Weston Lohry, creative director and partner of Coloff Digital, was one of the 37 small business owners selected for the first Iowa-based Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses class.

The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. paired with the Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) to bring their 10,000 Small Businesses class to Iowa for the first time. 

Weston Lohry from Coloff Digital in Forest City is included in the first class of 37 scholars.

Inaugural class members, who come from 20 different Iowa counties, represent “a diverse range of business and industry.” 

According to the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses’s website, the class is offered for free and meant to help small businesses create growth, jobs and economic opportunity through education, capital and business support services.

Lohry said the class, which started Jan. 15, is half in person and half online with 100 hours of coursework covering money and metrics, marketing and selling, risk assessment, growth forecasting, operations evaluation and a growth plan.

“The objective of the class is to identify an opportunity, identify and write an opportunity statement and then put steps in place in order to grow and achieve that, those goals that we set in place,” Lohry said.

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Babson College in Massachusetts made the curriculum and based it off their MBA program, according to Lohry.

“There are no grades,” Lohry said. “It’s the type of class that is focused on your particular business. So, instead of putting together a curriculum that only focuses on certain businesses or certain types of business, this really allows each scholar to apply these concepts to their own business.”

Lohry said he was initially interested because he does not have a formal business education, but after being in the class, he is taking a critical look at what concepts in the class could be applied to Coloff Digital, including a mission statement and core values.

“Those are things that many small businesses overlook as their primary concern is running and growing a business,” Lohry said. “So it’s really given me time to focus on those things and then focus on narrowing down what is the best opportunity for our business, where do we see the most growth, and how can we provide the most jobs for this area and how do we provide the most value that we can to this community that we’re in, Forest City.”

After presenting his growth plan pitch to the class during the last session, Lohry will graduate and join more than 7,600 business owners who have graduated from the program across the United States.

“It’s just an incredible opportunity and I’m really thankful to Goldman Sachs and Babson and DMACC and everyone in this first Iowa-cohort in getting this off the ground because it gives Iowa small businesses, the 37 of us at least, a chance to have a stronger impact in our communities,” Lohry said.

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