How SCORE is serving Colorado Springs businesses today
Founded in 1964, SCORE is an all volunteer, non-profit organization dedicated to fostering small business success through FREE mentoring and low cost education programs. At its origin, the acronym SCORE stood for Senior Core of Retired Executives. Over the years, while maintaining the name SCORE, the organization has evolved to be much more as the volunteers include and represent a diverse population of entrepreneurs, business professionals (retired and working), for-profit and non-profit, private industry and government. SCORE is a uniquely American organization that synthesizes two historic ideals: entrepreneurial spirit and volunteerism.
The SCORE Colorado Springs chapter is an all-volunteer group and currently has 50 members. The chapter performed almost 1500 total services in 2019, including 1 on 1 mentoring, local workshops and on-line workshops to help small businesses succeed. The chapter has a goal of increasing this level of service by 50% and has increased the number of workshops being offered in order to achieve this goal. Through the first 7 months of the 2020 fiscal year, SCORE Colorado Springs has increased the services provided by more than 30%.
When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, the Colorado Springs chapter immediately began to offer all our services virtually via ZOOM conferencing. Like most people, the change did take some adjustments on the part of both our volunteers and clients. The mentoring did continue and many people found it to be a more desirable way to engage in business discussions. For one, we have eliminated the need to travel to a mutually agreed upon location and it is very easy to share screens for discussions around important information and data.
Workshops presented a different challenge. The core workshop we offer is for start ups and early stage entrepreneurs called SmartSTART. This learning series is comprised of seven 3 hour sessions held over multiple weeks. Because of the length of each session, our local chapter made the decision to re-configure these events to be more conducive to a ZOOM environment. The result is we broke each session down into 1 ½ hour sessions, recruited additional volunteer presenters to take on more of the workload, which is now 16 total sessions. The SmartSTART series has re-launched in June and we have seen good demand for registrations thus far.
Our other workshops continued on without missing a beat. Our volunteer presenters seamlessly pivoted to the online format and our clients who registered for these workshops continued to experience the in-person interaction so important in getting the most from the educational opportunity. Our most popular workshops right now are focused on Social Media, Digital Marketing, E-commerce, Re-Launching following shutdown, as well as ‘How to Write a Business Plan’.
One important improvement that has occurred as a result of our workshops being offered online is our ability to partner with other SCORE chapters around the country. Because of this, we have been able to offer a larger variety and larger quantity of educational workshops to help Colorado Springs businesses learn and develop in areas needing improvement.
SCORE Colorado Springs has also, for the time being, moved its physical offices to the virtual world. If you have a business or know someone who does and would like to get expert, mentoring from a seasoned professional, you can request it at: www.coloradosprings.score.org. There you will also find a number of different workshops available locally and nationally. Additionally, we offer a variety of FREE Templates and tools to help businesses succeed.
We are also always looking for additional volunteers to donate whatever time they feel comfortable with or have available. There are many areas you can help, including: Mentoring, Subject Matter Experts, Workshop Presenter, Chapter Support help. To get more information go to: www.coloradosprings.score.org/volunteer.
About SCORE: Nationally, SCORE has over 10,000 volunteers serving more than 1500 communities, represented by 250+ chapters. In 2019, SCORE held nearly 300,000 free mentoring sessions and almost 400,000 people attended either local workshops or on-line workshops. 69% of SCORE’s clients indicate the mentoring received is important to their business success. In the last 12 months, all of these services helped 29,681 new businesses get started and created nearly 100,000 jobs.
Courtesy of Colorado Springs SCORE