The Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Program was designed for entrepreneurs like me. From the moment I sat in class at Johns Hopkins University and heard Anne Donnellon run us through the 9 modules of the program, I knew I was exactly where I needed to be. The classes were well designed, practical and easy to implement the concepts learned into our existing business. Each class was led by a subject matter expert who not only had the academic credentials, but an entrepreneur who understood the joys and pains of growing a businesses.
I started my company to solve the problem of dry skin using shea butter and other natural ingredients to create lotions, balms and creams. I had found shea butter to be the perfect cure for my young sons eczema prone and chronic dry skin problems. We spent many days, nights and years honing our formulating skills creating different applications using this amazing healing balm called shea butter and we developed a line of truly amazing natural hair and body care products. What I didn’t fully appreciate at the time was that there was more to building a business than creating great products.
Our desire to immerse ourselves in the origin of shea butter led us to the shea park lands of West Africa where I made a connection with the women shea producers that would forever change my life and the mission of my business. I understood clearly why shea butter was such a valuable commodity to the women producers. I saw how the proceeds from the sale of shea butter allowed them to clothe, educate and feed their children. I realized that Shea Radiance would not only be a natural beauty brand solving skin care problems for our customers, we would be that brand that would influence the way women cared for themselves and other women around the globe.
After some years in business, I realized that great products and passion were not enough to get to the next level. A few years ago, an incredible distribution opportunity turned into a nightmare because we did not have the resources to deal with the predictably turbulent beginnings of being in a new distribution channel. My strengths got me so far but there was so much more I needed to be truly successful. I needed access to expertise, networks and capital resources to scale my business and build it into the global beauty brand I envisioned.
The Goldman Sachs Program gave me much needed access to experts and valuable networks in my local community to help me grow. It would be impossible for me to quantify the value of these networks because they are doors that keep opening to bigger doors. My greatest takeaways from the program was honing in on my growth opportunity and being able to clearly articulate how this opportunity not solved a customer problem but could impact my bottom line. I also had the privilege of working with an awesome team of scholars with diverse backgrounds and business sizes, all fully supportive of each others goals and businesses.
The Goldman Sachs Program has given me the tools and confidence to build an amazing team around the vision and mission of Shea Radiance. It has given me the access that I need to grow my business so that I can provide economic access to the women in our supply chain to grow their businesses, care for their families and uplift their communities.
If you are interested in participating in a Goldman Sachs Program, click email and mention you were referred by Funlayo Alabi