President David Skorton will join Former Secretary of Education Margaret Spelling and Dean Thomas S. Robertson of University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, on the advisory council for the initiative 10,000 Small Businesses. The program, Goldman Sachs’s $500 million initiative, hopes to promote growth among small businesses nationwide through “greater access to business eduction, mentors and networks and financial capital,” according to a Goldman Sachs executive summary of the new program.
Under the leadership of Warren Buffet, Michael Porter of Harvard Business School and Lloyd C. Blankfein, chairman and chief executive officer of The Goldman Sachs Group , Inc., the advisory council will oversee the initiative’s three major parts: educating small business owners, providing them with financial assistance as well as providing other support services, such as networking and mentoring.
Skorton cited his ties to Cornell as the major factor to his appointment to the council.
“Cornell as a university has a lot to offer, with strong undergraduate and graduate business education programs as well as a rural economic development outreach program through Cornell Cooperative Extension,” Skorton said.
As president of a leading institution of higher education, Skorton plans to use the Cornell community in his role on this advisory council.
“I intend to get a lot of advice from Cornell faculty, staff and students,” Skorton said.
Besides Cornell’s vast resources, Skorton also hopes that his experience on various economic advising boards will help him better serve this council’s mission. In 2008, Skorton was elected chair of a two-year term of the Business-Higher Education Forum, which focuses on solving the nation’s education challenges. Skorton was also appointed by New York Gov. David Paterson to head a task force in 2009 with the aim of diversifying the New York State economy through industry-higher education partnerships.
“I have been chairing a task force for Governor Paterson on diversifying the N.Y. state economy. This experience has shown me how dependent the success of the economy is to the success of small business,” Skorton said.
Among the major problems plaguing the development of plaguing the development of small business, Skorton pointed out the necessity for small business owners to receive “advice and mentorship to deal with many problems that small businesses encounter, like developing a business plan and human resource issues” as well as “access to capital so they can invest and grow.”
While Cornell must deal with its own fiduciary responsibilities, such a leading institution of higher education, Skorton expressed the University’s responsibility to the community.
“As a land grant University, we have a formal public mandate to serve Tompkins County’s local economy, New York state and the national economy,” Skorton said.