Nonprofit SCORE provides education and mentoring services to small-business owners across the US, with more than 10 million clients so far.
Courtesy of SCORE
Ken Yancey knows a thing or two about business.
And as chief executive officer of SCORE, a nonprofit organization that helps small businesses to start, grow, and succeed, he gets to put that experience to work on a daily basis.
The Texas native began working at SCORE in 1993, after learning about the organization while at another nonprofit. A banker by training and a longtime fan of small business, he was drawn to the organization’s mission.
“I love small business, I like small business owners,” says Mr. Yancey, who adds that the passion, drive, and enthusiasm among entrepreneurs and small-business owners is empowering.
For close to 50 years, SCORE has been providing education and mentoring services to small-business owners across the country. In fact, more than 10 million clients have relied on the services of the organization at no cost, or at a very low cost.
From one-on-one counseling by volunteers to a series of workshops and seminars, SCORE works to unite small-business owners with the tools necessary for their growth and success.
And with more than 12,000 volunteers and some 340 offices across the country, its services are widely available.
“SCORE exists at the intersection of two uniquely American concepts – volunteerism and entrepreneurship,” says Yancey, noting both the desire of volunteers to dedicate their time to helping clients and the desire of clients to reach for their goals and dreams. “That’s really where SCORE works.”
In the more than 10 years Yancey has been at the helm, he says, SCORE has seen growth in demand for its services as well as a shift in the type of clients seeking help.
“For a while, during the economic downturn, we saw more people who were accidental entrepreneurs,” he says. “They were starting businesses because they lost their jobs, or life circumstances dictated they had to do something other than their original chosen field.”
Of course, today’s small businesses are also much more aligned with social media and the Internet – meaning that SCORE's portfolio of educational topics has also expanded.