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How Goldman Sachs Is Reaching More Women

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What we'll cover:

  • Through its 10,000 Women program, Goldman Sachs has supported thousands of women entrepreneurs in more than 100 countries
  • After graduating from the program, 70% of participants report higher revenues
  • In March 2021, Goldman Sachs launched One Million Black Women to narrow opportunity gaps for Black women in the US

2020 was a tough year for many business owners. But as we’re finding out, it was particularly challenging for women entrepreneurs. A 2020 survey from the US Chamber of Commerce gives us some insight on this: Pre-pandemic, 67% of male-owned businesses and 60% of women-owned ones ranked the overall health of their business as “good.” By July 2020, 62% of male-owned small businesses said their businesses were “good,” but just 47% of female-owned businesses said the same. Women were also less likely to invest in their business and less likely to increase their staffing. 

While many business owners sought out help from the government, Goldman Sachs also upped its support of women during such a difficult period. The firm expanded one of its global initiatives – the 10,000 Women program – which offers a practical business and management education, mentoring and networking opportunities, and access to capital. Goldman Sachs also debuted another initiative in March 2021, One Million Black Women, focused on expanding economic opportunities for Black women in the US. Here’s a look at how Goldman Sachs’ business initiatives are helping women at home and abroad. 

Success stories from women entrepreneurs around the world

What do you do when a global pandemic threatens your livelihood? Many business owners all over the world had to get creative to keep their businesses afloat or parlay their expertise to help their communities during a time of need. Alumni of the Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Women program made some business changes of their own in 2020. A few of these stories included:

  • Adaora Ayoade, a leadership and executive coach in Nigeria, began offering free coaching sessions to business leaders in her community when she saw that they were struggling during the pandemic. 
  • Zhao Nian Zhen volunteered on the frontlines in China to mobilize medical supplies, care packs, and volunteer visits for thousands of healthcare workers – all while pivoting her company, Berny Watches, with an online marketing strategy. 
  • Yayun Huang, CEO of an agriculture company in China, secured new funding during the pandemic to help create thousands of jobs for families in some of the poorest regions of China.
  • Ehime Eigbe, founder and CEO of Sweetkiwi frozen yogurt, expanded her Nigerian-based business during the pandemic and recently started selling her products in the US. 

How GS adapted to change – and ended up expanding its program

Just like the entrepreneurs, Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Women program also had to shift gears. In April 2020, the Goldman Sachs Foundation announced that it would make its online education course available for free to more women around the world.

The course also was made available in 10 discrete modules, allowing women to tailor their learning journey, and translated into two more languages, Spanish and Portuguese. These changes helped expand the program’s access to more women, to ensure that women small business owners have the support they need to thrive. A year on, we have seen tens of thousands of enrollments from women in over 200 countries.

“Goldman Sachs believes when women lead, everything changes,” said Asahi Pompey.

“Our 10,000 Women course helps small businesses manage their day-to-day and plan for what’s ahead, while sharing best practices with other women entrepreneurs,” Charlotte Keenan, global head of 10,000 Women at Goldman Sachs, said at the time.

Investing $10 billion over the next 10 years for Black women

The 10,000 Women program is just one way that Goldman Sachs supports underserved communities. In March 2021, the firm launched One Million Black Women, an initiative to invest $10 billion and commit $100 million in philanthropic capital for grants over the next decade to narrow opportunity gaps for at least one million Black women in the US.

Why focus on Black women? There are a number of reasons, including:

  • Black women face a 90% wealth gap – and single Black women had a median net worth of $7,000 in 2019, compared with $85,000 for single white women or $92,000 for single white men.
  • The hourly earnings gap of Black women stands at 15% relative to white women and 35% less than white men – and this wage gap widens through their entire work life.
  • Black women tend to be among the most disadvantaged groups when it comes to education, healthcare and access to capital for their businesses.

The One Million Black Women program is meant to close some of the gaps that have been deeply rooted in society for years, David Solomon, the CEO of Goldman Sachs, said on a recent episode of Exchanges at Goldman Sachs. “We are trying to find ways to use our resources to make sure we are expanding sustainable economic growth in the communities that we operate in,” he said. “By the way, that’s good for all of us. That’s good for the world.”

Investing in women pays off

What’s the benefit of investing in women entrepreneurs, locally and globally? Goldman Sachs launched 10,000 Women in 2008 with the goal of fostering economic growth and building stronger communities. Since then, the network has reached over a hundred thousand women, and it’s also had the following ripple effect:

  • 70% of graduates from the program report higher revenues
  • 60% of these entrepreneurs create new jobs
  • And 9 in 10 graduates pay it forward by mentoring other women

“Goldman Sachs believes when women lead, everything changes,” said Asahi Pompey, global head of corporate engagement and president of the Goldman Sachs Foundation. “In today’s world, gender equality is an economic imperative and supporting women’s economic empowerment and leadership opportunities will drive growth for our clients, our communities, our people, and our stakeholders.”

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for individualized professional advice. Articles on this site were commissioned and approved by Marcus by Goldman Sachs®, but may not reflect the institutional opinions of The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., Goldman Sachs Bank USA or any of their affiliates, subsidiaries or divisions.