CHICAGO — Nearly 500 Chicago businesses have joined thousands of entrepreneurs across the country in an initiative to create jobs.
The business owners are participants in Goldman Sachs “10,000 Small Businesses,” a scholarship-based program that convenes them to learn critical business skills and create growth plans for their companies.
Just one of these local entrepreneurs is Kimberly Moore, of KDM Engineering, a multi-faceted engineering firm in the power and utilities industries.
“Since completing the program last year, we have hired five new people, and created new jobs by hiring other diverse firms. We have become a very valuable community partner because we’re helping to change people’s lives,” said Moore, whose company has built a reputation of providing excellent project support while maintaining a superior level of customer service with each client.
Located in Chicago, KDM Engineering specializes in mid-to-high-voltage distribution design.
“We currently focus on providing engineering design support along with program and project management to the electrical utility,” Moore said. “Our prime client right now is Exelon Corporation.”
Exelon is a Fortune 100 energy company, signifying Moore’s success in winning contracts with larger clients.
Moore’s story is not unique.
The Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses curriculum is designed by Babson College, the leading business school for entrepreneurship — just six months after graduation, nearly 69 percent of alumni grow revenues.
Approximately 48 percent of the alumni create new jobs within that same timeframe. As a comparison, 23 percent of U.S. Small Businesses added new jobs in 2015.
For Moore, the program was a key step to understanding growth opportunities for her business.
“The 10,000 Small Businesses program has helped me direct my energy to the right places,” Moore said. “KDM was already a growing company with lots of opportunities, but 10,000 Small Businesses and the faculty helped me focus on one opportunity at a time and see those opportunities from different perspectives. This allowed me to differentiate between what was good for us and what wasn’t,” she said.
While participants in 10,000 Small Businesses hail from a wide array of industries, they engage in the program from their shared experience as entrepreneurs.
Chicago alumni include businesses focused on hospitality, health and fitness, food service, staffing, education, senior care and other industries.
Through the peer-to-peer learning environment, participants focus on overcoming universal business challenges — such as human resources, access to finance, and leadership.
“As an entrepreneurial leader, I learned that although I had come this far on my own, I didn’t have to remain alone,” Moore said.
“I learned that networking is key, but for a multitude of reasons. It isn’t always about who can introduce you to a potential lead,” she said, adding that, “it’s also about placing yourself in an environment of learning and sharing. After graduation, I had 36 additional resources that I could speak to or bounce ideas off.”
With an eye toward the future, Moore is ready to keep growing her business.
“I have a five-year plan that would employ 75 people with revenue of $65MM,” she said. “KDM will be in multiple markets both nationally and internationally delving into the arena of renewable energy.”
Business owners are invited to apply to the next cohort of Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses at the City Colleges of Chicago. Learn more at http://www.10ksbapply.com.