our markets, we were able to create innovative partnerships and were able to identify SBA 7(a) lenders and help them transition into the SBA Community Advantage loan program. Another accomplishment was creating the NYC Food Manufacturers Growth Fund in partnership with NYCEDC and NYBDC.
4. What are the key strategic goals for the Access to Capital Component of 10,000 Small Businesses over the next year?
In regards to the 10,000 Small Businesses program, our goal is to ensure that our existing partners are effectively deploying our loans to small businesses in their communities. We must continue to identify and establish strong partnerships that can help us grow the number of small business loans made and small businesses assisted in our 10,000 Small Businesses program.
5. What should a small business entrepreneur know about this program?
The 10,000 Small Businesses program is an exceptional tool to help small business entrepreneurs grow. The goal is to be able to help the business based on what their immediate needs are, whether it’s capital or education. The educational program provides business owners with an opportunity to network, work “on” their business instead of “in” their business, and create strong business relationships. The culmination of the business education program is the creation of a customized growth plan. The access to capital program provides a source of loan capital for businesses that are in expansion mode, but unable to qualify for a traditional bank loan. The application processes for the educational and capital programs are independent from each other. It is not a requirement for a business owner to participate in the educational program in order to apply for a loan.
6. Where can they get more information about the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program?
7. Describe your partnership with NYBDC and why it is instrumental to your organization achieving its mission.
Our partnership with NYBDC encompasses both the 10,000 Small Businesses program and beyond. NYBDC was instrumental in launching the Hurricane Sandy Emergency Loan Fund, which was launched just 5 days after Hurricane Sandy hit. NYBDC was able to process applications and begin to deploy capital faster than any other organization in New York City. We could not have gotten that money into the hands of small businesses as quickly as we did without the help of NYBDC.  
Separately, through the 10,000 Small Businesses program, NYBDC was selected by NYCEDC and Goldman Sachs to manage the NYC Food Manufacturers Growth Fund, which will enable food manufacturers to access working capital to help them grow their business. Food manufacturing is one of the top sub- sectors in manufacturing that continues to grow in New York City and this fund will be instrumental in helping small business entrepreneurs.
We consider NYBDC a thought leader and an implementation leader in the space of small business lending.