Warren Buffett Speaks To Small-Business Program Graduates in New Orleans

New Orleans, La. – The 30 graduates own small businesses that include pest control, martial arts, shoe sales, construction and demolition. They received business, legal and planning advice through a nationwide program to distribute $500 million dollars from the investment bank Goldman Sachs. Buffett says his investment firm has bought many companies that started with only a few hundreds dollars.

"I've been doing things the wrong way all my life. I've been, I've been buying small businesses after they got big, and they're more expensive that way." :12

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu says the city can only benefit from the high-profile support.

"When Warren Buffett says to people I'm investing in New Orleans.' I just would suggest to you that if you would have invested with him in 1954 $10,000 you'd have $650 million in your pocket right now. So I'm betting on him and he's betting on us and I feel pretty good about it." :13

Class spokesman Kendall Washington, owner of Safe Spot Pest Control of New Orleans, says the program has given new life to the business he started in 2004 and was hit hard by Hurricane Katrina.

"We've refined our sales and marketing techniques. We've added one new employee. We've extended our service-coverage area to 150 miles from our home office We've secured over 50 new termite contracts, which is vital to our growth." :13

The program also operates in Los Angeles, New York, Houston and Long Beach, California. A second group is planned for New Orleans in the fall.

For WWNO, I'm Eileen Fleming