As we have written before, a 2010 survey by Pew Research revealed that Americans considered small businesses to be among the most trustworthy groups in the U.S. Among the least trusted? Large corporations. The country was still in the throes of the great recession, which many Americans still feel was brought on by the recklessness of Wall Street bankers and the corporations they serve.

So is there a connection between the positive attitude Americans have towards small businesses and the appearance of what seems to be a growing trend of large companies taking up the cause of small business? As this is a trend we strongly support at, we’ve decided to park all cynicism at the door and take the companies at their words.

Take the three large corporations we highlight below: Goldman Sachs, Whole Foods Market and Samuel Adams Brewing Company.

As we’ve read books on the histories of all three of these companies, we know about their origins and how that, at one point, each of their founders or key-growth leaders knew how to sweep out the office at the end of the day. In honor of their small business roots, or to support their business eco-system, or as part of a campaign to bolster their image, the results are all good: New sources for help that can improve the chancees of success for the small businesses benefitting from the support programs. And that’s good enough for us–at least for today.

Here are three examples of giant corporations reaching out to support small businesses.

Samuel Adams Brewing The American Dream


(Photo via Brewing the American Dream)

Launched in 2008 in partnership with non-profit micro-lender, Accion, Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream program provides loans $500-$25,000 for businesses, along with business coaching that focuses on a wide range of topics from marketing and distribution to accounting and management.

The Samuel Adams Brewing Company was started in 1984 by Jim Koch on a shoestring budget using an old beer recipe Koch found in his parent’s attic. Thirty years later, Koch and The Boston Brewing Company use the Brewing the American Dream program as a way to help small artisan businesses whose humble beginning have a lot in common with their own. Since launching the program in 2008, Samuel Adams Brewing the American dream has generated wide success, “distributing more $2.7 million dollars in capital to more than 285 small food and beverage businesses nationwide, enabling them to create and retain more than 1,800 jobs.”

Whole Foods Market Local Producer Loan Program

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(Photo via Whole Foods Market)

The fast-growing grocery chain Whole Foods Market is committed to responding to its customers’ growing appetite for food grown and produced near where they live. But when you are an international business like Whole Foods, it can be a challenge to source such product for locavores. To help make sure their stores can continue to feature products from nearby farms, Whole Foods has now started a “Local Producer Loan Program” that provides targeted fixed-rate (currently 5-8%) loans in amounts from $1,000 to $100,000. “We’re proud to support small producers who need a hand, not a handout, to help them make their dreams reality,” the company said in announcing the program.

Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses

10k businesses

(Photo via 10,000 Small Businesses)

By far the largest corporate-branded and sponsored philanthropic initiative for American small businesses was launched by Goldman Sachs in 2009. 10,000 Small Businesses (@GS_10KSmallBiz) is a program that has as its goal the support (both direct and indirect) of 10,000 U.S. small businesses. The program assists by providing business and management education and mentoring for small business owners as well as lending and business support service. 10,000 Small Businesses targets businesses with at least four full time employees that have operated for at least two years and work predominantly in underserved markets.

Post by David Hollerith & Rex Hammock

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