Startups, businesses SCORE big time
by taking advantage of free services

August 08, 2014
Santa Paula News

When it comes to success, sometimes you just need to score, and an organization that offers business owners and potential owners free services is one way to be at the top of the success game.

Startups and businesses can SCORE big time representatives from the Ventura County Chapter told attendees at the July Good Morning Santa Paula.

The Chamber of Commerce sponsored breakfast meeting featured Fern Perusse-Filzen and Chapter Chairman Larry Willett who explained the organization and how its been helping spur business success for decades.

The organization, now in its 50th year, offers workshops and mentoring by retired executives and businesses owners to help others become successful.

Willett said although SCORE has a close relationship to the Small Business Administration (SBA), the nonprofit SCORE is “All volunteers, a small nucleus that administers good,” through its 320 chapters nationwide.

“Most think loans when they think of the SBA but they don’t make loans... they insure them,” and most that interact with the agency “Are those getting information or assessments, or training to become certified as a government vendor.” 

Willet said SCORE has resource partners including the county Economic Development Corporation and WEV (Women’s Economic Ventures), the latter “Probably the most collaborative than any other. We have participated with WEV by putting a class for Spanish speakers together and on,” and conducted by a SCORE member.

The Ventura County SCORE Chapter has 70 members, “Not all retired... we have younger men and women that are not retired,” use their own business experience to help others.

“It’s amazing the backgrounds they have,” including, said Willet, “One member that even has a peak named in the Antarctica after him!”

Perusse-Filzen said she retired about 18 months ago: “... I always wanted to give back to the community.” 

Her son utilized SCORE when he had opened his own business and the impressed Perusse-Filzen became involved.

“Any of you can join SCORE and give your expertise to others around Ventura County... being a national organization we have several layers,” of resources that can be accessed.

SCORE offers one-on-one mentoring, online classes to fit any schedule that address everything about starting a business including writing a business plan, learning the legal aspects of startups and how crowd funding works. There are regular Webinars and templates at the ready to be downloaded.

Perusse-Filzen said Ventura County’s SCORE calendar is updated: “We do full-day seminars, nighttime seminars,” and those signing up receive regular updates on local and statewide activities including ever-changing California business laws.

One-on-one counseling for life is offered at no charge and seminars are either free or low-priced, as, “We keep it pertinent and keep it rotating,” with all the latest information and services.

She urged GMSP attendees to “Contact me, Barbara (Kroon, chamber member services director) or contact Larry,” to arrange education that “would be relevant and helpful to your business... “

“Our mission,” said Willett, is “to help the client,” whether through local SCORE services or referrals “so they can find the answer... “

And that answer will always be an honest one; in the case of startups, “We’ll give you an opinion, an honest opinion,” on how viable the business idea is, and “We’ll tell people, ‘hey, don’t quit your day job!’ “ if their idea is not doable.

The strength of SCORE is that although the volunteers all have diverse backgrounds they all share the common elements of business, financing, human resources, marketing, etc. 

In addition, Willett said SCORE has also worked with city film commissions to help them attract, service and retain more location shoots.

Ventura County SCORE, founded in 1971, was named “Outstanding Chapter” in the Los Angeles District for 2002 and 2010.

SCORE Ventura County’s list of business success stories include Kinko’s, that grew from two entrepreneurs to more than 40,000 employees worldwide (now owned by FED-EX) and “Heads above the Rest”, a tall women’s fashion company selected as the 1996 Women Owned Business of the Year.

The local SCORE has numerous other success stories from the 1,000 clients it counsels each year and the hundreds that are helped through its on-going workshop Entrepreneur Series held in the spring, summer and fall.

For more information visit

Or call (805) 204-6022.

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