Warren Buffett was in Michigan Tuesday to help launch a program that will invest $20 million in small businesses in and around Detroit.
Buffett is an advisor to Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Small Businesses initiative, which is committing $15 million of capital to support small businesses in and around the city. Another $5 million will go to business training for Detroit entrepreneurs.
Despite Detroit’s historic bankruptcy filing, Buffett says the city has a “huge potential” for economic growth.
“You may need a reorganization plan,” said Buffett. “Exactly what it should be, I’m not an expert on that. But I do know that the resources in terms of the people, the businesses, the history, the culture are all here to have a great city in the future.”
“The United States with a flourishing Detroit is going to be a lot better United States than without one,” he said.
The announcement at Ford Field was a who’s who of business leaders and Michigan politicians. Buffett was joined by Governor Rick Snyder, Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr, members of Michigan’s congressional delegation, White House officials, and many more.
Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein said the company would not invest in Detroit if it didn’t believe the city will make a comeback.
“It wasn’t a great city. It was the greatest industrial city in the country – probably the world,” said Blankfein. “And so, I would not bet against it, I’d bet for it, and that’s what we’re doing here.”
Businesses interested in the 10,000 Small Businesses program have until January 6 to apply.