A popular small business training and mentorship program operated by Goldman Sachs in select markets is expanding nationwide, according to the company.

Started in November 2009 with a $500 million pledge from the investment banking giant, Goldman’s 10,000 Small Businesses program has for the past four years offered mentorship, management and lending support services to small employers in 15 cities. Its three-month training courses have been likened to a mini-MBA course designed specifically for entrepreneurs.

Now, small business owners anywhere in the United States will be able to apply for management programs to be offered at Babson College just outside of Boston, Mass, ranked as the top entrepreneurial school in the country for the last 17 years by U.S. News and World Report, the company announced on Tuesday.

“When you give small businesses owners the tools they need to grow their businesses, they create jobs and strengthen both the local and national economy,” Lloyd C. Blankfein, Goldman Sach’s chairman and chief executive said in a statement. “We are pleased to be able to expand the reach of this program.”

Goldman executives announced the expansion during a hearing before the House Small Business Committee’s subgroup on economic growth, tax and capital access. The hearing focused on the importance of private-sector efforts to provide entrepreneurial education.

Goldman unveiled the 10,000 Small Business initiative in the midst of heavy criticism from the public for paying large bonuses to executives shortly after the recession despite receiving billions in federal bailout money during the financial collapse. The $500 million is split between management and counseling services ($200 million) and small business loans and grants ($300 million).

In the first four years, nearly two-thirds of employers coming out of the program reported revenue increases in the first six months and nearly half increased employment, according to the company. Companies applying to the program must have at least two years in business, four employees and $150,000 in annual revenue.

“This educational experience is tailor-made for small businesses seeking to grow and create much needed jobs,” Babson President Kerry Healey said in a statement.

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