Press Releases

Private Sector Options for Small Business

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Washington, February 14, 2018 | comments

WASHINGTON—Today, Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH) and the Committee on Small Business heard testimony from Steven Strongin, Head of the Global Investment Research Division at Goldman Sachs, and two small business entrepreneurs. Both J.R. Foster, President and CEO of the Robert Louis Group, and Jessica Johnson-Cope, President of Johnson Security Bureau, Inc., are graduates of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program.

“Our small businesses — the true engines of our economy — unfortunately continue to experience a rigid lending environment,” said Chairman Steve Chabot. “While large companies can turn to debt and equity markets to raise capital, small businesses all over the country regularly turn to conventional bank lending to finance their projects. Making access to capital easier for small firms has been a priority of this Committee since day one.”

What the Graduates are Saying:

Recent research from Goldman Sachs has shown that while some areas of the nation have experienced a more open credit market, the same cannot be said for largely urban and predominantly rural areas.  

“Behind the focus on small businesses is a series of stark facts: even as the American economy is more than 100 months into the current recovery – now the third longest on record – the ‘small business economy’ has continued to face some serious challenges,” said Steven Strogin, Head of the Global Investment Research Division at Goldman Sachs in New York, NY. “This hearing coincides with a summit hosted by the Firm entitled: ‘10,000 Small Businesses: The Big Power of Small Business.’ The aim is to renew our collective focus on the vital relationship between entrepreneurship and economic growth, including the link between small business formation and innovation, as well as economic and social mobility for American workers.”

“I found myself lost in the sea of managing employees, customers, contractors, payroll, marketing, and the like. I needed something more than my corporate career had taught me,” said J.R. Foster, President and CEO of the Robert Louis Group in Cincinnati, OH. “I was introduced to the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program. After a year of course work, excellent class room engagement, and dialogue with the 100+ small business owners in my cohort – I was able to excel in areas where I fell short. I also discovered that our local chamber of commerce in Cincinnati and other minority organizations like the Urban League have been helpful in growing the capacity of small business owners.”

“My peers and I face many challenges as we grow our businesses. The current business environment makes it increasing difficult for small businesses to survive, let alone grow,” stated Jessica Johnson-Cope, President of Johnson Security Bureau, Inc., in Bronx, NY. “Since completing the program, Johnson Security has created over 150 jobs. Our revenues have increased more than 10-fold. Our operations have expanded into two neighboring states.”

Opportunities from both the government and the private sector allows small businesses to access capital and help revitalize their communities. It is these communities that reap the benefits of a vibrant and flourishing American economy.

Click here to watch full hearing video, and here to read full witness testimony.

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