Updated Jun 29, 2022 - Economy

Goldman taps Buffett, Paltrow in small biz push

Illustration of a Mom & Pop's LED sign

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Goldman Sachs is throwing its weight behind an effort to bolster the beleaguered small business sector, convening a summit that includes a slew of boldface names from the worlds of business, sports, politics and entertainment.

The intrigue: The July 19-20 confab, held at the Gaylord and Nationals Park in the Metropolitan D.C. area, has a guest list that includes over 2,500 constituents of Main Street.

Why it matters: Wall Street gets much of the public’s attention, but Main Street is the backbone of the economy. It accounts for about 44% of economic activity, according to a 2019 estimate from the Small Business Administration.

  • The road to recovery from COVID-19 has been paved with lots of obstacles for small businesses.
  • Service sector establishments — walloped by lockdowns, soaring prices and labor/supply shortages — have faulted the SBA for a response they find ineffective.
  • Via its 10,000 Small Business initiative, Goldman has positioned itself as a mover and shaker in the sector.

The banking giant will call on Congress to reauthorize the SBA and redouble its efforts to provide support for mom-and-pop businesses. Featured speakers, however, aren’t the typical names associated with small biz. The list includes:

  • Goldman CEO David Solomon
  • Billionaire investor Warren Buffett
  • Academy Award winner and self-styled lifestyle guru Gwyneth Paltrow
  • Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio
  • Arizona Democratic Senator Kyrsten Sinema

What they’re saying: “Driving inclusive growth starts with supporting small businesses and providing them with the tools they need to create jobs and power our economy,” Solomon said in a statement.

Thought bubble: Although Wall Street banks are not known for their charity, Goldman’s efforts are bringing much-needed attention to an often overlooked but important slice of the economy.

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to reflect that Chris Paul will not be a participant in Goldman's Small Business summit.

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