Janitor Meets Fairy GodLloyd


Remember during the dark days of the recession, when Goldman Sachs started a program to help small business? They weren't just trying to burnish their reputation as we suspected, as a totally-not-planted story about them in today's Daily News proves. They didn't just toss $500,000 on the floor and say, "Have at it, knaves." They donated actual Face Time.

Sharon Sinaswee, the Trinidad-born owner of a small janitorial company in East Harlem, didn't know what to expect last summer when she rode the elevator to the 43rd floor of the new headquarters of Goldman Sachs. Then one of the most powerful execs in the world, Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein, sat next to her. Sinaswee, the 42-year-old founder of Armada Building Services, was a member of the first class of an entrepreneurship program sponsored by Goldman called 10,000 Small Businesses. It was time for execs from the investment bank to read participants' business plans. She'd been paired with Blankfein. They spent an hour together as the Wall Street titan grilled her about her business. Among his tips: Sinaswee should cultivate a large pool of freelance handymen to tap at peak times. "He said I was on the right track," said Sinaswee, who recently added two employees to her four-person staff and scored a contract from the city's Department of Education. "I was flattered that someone in that position was so interested in me."

Sinaswee was so on Cloud Nine after this encounter, we bet she didn't even mind when someone asked her if she wouldn't mind emptying the trash cans on the way out.

Wall Street giant Goldman shares the wealth in entrepreneurship program '10,000 Small Businesses' [NYDN]