The face of Cincinnati entrepreneurship is changing, and one local group is working to support that change.
SCORE Cincinnati has long provided free business coaching and other resources for existing and new businesses, and the organization is currently tightening its focus on female and minority entrepreneurs. Its goal is to provide one-on-one mentoring and access to legal and financial resources via experienced Cincinnati leaders from those underrepresented groups.
SCORE Cincinnati executive director Betsy Newman“Recently, SCORE increased the number of both women and minority mentors in our ranks to better reflect and serve our clients,” says executive director Betsy Newman. “Currently, 58 percent of our clients are women and 39 percent are minorities, so it makes sense for us to reach out to experienced female and minority businesspeople and recruit them as expert mentors.”
In addition, SCORE facilitates a Women’s CEO Roundtable group that consists of 12 female business owners from non-competing organizations. The newly launched group meets monthly to promote discussion and confidential feedback between female CEOs and business owners.
Karen Williams relied on SCORE’s programs and services in starting her own business, Sewendipity Lounge, which offers a wide range of sewing courses and supplies.
“SCORE gave me the confidence to do something I’ve never done before,” says Williams. “In my former job, I learned every day, but it was nothing like having your own business. What really helped me the most is having the support of other women.”
Sewendipity Lounge recently celebrated one year at its downtown location, which is roughly the same amount of time that Williams has been a member of SCORE’s Women’s CEO Roundtable.
“When you see other women doing amazing things, it gives you the confidence to try new things too,” says Williams. “Many of us share similar issues, so you don’t feel alone. I call the roundtable a ‘finishing school’ for woman business owners. You get a little hand-holding and the camaraderie of other women. It’s been a wonderful experience and I highly recommend it.”
SCORE’s partnerships with the UC Entrepreneurial Center, Aviatra Accelerators (formerly Bad Girl Ventures), Cintrifuse, the Hamilton County Development Center, Morning Mentoring, Queen City Angels, MORTAR and The Hamilton Mill have resulted in making more than $500,000 in small business loans available to more than 600 female entrepreneurs since 2010.
Upcoming SCORE events include:
- April Member Meeting, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., April 21
- Small Business Dream to Reality (Part 1), 9 a.m. to noon, April 22
- How to Build a Marketing Campaign to Meet Your Growth Objectives, 9 a.m. to noon, April 29
- Small Business Dream to Reality (Part 2), 9 a.m. to noon, April 29
- Your Nonprofit Dream to Reality - What It Takes, 8:30 a.m. to noon, May 6
- Score Presents: The Business of Food, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., May 8
For more information about SCORE resources and events, or to volunteer as a mentor, call 513-684-2812 or visit greatercincinnati.score.org.