By Michael Vannata
SCORE, a part of the Small Business Administration (SBA), is a nonprofit association dedicated to educating entrepreneurs and helping small businesses start, grow and succeed nationwide. The Naples SCORE chapter has over 60 volunteers with a wide variety of business backgrounds. In addition to counseling, SCORE offers a variety of educational workshops on topics of interest to small businesses.
SCORE Naples has initiated an Education Alliance Program that collaborates with institutions of higher learning including Florida Gulf Coast University, Lorenzo Walker Institute of Technology, Hodges University, Ave Maria University and Edison State College to provide a range of services designed to benefit their students.
Its primary goals are to foster entrepreneurship; retain talent in the local community; provide financial assistance to deserving students through annual scholarship grants; assist students to gain business experience through internships; provide guidance and career mentoring; and encourage young talent to become our clients.
SCORE Naples Education Alliance reaches out to students via the following programs:
* Scholarships: We plan to award $1,000 scholarships in partnership with our donor sponsors in December to deserving, qualified students who have shown an interest in business and entrepreneurship as well as demonstrated leadership skills and community service. Candidates must be citizen or legal U.S. residents, achieve a 3.0 grade point average and have completed their freshman year from a local college or adult learning school in Southwest Florida. Applications are available in school financial aid offices. Applications must be submitted by Oct. 30.
* Internships: We identify business school students interested in entrepreneurship to work in the Naples SCORE office either for college credit and/or for the experience gained. In a recent Wall Street Journal article it was pointed out that an Internship is often a key differentiator when seeking employment. This is accomplished in a variety of ways so that students gain hard-to-obtain insights into the world of small businesses with its various challenges and successes. Interns:
Participate in client services/office management practices.
Participate in client counseling sessions
Attend and contribute to SCORE chapter and committee meetings
Attend business education workshops
Receive online consulting training
Are assigned relevant projects to complete
Receive career mentoring assistance
Our chapter will be launching an intern matching service mutually beneficial to local businesses as well as student interns who seek to gain relevant business experience.
* Mentors: We aim to collaborate with our education partners to identify and provide students with tailored guidance, insight and advice as they determine their career goals in preparation for achieving them. Our chapter accomplishes this by assigning current and former business professionals who are specifically trained and dedicated to assisting them research the marketplace, learn where the jos are, set goals and market themselves.
For information about scholarships, contact me at SCORE, 900 Goodlette-Frank Rd. N., 34102, or email firstname.lastname@example.org, phone 617-827-4589; for other programs contact Vin Izzi at SCORE by mail or phone, 239-404-4415, or email email@example.com.