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Retirees help business hopefuls know the score, Ellsworth Chamber told

For people who have business ideas, but need help making them reality, there's hope.

Members of the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) lend their expertise to these prospective entrepreneurs, Rich Lyon of the organization's Red Wing chapter told the Ellsworth Chamber of Commerce Thursday. The group serves to mentor and coach business hopefuls.

"Our members are retired engineers, marketers and bank presidents," Lyon said, noting Red Wing's chapter is the smallest of six in Minnesota. With a paid staff of 20, SCORE relies on volunteers for its 380 chapters across the U.S., he added.

Lyon admitted SCORE's clients can easily go elsewhere for assistance, such as to the Small Business Administration. But he and the other volunteers enjoy making relationships and hearing about all kinds of business proposals, ranging from specific plans to inquiries from people who have "no idea of what they want to do."

He cited someone who "always wanted to run a hardware store" and another person who "had two businesses and wanted to sell one" as examples. Inventors are typical clients, he said; they may have an idea but no money or vice versa and sometimes even both. The biggest change since he began with SCORE has been contacts no longer strictly via phone calls, but through e-mails and the computer internet as well.

SCORE in the Twin Cities puts on seminars and workshops, Lyon said. The public can get more information by going to Google and typing in "SCORE" on their computers. Since its establishment in 1964, the organization has been responsible for now contributing 25,000 jobs per year nationally.

Read more in the print version of the Herald June 2.

Bill Kirk

Bill Kirk was editor of the Pierce County Herald in Ellsworth, from 1988 to February, 2015 and is now on staff as a reporter. He holds a bachelors degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He previously worked in the media distribution department at the University of Minnesota's Minneapolis campus and is past editor of The Tri-County News in Osseo, Wisconsin.

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