Johns Hopkins University, Morgan State University, and the Community College of Baltimore County today hosted the largest-ever graduation ceremony for Maryland entrepreneurs completing the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Baltimore program, which provides practical business education, support services, and access to capital to help businesses create jobs and increase revenue.
The three institutions, together with Goldman Sachs and Bloomberg Philanthropies, celebrated the 114 small-business owners—42 based in Baltimore—during a ceremony at Morgan State University. In total, 242 people—including 98 from Baltimore—have graduated from the Baltimore program since its launch in 2017.
Graduates from the program's fifth, sixth, and seventh cohorts included restauranteurs, IT service providers, the owner of a martial arts studio, a fashion designer, general contractors, a dry-cleaning shop, and a florist.
"Graduates, you are already making an economic impact and inspiring others to follow in your footsteps," Johns Hopkins University President Ronald J. Daniels said. "You are truly the embodiment of the persistence, vision, and strength—and talent—that Baltimore has to offer."
During the ceremony, Jocelyn Gainers, president and CEO of The Family Recovery Program, received the inaugural Elijah E. Cummings Impact Award for her demonstrated community impact and a commitment to uplift the lives of others. U.S. Rep. Elijah E. Cummings was a champion of small businesses and strong supporter of the 10,000 Small Businesses program. The Family Recovery Program provides support services to parents who have a history of substance abuse.
The Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Baltimore program began with a successful pilot session at Johns Hopkins, paving the way for the city to become a permanent site with a $10 million investment from program partners Goldman Sachs and Bloomberg Philanthropies. Morgan State University and the Community College of Baltimore County joined the partnership to provide outreach, recruitment and educational support. 10,000 Small Businesses' Baltimore site is the first location of the national program to partner with a four-year institution and a historically black college or university.
Nationally, 10,000 Small Businesses has served more than 9,100 small businesses to date across all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C., and has resulted in immediate and sustained business growth for program alumni: Six months after graduating, 67% of businesses increase revenues and 47% create new jobs.
Entrepreneurs who apply and are selected to take part in the program benefit from a network of educational partners that work together to manage program operations and provide business resources. The program's curriculum includes more than 100 hours of practical, peer-learning education focusing on financial management, negotiations, marketing, and other business principles. In Baltimore, Johns Hopkins hosts the classes and manages all participant engagement once they are accepted into the program. Upon graduation, Baltimore participants join an alumni network fostered by Johns Hopkins University to continue to work together to create lasting regional marketplaces.
In addition to Daniels, the ceremony was attended by Peter Grauer, chairman of the board at Bloomberg LP; Sandra L. Kurtinitis, president of CCBC; Asahi Pompey, global head of corporate engagement and president of the Goldman Sachs Foundation; David M. Solomon, chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs; Bernard C. "Jack" Young, mayor of Baltimore; and David Wilson, president of Morgan State University.
"This ceremony is a reminder of what Baltimore is all about," Wilson said. "It's the creators. It's the builders. It's the innovators."