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Goldman, Buffett to help small businesses

November 18, 2009|Associated Press

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is teaming with billionaire Warren Buffett to invest $500 million to help thousands of small-business owners across the U.S. by providing them college scholarships and boosting their access to capital.

Goldman's philanthropic effort, announced Tuesday and called 10,000 Small Businesses, includes a $200-million contribution to community colleges, universities and other institutions to give grants to small-business owners to further their education.

The New York bank also will invest $300 million through a combination of lending and charitable support. Goldman said the money will be funneled through community development financial institutions to boost lending and technical assistance available to small businesses in underserved communities.

In addition, Goldman Sachs executives, in partnership with national and local business organizations, will aid small businesses with advice, technical assistance and professional networking opportunities.

An advisory council co-chaired by Goldman Sachs Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein will oversee the initiative. Buffett, the legendary investor and Goldman's largest shareholder, and Harvard Business School professor Michael Porter will serve as co-chairs as well.

"Our recovery is dependent on hard-working small-business owners across America who will create the jobs that America needs," Buffett said in a statement. "I'm proud to be a part of this innovative program, which provides greater access to know-how and capital -- two ingredients critical to success."

The initiative comes as Goldman has started to see a rebound across many of its businesses.

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