Recently, SCORE recognized TowsonGlobal and me as “Advocate of the Year” at their Greater Baltimore Annual Awards Luncheon on October 3, 2012. While I was pleasantly surprised to receive the award, it is not difficult to be an advocate for this terrific small business mentoring organization.

SCORE is a great resource for all entrepreneurs. This national non-profit organization provides free confidential business mentoring tailored to individual small business’s needs – whether for a startup or an expanding business. SCORE also conducts very affordable workshops within the community led by experienced business people. TowsonGlobal and Greater Baltimore chapter have had an outstanding collaborative relationship over the years, including one-on-one mentoring for the incubator’s member companies, regularly scheduled workshops hosted at the incubator, and more.

The relationship is complementary. One of the prerequisites for entering the incubation program is a well-developed business plan, but many of the entrepreneurs who come to TowsonGlobal are not quite sure how to do that. They need more basic guidance than our time and resources allow. By referring these people to SCORE for counseling and/or to attend one of their workshops, TowsonGlobal staff are better able to focus our energies on those who are more nearly prepared for incubation. Likewise, SCORE may refer some of their more developed clients to the incubator.

Providing a venue for their workshops at TowsonGlobal is an easy and smart thing for us to do. It builds awareness of the incubator and our capabilities and helps us bring the resources of Towson University into the community. It helps us fulfill the goal of facilitating innovation and entrepreneurship within the region.

A SCORE representative conducting an executive summary workshop for TowsonGlobal Business Plan Competition participants.

The collaboration has been particularly fruitful with regard to the TowsonGlobal Business Plan Competition.  Each fall, the incubator hosts a series of workshops to help interested people better prepare their entries, and SCORE counselors lead those well-received workshops.  A number of their counselors also participate as first round judges to help select the five finalists, and finally SCORE provides individual mentors who work one-on-one with the finalists to help prepare their completed business plans and presentations.

Our Entrepreneurs Portal brings together the information and resources of a number of respected organizations, including SCORE.  Many of the tools highlighted are SCORE guides, templates, and tutorials, which help make this a more robust and authenticated service.

The SCORE-TowsonGlobal partnership has been quite productive, and we look forward to further expansion of the relationship.  We know that we can count on them to help us excel in serving entrepreneurs within the region.  They have demonstrated time and again that they are always ready to help.