SCORE Gets Hip

Think SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) and what comes to mind? Come on. I know what you are thinking: “a bunch of gray-haired, retired, white men, out of touch with today’s small businesses.”

But that doesn’t necessarily describe the SCORE of today — and certainly not the SCORE of the future.

Ken Yancey, the executive director of SCORE, is out to make SCORE better reflect the entrepreneurs it serves. An interview in Diversity Inc Magazine notes that Yancey:

…is leading a push to bring more people of color and women into the organization’s volunteer ranks. The reason? He wants the volunteers to reflect the demographics of those budding business owners SCORE assists.

“Right now, we are an older white male organization. We want to change the face of SCORE,” says Yancey of the 40-year old Washington, D.C.-based volunteer group.

Today women and people of color make up about 20% of SCORE’s counselors. The goal is 25%. SCORE believes that if its counselor base better reflects the entrepreneurs it advises, it will be much more effective.

The change started at the top. SCORE’s board once was comprised of white men with an average age of 70 — yes you read that right. Now the 16-member board includes 5 white women, one Asian-American woman, one Latino and two African-American men. The board’s average age is now 50.

Sorry there’s no link, as the piece appears only in the June/July 2004 print edition of Diversity Inc.

For our non-American readers, SCORE is a volunteer organization of counselors for small businesses and startups. Over 6 million Americans have received small business counseling from SCORE volunteers. SCORE is an excellent role model for leveraging the brainpower of the private sector to encourage entrepreneurship.

Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder, CEO and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses.