Our Co-Owner and CEO, Ailsa Chibnall, recently completed the 4 month MBA level program at Los Angeles City College and has joined the ranks of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Alumni. She had an amazing experience learning and growing with the other business owners, as well as the knowledgeable mentors and advisors within the program. We thought her experience would be great to share with other small business owners who might not know about the program, so we sat down with Ailsa to discuss her experience, as well as background information about the 10,000 Small Businesses program.
The Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses is an investment that helps entrepreneurs create jobs and opportunities by providing access to business support services, financial capital, and education. The program operates in 19 markets within the U.S, and was designed by Babson College, the nation’s top-ranked entrepreneurship school.
The curriculum focuses on practical business skills that can be applied by small business owners immediately. Modules range from learning how to identify opportunities, learning how to be a leader that your employees want to follow, to understanding the importance of metrics and knowing your numbers.
B7: How did you hear about the GS 10k SB Program and what made you decide to apply?
Ailsa: I received an email through our network at the Southern California Minority Supplier Development Council, and thought it sound like an excellent opportunity to learn and meet other business owners.
B7: Was there a lot of work involved to complete assignments for each module?
Ailsa: Yes. It was 100% worth it though, and I often found myself thinking about new aspects of our business, or talking to a fellow scholar about a new idea after completing an assignment. There are 2-3 classes or clinics per month, and there is a significant amount of take home assignments to do, but it helps you understand and see your business in a new light.
B7: What was your favorite module and why?
Ailsa: I honestly enjoyed all of them, but if I had to pick one, I would say that it’s a tie between the “You are the Leader” and “It’s the People” modules. I loved focusing on our company culture and talking to our team about what is important to us and why we do what we do. I also learned a lot about me as a leader, as well as the importance of defining and communicating my vision for our business.
B7: What would you recommend to other small businesses that are considering applying to the program?
Ailsa: I would say that (like with most things in life) you get out what you put in. Show up to all of the modules, clinics, and meetups, push yourself outside of your comfort zone, be honest, and most importantly, be you! This program has not only already helped me grow our business, but it has also helped me grow as a business owner and as a leader. I look forward to meeting other alumni of the program, as well as businesses that are considering applying.
B7: What’s next now that you’ve completed the program?
Ailsa: I plan to implement my growth plan, and work on the business, not in the business. I also intend to attend the meetups with my cohort, as well as the many alumni events that are taking place. All of the advisers and mentors that were involved in the program were so inspiring, knowledgeable, and supportive. I am truly grateful for this opportunity, and highly recommend this program to entrepreneurs who are serious about taking their business to the next level.
If you are a business owner that is serious about taking their business to the next level, Click Here to learn more about the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program.