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SCORE chapter recognized among top three in U.S.

NNBW Staff

Northern Nevada SCORE has been named one of the top three chapters nationwide in the organization that allows small businesses to tap the expertise of volunteer retired executives.

The Reno-based chapter, which includes 34 volunteer counselors, finished second runner-up in competition among the 389 chapters nationwide. Earlier, it was named district chapter of the year.

SCORE stands for “Service Corps of Retired Executives.”

John Diedenhofen, chairman of the chapter, said the Reno-based group provided 561 face-to-face counseling sessions with small business owners and conducted another 563 via e-mail.

The group also conducted 40 workshops through the year that drew 563 people.

One set of workshops provided by SCORE provides a two-hour orientation to business ownership.

Diedenhofen said one of the most important services provided by those workshops is convincing some people that they shouldn’t get into business before they’ve invested money and time in a failed enterprise.

The organization also conducts all-day sessions that cover subjects ranging from marketing to finance for business owners.

Diedenhofen said the growing number of people who attend SCORE seminars and seek out the service of its counselors reflects the strong economy of the region.

“This is a vibrant area,” he said. “We’re getting a lot of people who want to start businesses.”

SCORE has been actively recruiting retired executives to meet the growing activity. In its most recent fiscal year, the group’s cadre of counselors grew by 10.

“Many of us retired at a rather young age and looked for something to give back to the community,” Diedenhofen said.

The counselors range from successful entrepreneurs who built large companies to retired executives who specialized in areas such as marketing for major corporations.

They devote a minimum of a couple of hours a week to SCORE, but many are much busier than that, said Richard McConnell, who heads the marketing committee for the northern Nevada chapter.

Small business owners are referred to SCORE by others who have used the group’s services, by banks and by the Nevada Small Business Development Center, with which the organization works closely.