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Business Observer Friday, Nov. 14, 2014 3 years ago

Business mentors increase presence

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A group of business counselors in the Sarasota-Manatee market scored a big victory recently in the effort to help entrepreneurs prosper.

A group of business counselors in the Sarasota-Manatee market scored a big victory recently in the effort to help entrepreneurs prosper.

The advisers, from the Manasota chapter of Score, a national mentoring organization for businesses with retired executives in consulting roles, topped seven other Gulf Coast chapters in several categories. Manasota ranked first in the region for total client services in fiscal year 2014, with 3,080, and was also first in year-over-year increase, with a rise of 48% over fiscal 2013. The chapter ranked second in number of workshop attendees with 1,114.

“We are trying to give the business community what they want,” Manasota Score chair Dennis Zink tells Coffee Talk, “and that's paying off in spades.”

The Score district on the Gulf Coast covers chapters from New Port Richey south to Naples. The only other Score chapters on the Gulf Coast that posted more than 2,000 client services in 2014 are Pinellas, with 2,529, and Pasco/Hernando, with 2,083, according to Score data. The Pasco/Hernando chapter is up 28.66% over 2013 and Pinellas is up 3.82%.

The Manasota Score chapter has nearly 50 volunteers. Zink says a few new initiatives have led to the increase in services and clients reached. Those include outreach with local colleges and training schools; an email mentoring campaign and monthly meetings with specific business topics set up over Meetup.com.

Another boost to the chapter is a series of podcast interviews with business executives conducted by Zink, a retired publishing executive who also facilitates Manatee Chamber CEO Roundtable meetings.
The national Score headquarters has picked up the podcasts. “We are doing a lot of new and exciting stuff,” says Zink. “My goal is to get us to be the chapter of the year next year.”

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