SCORE: Business group returning to Grand Valley

Jack Scott
Jack Scott
Jon Maraschin
Jon Maraschin

Phil Castle, The Business Times

An organization that offers a range of  free services to entrepreneurs soon will return to the Grand Valley.

SCORE will be back in operation and offering services at the Business Incubator Center in Grand Junction within two to three months, officials with the organization and center announced.

“We’re excited to be back here,” said Jack Scott, a district director for SCORE in Colorado and Wyoming.

Scott said the group offers what he described as a “huge breadth of resources.” That includes face-to-face counseling and mentoring with volunteer business professionals from a variety of industries as well as additional information and assistance from the website at www.score.org.

Jon Maraschin, executive director of the Business Incubator Center, said SCORE will add to the range of services already offered there, in particular access to a network of more than 11,000 business mentors. “I really do see it as another tool in our tool box.”

Some of the details still must be worked out, Maraschin said. It’s yet to be determined whether SCORE will operate at the center as a stand-alone chapter or part of the Denver chapter. Nonetheless, Maraschin said he expects SCORE services to soon be available, including those offered by local mentors.

A group of volunteer SCORE counselors previously worked out of the center, Maraschin said, but dropped their affiliation with the organization. Many of those counselors continued to work with clients at the center as coaches.

Working with SCORE again will be like “putting a pair of comfortable shoes back on,” Maraschin said.

Celebrating its 50th year in operation this year, SCORE has helped more than 10 million entrepreneurs since it was launched during the Lyndon Johnson administration in 1964, said Ken Yancey, chief executive officer of the group.

More than 11,000 working and retired business professionals now share their expertise and advice with clients, Yancey said. During the last fiscal year alone, SCORE provided nearly 500,000 services, including almost 11,000 face-to-face and online business workshops.

SCORE helps entrepreneurs start on average 38,000 ventures a year, creating 72,000 jobs, he added.

Yancey said too many small businesses fail because of mistakes that could have been prevented. SCORE helps entrepreneurs avoid those mistakes because many of the volunteer mentors who work with the group have already been there and done that.

Scott agreed. “We try to prevent clients from making the same mistakes.”

Scott himself previously worked in senior marketing, sales and product management positions for IBM, Memorex and Storage Technology. He’s also among the founders of the Evaluator Group, a Boulder-based firm that offers analysis of information management and data storage.

While SCORE mentors offer advice, it’s up to the clients to do the work, Scott added.

Maraschin said he expects SCORE services to fit in well with other services offered at the Business Incubator Center, including counseling and classes offered through the Small Business Development Center there.

The difference, he said, is that SCORE offers access to a national network of counselors with a broad range of business experiences.