CINCINNATI—March 15, 2021 —An unprecedented number of local, small business owners and would-be entrepreneurs are requesting a free business mentor from SCORE Cincinnati.
The local chapter of the national SCORE network has mentored more than 200 new clients so far in 2021, a 25 percent increase year-over-year. Mentoring hours, now mostly conducted through video conferencing, are up 30 percent.
“It’s an extremely rewarding experience,” said Bill DiGrezio, a Hebron, Ky. resident and SCORE mentor since 2007. “You simply need to be a good listener and be willing to use your business experience to help.”
DiGrezio retired from Luxottica Group in 2006 as a senior vice president. His 40-year career in retail has been beneficial in counseling hundreds of people on their new or changing businesses.
Business mentor requests are completed through the local SCORE website and are usually matched within 24 hours to one of 90 volunteers who make up the local chapter.
The organization gained a few volunteers in the past year, but needs more. Wyoming, Ohio resident Colleen Athans retired from GE Aviation as vice president of global supply chain in January 2018 and joined SCORE at the encouragement of her sister, who is also a mentor.
“I wanted to use my skills in different ways,” Athans said. “Not to do more of what I’ve already done. I didn’t want to do the typical thing and serve on a corporate board.”
Athans attended just a few in-person meetings before COVID-19 restrictions went into place. In her first year as a mentor, she has helped people launch food businesses, manufacture clothing, start an environmental education program and modify procedures in a medical practice.
“I can’t say enough for the courage and passion these folks have,” Athans said. “Many of them are still working in another job while they launch a business. I help guide them and hold themselves accountable to stay on track. It’s very interesting and rewarding.”
SCORE mentors spend four to 20 hours per month helping entrepreneurs create business plans, grow existing businesses, and find creative ways to solve today’s problems. An application is available on the SCORE website.
SCORE Greater Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky and Southeast Indiana Chapter is a nonprofit organization with approximately 100 experienced volunteers who offer free mentoring in all aspects of business development and operations. The chapter offers low-cost educational seminars and maintains an extensive library of business briefs and online webinars. SCORE is the oldest and largest free business mentoring organization in the US with over 12,000 volunteers nationwide who are motivated to give back to their local communities through their support of small business.
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