Aroma Artisan Pizza was recently part of the inaugural class of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Program. The class will last edfor three months, with scholars taking a blend of in-classroom and online learning. The classes are designed to cover everything from identifying growth opportunities, refining operations processes, marketing and selling, understanding and using financial statements and leadership training. For more information on the Iowa-based program, or to apply for future Iowa-based classes, please visit www.10KSBapply.com/Iowa.

The following is an interview between Aroma Artisan Pizza Owner Carol Elliot and Main Street:
Main Street: How did it feel to be a part of the inaugural class of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Program?
Carol: I’m so proud to be part of the first 37 businesses who were chosen to complete the 10KSB program.  While there are always a few bumps being part of a newly developed training model for states, it was invaluable education in growing my business.  
What was the application process like?
The process was lengthy, starting with the application, profit and loss statements and balance sheets for the past two years.  Of the initial applicants, I was selected to be part of the group that interviewed at DMACC in Ankeny, where I met other applicants, staff from Goldman Sachs and leaders from around the state.  It was thrilling to have been chosen to participate.  
I understand the class was a combination of in-class and online training – what was the toughest part?
The in-class training was invaluable in terms of developing relationships with the other entrepreneurs and advisors.  We all came from very different businesses, but we quickly learned that we had so much in common.   The online training and additional support provided additional instruction and insights.  For me, the toughest part was the finances, both current business models and financial forecasting for our future plans.   Thankfully, they provide both the training and support to help us learn the tools.  
What were a few things you have learned that you have applied to your business, or plan to in the future?
I think the first thing I learned was the need for better financial tools.  I’ve been working with Amy Heinen of Quick Action Accounting and have made improvements.  The operations management section helped me to refine my processes as we’ve expanded our mobile business.  The support continues beyond graduation in working with my colleagues from my cohort group as well as being a part of over 8000 graduates of the 10KSB program.  I’ve already connected with other graduates in my field and truly appreciate this network.  The energy, creativity and positive attitudes inspires me.  
What are you most excited about for your business heading into the summer?
Our goal this summer is to continue to delight customers at the Market, while expanding our mobile business.  May was exciting as we were part of  several  graduations and weddings.  We look forward to continuing this trend all summer and are already booking 2020 events.   
Would you recommend the program to other district businesses, and why?
I strongly recommend the 10KSB program to others in the district.  It was challenging, but so very rewarding.  While I learn much from my colleagues in the Market and the District, 10KSB adds even more to my professional development.  
 
The second cohort group is currently midway through their training and applications for the winter 2020 class are being taken now at https://www.10ksbapply.com/iowa  Two District Businesses are currently enrolled in the second round: Quick Action Accounting and Collective Data.  Carol would be happy to chat about the process and the program for anyone interested. She can be reached at:aromaartisanpizza@gmail.comor 319-573-0727.