ROYAL OAK, Mich. – In 2015, Sterling Oil participated in the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program held at Wayne State (Mich.) University in Detroit, Mich. The program was an opportunity for Sterling Oil to grow their small business, network, and create new jobs for the company.

On February 13, 2018, 10,000 Small Businesses hosted the first-ever National Alumni Summit in Washington, D.C. The Summit brought together thousands of alums from around the country to celebrate small businesses and the role they play in our economy. It was the largest gathering of small business owners in American history.

The National Alumni Summit featured speakers from industry leaders, experts, and alumni including Warren Buffett, former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, and Goldman Sachs Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein.

Jason Eddleston, Vice President of Operations at Sterling Oil, attended the summit and was able to hear about other businesses successes, networked with alumni, and listened to industry leaders and experts from around the country. He was able to meet alums outside the state of Michigan and reconnect with alumni from Metro Detroit.

Joining Eddleston at the 10,000 Small Businesses Alumni event was Jason Gittinger, Founder/Executive Producer at The Detroit School of Rock and Pop Music. Gittinger and Eddleston have a history of working together for the common good of the community.

“For me, the 10KSB alumni summit was a great experience,” Gittinger explained. “It was a wonderful opportunity to grow relationships with other people from here in Detroit who are in the same small business boat as myself. We got to spend time hanging at the events in DC and also connecting with our representatives from Michigan.

“Knowing and shaking hands with the political leadership of our region in their Washington D.C. offices is a tremendous connection for someone in small business. As for growth, I see these trips and experiences as the groundwork for many years of friendships and business relationships. As time goes on, these connections will sprout and grow into significant help and support for not only our school, The Detroit School of Rock and Pop Music; but also the myriad of organizations and groups we all participate in the community at large.”

In the 2018 Progress Report for Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses report that 47.1 percent of business owners reported job growth within six months and 56.5 percent after 30 months. Sterling Oil saw an increase in hires as well as an uptick in revenue following the program.

Eddleston, who joined his family-owned small business in 2006, decided to strengthen the company’s policies and procedures following the program. He learned how valuable that documentation is and began to syphon information from the owners, creating policies and procedures that any employee can have access to at any time.

Eddleston credits the program for the strong network of small business owners and operators he has brought together to discuss ideas, issues, and problems. “I’ve developed a network of small business owner/operators in the Detroit area that I am able to discuss business issues/problems with. Once the discussions are over, we come up with a plan of action on how best to deal with the issue. It is nice to have that network of owners to discuss our problems and issues and get honest feedback.”

“The 10KSB program was a great foundational “business” experience for us to go through,” Gittinger explains. “Having started business life as an artist and drummer, it was a great confidence boost to know that our business practices and operational skills were not only on-point, but exemplary. That, coupled with the access to friends and organizations in the program who also excel in their fields like Jason Eddleston and Sterling Services, makes the long-term value of the program a game changer for a small business. Ultimately, the information was wonderful, but these relationships will last a lifetime.”

The network of owners Eddleston has curated continue to meet regularly for lunch. They discuss business issues and problems while learning from each other on how to improve their businesses. 10,000 Small Businesses brought them together, but it is the love of their companies and communities that keep them connecting.