With more than 10,000 SCORE mentors around the United States, it’s easy to imagine all the places you might be able to meet one. Maybe at your local farmers’ market, even?
In 2016, the Youngstown, Ohio chapter received a $5,000 grant through SCORE’s national office to promote the area Farmers’ Market.
Led by chapter chair Janet Moy, Youngstown was one of 65 recipients from more than 200 chapter proposals.
The Youngstown chapter would use the funds to provide mentoring and workshops to help the vendors improve their visibility to the community and enhance their business knowledge, thereby helping them become more successful entrepreneurs, Moy explains.
Alongside workshops on bookkeeping, small business taxes and social media best practices, Moy visited all the area markets — six in total between Mahoning and Trumbull counties — on a weekly basis, and she offered SCORE mentoring at some market locations.
The chapter also developed the Youngstown Farmers’ Market app, a free Apple iTunes and Google Play that lists markets in several Western Pennsylvania counties as well.
The chapter’s initiative attracted so many food clients that SCORE has partnered with the local kitchen incubator, Common Wealth, of which several clients are members. The incubator is attached to a restaurant, Cultivate Cafe, a co-op of 25 farmers whose ingredients are used in dishes. Moy cites Howard Mitchell as a local SCORE success: a client of several years, he developed his Fatback’s Famous barbecue sauce through Common Wealth Kitchen Incubator. Now, his product is available in more than 10 local stores.
Moy continues to mentor the cafe and visit the farmers’ markets throughout the season, “Along the way signing up more clients, handing out information on SCORE workshops, and updating information for the app,” she says. “I have met amazing people who work hard towards providing fresh organic produce to our community.” Most recently, the Youngstown Foundation granted $7,500 to Youngstown SCORE.
This chapter is just one example of the innovative work SCORE mentors do in their local communities. While they mentor businesses one-on-one, they know that the business community is stronger when it works together to create and cultivate its best work.