10,000 Small Businesses Effort With New Orleans Entrepreneurs
10,000 Small Businesses just graduated our first cohort in New Orleans and it was an absolutely amazing event for the location, the partners, and most of all, the scholars.
First, this is the New Orleans cohort at Delgado Community College. Babson’s own Dennis Ceru served as Launch Faculty member and worked with Delgado and the Margaret Spellings & Company to deliver a four and a half month program that helped 30 10KSB scholars flip the switch from small business managers to entrepreneurs focused upon business growth. To get a flavor for the program, just check out the video below of our class valedictorian.
New Orleans most certainly has a flavor all its own and that came through loud and clear in the graduation ceremony.
• We opened with the St Augustine High School Band, who had everyone on their feet.
• Our first speaker was Mayor Mitch Landrieu. (I admit I am a huge fan of Mayor Landrieu as he speaks the language – and acts – in entrepreneurship.)
• Next came Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs. His genuine interest in the scholars and obvious personal delighted in their progress came through loud and clear.
• Professor Michael Porter followed and reminded us all of the importance of the small businesses that really drive the economies of ALL countries.
• And then it was time for Kendall Washington, a NOLA scholar and founder of Safe Spots Pest Control, to represent his class – and he did so in high style. Kendall did share his personal story of loss during Katrina. But it was his story of building and growing that had us on our feed cheering. (I could see his very young son and daughter watching their dad on the stage and that in itself was a sight to behold). Kendall brought his remarks to a close by saying it was his honor to introduce Warren Buffett, which for him made it an even better day than the day the Saints won the Super Bowl. I believe he meant it.
Watching Mr. Warren Buffett interact with the scholars was a true pleasure. Hearing him address the scholars and their families in the Delgado gym was inspirational. He basically reminded us all that growing our businesses is personal. It’s about the money – but even more importantly it’s about the integrity we bring to the process and the value we create for all.
In sum, I continue to be honored to be a part of this program as we advance this entrepreneurial method across the United States. A deep warm congratulations from Babson College goes out to each of the Delgado scholars.
Patricia G. Greene
President’s Distinguished Professor Of Entrepreneurship