Gilbert, Buffett at Detroit event
Detroit — Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and billionaire investor Warren Buffett joined Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and Gov. Rick Snyder on Thursday at the graduation of 64 local business owners from Goldman Sachs' 10,000 Small Businesses program.
A few hours later, Buffett was joined by Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert to discuss developments in the city.
Goldman Sachs committed $20 million to Detroit and southeast Michigan to help small businesses create jobs and economic growth by providing entrepreneurs with a practical business education, access to capital and business support services. It spent $500 million nationally on the program.
The graduates followed a band to the stage at Wayne State University's Community Arts Theater to the Motown hit "Get Ready."
Graduates of the program are poised to grow their businesses and create jobs that will contribute to the revival of Detroit's economy, according to Goldman Sachs Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein.
"We find the best people who are already on the verge of great success because of their own passion, own drive," Blankfein said. "We give the slightest nudge."
The program's success mirrors optimism across Detroit as the city is attempting to shed $7 billion in debt during the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history. "Everybody's pulling for Detroit," he said.
Snyder stressed the importance in the growth of small businesses to the state's success and thanked Goldman Sachs for choosing the Detroit area for the program.
"If you look at our future, it's about more and better jobs in Michigan and they're the accelerator," Snyder said of the graduates, who own such businesses as McClure's Pickles, Sweet Potato Sensation, Old World Style Almonds and Aesthetic Dental Clinique.
Bloomberg and Buffett are co-chairs of the program's advisory council.
"You're in the right country. You're in the right city," said Buffett, the chairman and chief executive of Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire Hathaway. "You've taken the right course to prepare you … and it's going to be a lot of fun to watch it all happen."