Score Wichita, operating out of Wichita, incorporates Hays, Hutchinson, and Topeka, and includes more than 100 volunteers. The chapter is on its way to play an important role in the national Score vision to grow 1 million new successful small businesses by 2020.
Many of these businesses will be in Wichita and other Kansas cities.
In the past two years Score Wichita has played a significant role in the national organization’s overall achievements, which included 255,094 mentoring sessions nationwide, 102,900 online educational workshop attendees, and 10,535 educational workshops in local communities for the benefit of 202,394 clients.
Score Wichita was one of the first regional chapters to roll out “Operation Boots to Business.” This program takes small business training to military personnel who are leaving the service and returning to the civilian workforce, or starting their own business. This program was designed by Syracuse University to introduce and train transitioning service members to business ownership.
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“We’ll be their wingman … offering free counseling, contracting opportunities, and access to capital,” said the new administrator of the Small Business Administration, Maria Contreras-Sweet, after visiting a “Boots to Business: From Service to Start-Up” class recently.
This year, the Small Business Administration will train 15,000 transitioning service members, introducing them to the basics of business ownership and providing guidance through partner groups nationwide, she said. That includes transitioning veterans here in Wichita.
“Boots to Business” is offered by Score Wichita at Fort Riley Army Base and locally at McConnell Air Force Base. Score Wichita is in the top three districts nationwide that are working with the military.
Wichita counselors mentor clients one-on-one, in person or online. Score selects as mentors people with business experience who can make their current and future small-business clients feel comfortable, and who can develop a collaborative bond with them as they guide them in areas of opportunity and growth.
Each new member-volunteer starts with a detailed training program, incorporating mentoring and coaching techniques and ways to access the many sources of information and methodology via the Internet.
Score is collaborating with the Wichita Public Library to expand programs and resources that focus on subjects like business plans, social media, business insurance and business finance.
The chapter is also affiliated with the Wichita Independent Business Association, a diverse group of small business people from whom some volunteer counselors are recruited. These professionals include attorneys, accountants, marketing executives, and social media strategists.
Seminars and workshops
Score conducts monthly Saturday workshops for clients who are coming for business counseling or who just need refreshers on the different business disciplines. There is a modest fee to attend these. The presenters at these three-hour workshops include both volunteer counselors and people from the business community in such areas as advertising, marketing, law, retail, manufacturing and finance.
About SBA and Score
Score comes under the banner of the SBA, which is a major source of financing assistance for many small businesses. Financing your business requires research to find the most appropriate funding model. SBA offers a variety of loan programs for specific purposes.
Score, founded nationally in 1964 as Service Corps of Retired Executives, also has worked with the SBA in a program called the Match Maker. It is where local purchasing managers and local small businesses attend sessions on how to do business with the aerospace industry.
Score member team up with SBA at the various job fairs throughout the year, and they talk to attendees of the job fairs and encourage people who may have the potential to consider starting their own businesses.
To become a Score volunteer, or to request information or an appointment for counseling, call 316-269-6273. More information about the group also can be found at http://wichita.score.org.
John Madden is a Score counselor, speaker, corporate trainer and author of “Leap, Don’t Sleep: How to get different results by doing something different.” You can reach him at 316-689-6932 or at www.LeapDontSleep.com.