By Jim Williams
About six years ago, I was invited to join SCORE. Because I was recently retired, I thought it might be interesting — a chance to interact with business people, to help other businesses and those who want to start a business, using my experiences, successes and failures. Little did I know how rewarding it was going to be!
I’ve counseled more than 100 existing companies or individuals just starting a company and a real challenge was helping many of them achieve profitable success. In 2008, SCORE volunteers were asked to help the flooded businesses get grants of up to $25,000 to help them recover. All of the SCORE volunteers stepped up and within a month, many of these businesses were getting funds.
Nothing is more rewarding than to see someone start and grow a company. At first blush, I thought some of the people I counseled had no chance of success in business. By putting together a business plan and using a team of SCORE counselors, many became successful.
SCORE members meet at the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance, 501 1st St SE, atg 9:30 a.m. the first Wednesday of every month with a speaker who keeps us abreast of the activities in the business community. The 50-plus SCORE members, men and women, are a very interesting and enjoyable group. We have accountants, bankers, civil engineers, doers on every level, educators, finance people, and the list goes on. Some ran their own business, some were company presidents, some were in marketing, some had franchises.
One benefit of being active as a SCORE volunteer is that it keeps me up on the changes in the business community. In my working career, I didn’t have things like Smartphones, Facebook, Google, and Web pages. SCORE activities have kept me current (I can even communicate with my grandchildren!)
Our chapter here — East Central Iowa Chapter 227 — was selected as the 2011 national chapter of the year, beating out the other 363 U.S. chapters.
In these difficult economic times, SCORE is a community resource that provides free services to business people. We conduct free seminars at the public libraries every month, as well as a low-cost three-evening class in conjunction with Kirkwood Community College titled “How to really start your own business.”
SCORE volunteers are available to speak at any service club or organization. We work with high schools to prepare students for competition in Future Business Leaders of America.
Volunteering for SCORE is not only personally rewarding but it greatly benefits our communities. More information is online at www.scorecr.org.
Jim Williams of Cedar Rapids is a member of SCORE’s East Central Iowa Chapter. Comments: firstname.lastname@example.org