The Treasure Coast chapter of SCORE is helping new businesses win from the start.
“We’ve all been kind of fortunate in our careers and try to give back to the community,” said chairman Ken Koziol.
This Wednesday, July 11, SCORE will present a free seminar: Simple Steps for Starting Your Business. The seminar is at the St. Lucie County Chamber of Commerce (2937 W. Midway Road, Fort Pierce) from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
SCORE is a not-for-profit business mentoring program that has a partnership with the Small Business Administration. Koziol said it has 340 chapters nationally.
“The Treasure Coast SCORE is part of the Southeast Florida District,” Koziol said. The district covers from Sebastian to Key West and has five chapters, with the Treasure Coast chapter covering the northernmost counties – Indian River, St. Lucie and Martin. It also covers Okeechobee and Glades counties.
“We have 34 volunteers in our chapter,” Koziol said. “All with good corporate backgrounds. We have retired executives from (General Motors), UPS, IBM.”
And many more businessmen and businesswomen, including successful entrepreneurs. Koziol was in specialized materials manufacturing before retiring and moving to the area.
“We are always in need of people who want to give back to the community,” Koziol said. “We want to help as many people as we can with as many resources as we can provide.”
He added that the local chapter helps a wide range of businesses.
“We have everybody from barber shops to jewelry shops to restaurants,” Koziol said. “All kinds of different businesses we do our best to help out.”
With a good deal of success, Koziol offered. “Here on the Treasure Coast, last year we helped create 356 new businesses and 379 non-owner jobs,” he said.
Nationally, SCORE has been around since 1964 and has helped more than 11 million businesses by all accounts. It started as the Service Corps of Retired Executives, but, like other organizations such as AARP, dropped the name in favor of the familiar acronym to reflect its changes and expanded offerings. It started out primarily as a mentoring organization. That’s still a part of it.
“We indeed do mentoring,” Koziol said. “That’s a large part of our work.”
He explained that about 50 percent of the Treasure Coast SCORE contacts with people are for one-on-one mentoring.
In the 1970s, SCORE expanded to hosting workshops and seminars. The local chapter offers four.
Attendees at the free seminar at the St. Lucie County Chamber of Commerce will have an opportunity to continue with four more modules on the same theme that will be taught at the Indian River State College Pruitt Campus, 500 NW California Blvd., St. Lucie West. The additional modules are $80.
The seminars are only part of the funding the local SCORE raises. It does receive some money from the SBA for its services, but, Koziol said more importantly, it also has local sponsors, such as Seacoast Bank and Bank United – both community banks.
Koziol said local small businesses will want to stay tuned to the local SCORE.
“We’re starting to put together our workshop offerings for 2019,” he said.
To learn more about seminars and volunteer opportunities, visit www.treasurecoast.score.org.