Akron – Akron SCORE assisted more than 400 small businesses in its four-county service area in 2013 through one-on-one mentoring and workshops designed to give clients improved business skills.
More than 1,000 counseling sessions were conducted during the year, with a 7 percent increase in clients requesting more than one counseling session. “Our counselors have experience in virtually every business discipline and we can put together a custom counseling team to cover the needs of our clients,” said Tom Duke, chair of Akron SCORE.
A total of 86 workshops were held during the year, with the majority being conducted at The Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at The University of Akron. Approximately 1,400 entrepreneurs attended the workshops with topics such as business basics, business plan, financial management, marketing techniques, selling, QuickBooks, international business, building a website, social media and patent basics. Workshops were also conducted at other sites in Medina, Portage and Wayne counties.
Counselors contributed 10,680 hours of their time during the year, an average of 168 per counselor. “All of this time and expertise is donated at no charge by our counselors,” said Duke. “If a for-profit counseling firm had supplied these services they would have been worth more than $1.6 million at the going rate of $150 per hour,” Duke said. The businesses who are counseled add many millions more to the local economy.
Akron SCORE continues to be a partner with the Akron Urban League in the Partnership for the Minority Business Accelerator (PMBA) program in which it is mentoring 16 minority and women entrepreneurs. In addition, the Student Entrepreneur Mentoring Program directed at students at Kent State University and The University of Akron was initiated in 2013. This program is for students who want to start a business.