Archived Story

Ask SCORE: 50 years of ‘paying it forward’

Published 7:59pm Saturday, April 19, 2014

By Harlan Janes

The concept of ‘pay it forward’ is an old one, popularized by a movie of that name in 2000. It is the simple expression of the principle of providing service to others in return for the benefits each individual has received from others. It is the basis of much volunteerism today and very much an American trait.

In 1964, the first chapter of SCORE was formed, the “Service Corps of Retired Executives,” with a ‘pay it forward’ principle of experienced business persons providing advice and counsel without cost to aspiring small businesses, entrepreneurs and individuals wanting to start a business of their own. Over this 50 years SCORE has grown to 330 chapters nationally providing the expertise of 12,000 volunteers to America’s small businesses, now serving more than 375,000 entrepreneurs each year. Locally, East Carolina SCORE is now 10 years old and has served more than 1,000 Clients in a five-county area around Washington, and has reached many others through various seminars.

Today’s SCORE is labelled “Counselors to America’s Small Businesses” since many counselors and mentors are still on the job full or part time. The benefits of serving through SCORE remain the same as 50 years ago, however, increasing the success of small businesses which remain the majority source of new jobs in our economy. And in Eastern North Carolina, that objective is highly relevant given the state of the economy and employment in the region.

SCORE mentors each have individual areas of expertise but collectively bring together the experience to counsel most small businesses. Counselors also provide seminar leadership and have some light administrative duties, being part of a larger organization supported by the US Small Business Administration. And some counselors provide email counseling to a national clientele.

If you have business experience you would like to put to productive use, or wish to learn about different businesses, or help other people in the community, or for any other personal reason, consider volunteering a few hours a month with East Carolina SCORE. If you feel you might be more productive by focusing on teaching or performing light administrative work, SCORE volunteers can specialize.

To learn more locally, simply call Bob Schultz at 252 975-2754 or Harlan Janes at 252 975-6032. You can also visit the national web site for more insight.

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