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March 03. 2013 4:18PM

Merrimack Valley SCORE needs more volunteers

NASHUA - A national volunteer organization is searching for some talented volunteers who are willing to provide their expertise to small businesses in southern New Hampshire.

Recruiting efforts are now under way to find additional volunteers for the Merrimack Valley chapter of SCORE, an organization of working and retired business professionals who provide counseling to small businesses.

According to officials from the organization, the local SCORE chapter is continuing to see a record number of applicants for services, and more volunteers are necessary to keep the program a success.

"We particularly want to get more counselors in the Nashua and southern New Hampshire area. It's a very active place for us, and we need more members here," said Tom Osgood of Nashua.

Osgood is organizing the new recruiting drive, encouraging business professionals who might be seeking a way to give back to the community to consider becoming a SCORE volunteer.

An informal, no obligation open house has been planned for anyone who might be interested in learning more about the volunteer opportunities. The open house will take place from 10 a.m. to noon on Thursday, March 7, in the board room of the Dion Center at Rivier University, 16 Clement St.

"Volunteers don't have to know it all. Most of us are generalists, with particular strengths in one or two functional areas," said Richard Clough, chapter chair. "But we need specialists too, who can offer deep experience in specific fields and can support this need within our overall counseling."

Business experience can include marketing and sales, engineering, manufacturing, contract management, retail, general management, finance and more, according to the SCORE website. Young entrepreneurs are provided with various seminars on how to start a small business and how to create high performing websites, along with workshops on taxes and small business financing.

Clough said it is a very satisfying volunteer activity in a collegial atmosphere, which includes team counseling and expert counseling when necessary. Volunteers extend their individual skills, assist clients with new business plans, help solve business problems and direct them to valuable resources and financing, according to the website.

New women volunteers are also important to the SCORE team, Clough said.

"We continue to seek more women in the chapter because they can bring different and valuable points of view to our operation and our clients," Clough said, explaining females have accounted for about half of the entrepreneurs requesting services in the past two years.

According to its website, the goal of SCORE is to help small business and startup clients avoid common mistakes, provide them guidance and help them to become successful.

The Merrimack Valley SCORE is one of 389 chapters nationwide, and is headquartered in Manchester. For more information, call 666-7561 or visit www.merrimackvalley.score.org.

khoughton@newstote.com


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