It was a seemingly counter intuitive statement, coming from someone who mentors businesses.
“We’re not here to make money,” said Paul Gross of Palm Beach SCORE.
He and Irene Dec are the incoming co-chairs of Palm Beach Score, the business mentoring group based in West Palm Beach.
For a number of reasons, demand for SCORE ‘s services is booming. People are seeking out the non-profit for advice, tutoring and mentoring. In 2016 alone, the county’s SCORE chapter played a mentoring role in launching 250 new businesses led by entrepreneurs striking out on their own. Those new enterprises then hired 260 employees to help them grow.
SCORE also held workshops on all kinds of issues, from marketing to finance to human resources to strategic communications, attended by 1,000 small business owners. They also hosted close to 2,200 one-on-one mentoring sessions with people in business.
Part of the reason for the rising demand is demographic growth — more people moving to the county means more people in business. Part of it is economics — the Great Recession left so many people unemployed they had no choice but to strike out on their own. And part of it is cultural — there are people who simply want to run their own business.
“There’s so much demand from people wanting to be entrepreneurs,” said Gross. “This has been ongoing for a long time. It’s like a hidden thing. It’s been somewhat under the surface. It’s just that it’s now being recognized.”
In fact, Gross said that in any given month they are contacted, by phone, email or some other form of communication, by anywhere from 45 to 60 people looking to get mentored in business.
The chapter counts on roughly 60 volunteers to help their clients, said incoming co-chair Dec.
“We’re always looking for volunteers that bring business expertise and knowledge,” Dec said. “We’re always looking for talent to help mentor.”
The requests come in all shapes and sizes, and with all sorts of business plans. There’s the ex-professional football player getting into the fitness business, the company selling chocolate-stuffed marshmallows and the entrepreneur managing a food truck.
Half of their clients, Paul said, are people starting their own enterprise. the other half is composed of established businesses — individuals who’ve been running their company for two to three years and what to take it to the next level.
Score helps in a number of ways, but basically it’s by providing one-on-one mentoring, sometimes in the form of a quasi board of directors, or by offering classes on all kinds of topics and by offering business.
That said, Score is a non-profit. To keep an arms’ length independence and avoid conflicts of interest, Score mentors do not invest the companies they assist, nor do they take jobs ion them or otherwise become entangle din them. Hence, the statement that Score isn’t looking to make money, but instead helping its client businesses to make more.
“We really just want to help businesses,” said Gross. “It’s unreal the amount of talent in Palm Beach County.”
Get recognized by SCORE
Palm Beach SCORE is holding it’s 4th Annual Entrepreneur Celebration & Recognition Awards ceremony on Wednesday, May 10th, 11:30-2:00PM at the Florida Power and Light Manatee Center, 6000 N. Flagler Drive, West Palm Beach 33407.
If you are a small business owner in Palm Beach County and have attended a SCORE workshop or received mentoring from a SCORE Certified Mentor, you are eligible to apply for the award. Special consideration will be given to those businesses who are at least two years old and produced a steady revenue stream of at least $100,000 annually and have at least 1 employee other than the owner. An independent panel of judges selected from the business community of the Palm Beaches will determine the first, second and third place winners based on the following award criteria.
To submit application for Entrepreneur award, click here.