Women Entrepreneurs

Starting a business or non-profit organization is not a trivial undertaking. The following steps should only be undertaken after you have completed your business plan and obtained sufficient funding.

Business Plan

Starting a business or non-profit organization is not a trivial undertaking.  The following steps should only be undertaken after you have completed your business plan and obtained sufficient funding.  Help in developing a business plan is available from local SCORE mentors, Online mentorsface-to-face workshops and

ATC International Launches Business With Help From SCORE Mentor

Since 1991, Amy Frey has helped Australian manufacturers gain a niche in the lucrative North American market through her small business, ATC International. Drawing on her experience as a trade consultant for the State of Victoria (which includes Melbourne, Australia’s second-largest city), Amy has nurtured ATC from its humble origins in a spare bedroom office to a 6,000-SF warehouse outside Washington, D.C. From here, she and her four-person team provide market research, business management, distribution and logistics services to clients in Australia and New Zealand.

Learn more about ATC International at www.atcinternational.net.

Amy Frey
My Location
Silver Spring MD
United States
Year Company Formed
My Successes

ATC “is surrounded by positives.” The company has added several new clients in the past few months, and is on track to grow by 10 percent this year. Amy enjoys the benefits of the Australia – United States Free Trade Agreement, which may lead to the opening of a new warehouse on the West Coast.

“Although ATC is well established, the challenges of running a small business don’t stop; they just assume a different form,” she says. “Being able to share my concerns and questions with my SCORE mentor Ann has been enormously valuable. It is also helpful to have a woman’s perspective, particularly one I respect and admire. I hope that during the course of my career, I will achieve at least half of what she’s done.”

What's Great About My Mentor?

In 2000, Amy began working with Ann Dobbs, a former partner with a supermarket chain. Ann provided help with employee relations, legal issues, insurance and banking.  She also guided Amy through the difficult task of firing a less-than-satisfactory accountant during a critical phase of ATC’s transition from partnership to corporation.

“Ann has been a wealth of inspiration and encouragement,” Amy says. “When I’m wrestling with a difficult decision or disappointed with the way things are going, she provides the wisdom and insight to point me in the right direction.”

How SCORE Helped

Despite having a tailor-made educational and professional background for this kind of business, Amy knew that even the most successful entrepreneur occasionally needs advice. Her father had been a SCORE Volunteer Mentor in her home state of New Jersey, and she recalled how the organization had helped many small business owners launch and sustain their own ventures.

“After nearly 10 years in business, I was ready for that kind of advice in my career,” Amy says. “Knowing the kind of services SCORE provided, I would have been crazy not to take advantage of it.”

Looking to Expand American Sun Control Contacts SCORE

In 1985, Karen Zaborac wanted to find work in rural Osage Beach, MO, so she could help care for her ailing father. But there were no job opportunities at the same level or even similar to Karen's corporate St. Louis employment. But little did Karen know a world of opportunities would open up for her when a friend mentioned the hot summer sun's reflection off the lake, security film and the lack of quality local workmanship.

Karen Zaborac
My Location
Osage Beach MT
United States
Year Company Formed
My Successes

Karen started researching the demand for security film, which is similar to sun tinting film used on car windows, but is break-resistant. She quickly learned most of the homes in the area are vacation homes, and believed that security film, which protects carpet and furniture from sun fading, would have a market in the area.

In January 1986, American Sun Control, specializing in break-resistant, sun-blocking security film opened its doors. Karen and her team worked hard at developing a good reputation; she trained workers to be prompt, courteous and polite. Business began slowly, but soon Karen started getting jobs and opportunities to place bids at FBI buildings and police departments. Then calls came in from all over the country requesting security film for retail windows. Karen even had the chance to bid for the J. Edgar Hoover FBI Headquarters Building in Washington, D.C. "Though American Sun Control wasn't offered the job, it was an honor to just be one of the five firms invited to bid," she recalls.

Karen has grown the business to 15 employees, who she respectively treats like family. "Much of our success is due to the hard-working contractors that are out in the field face-to-face with the client," she says. "I want my employees happy, so my clients are happy. Bottom line, you have to remember who pays your check—your clients."

What's Great About My Mentor?

With the new challenge to expand, Karen contacted SCORE for help and began working with SCORE mentor  Richard Bunk, who had owned a building products business and sold awnings in the Lake of the Ozarks area. "I met Karen at a point in her business when she was looking to expand, to offer her customers a greater line of products." Together they read the market and identified the growing need for custom awnings. After testing the market, Karen expanded to offer custom window and boat dock coverings.

Rich brought in fellow SCORE mentor George Ottman, who is experienced in manufacturing equipment costs, to provide Karen with insight for product pricing, labor costs and overhead. "These two gentlemen are invaluable. I don't know if I could ever afford this type of consulting," Karen says.

How SCORE Helped

I’m proud of what we’ve built and of what the SCORE team has done to help us.” says Karen Zaborac.

Clair David - Office Design on the Central Ave Strip

Driving west on Central Avenue, between I-475 and Central Park West in Sylvania Township, you might spot Clair David’s large store front.  If you venture into the spacious showroom, you might think you are in an interior designer’s store, and you would be partly correct. 

But as you look around the spacious display area, you will suddenly realize that everything you are looking at is office furniture, in all its variations!  

While the showroom is impressive, what really attracts Toledo-area businesses is the depth of knowledge and expertise that owner Kim Marion and her staff bring to the challenge of designing and furnishing offices for today’s high-tech and space-limited businesses.  Kim herself has 25 years of experience selling office furniture; after working for others, she decided in 2005 that the time was right to “strike out on her own.”

Kim Marion credits SCORE – Counselors to America’s Small Business – and local counselor Jack Chezek with helping her meet the challenges of running a small business.  “We need someone to talk to, someone that understands our problems,” she says.  Kim is so pleased with SCORE’s free mentoring that she sent her son in Columbus to SCORE for help in starting his own enterprise.

Kim and her staff have an impressive list of credentials and certifications, all of which can be found on their highly informative website (www.clairdavid.com), which even includes a virtual tour of the showroom in case you didn’t stop while driving by! 

Their professional approach to office design and furnishing is seen in the conference room – which is available for meetings and seminars – equipped with a “smart board” and three-dimensional design technology.  The staff emphasizes design for efficiency, helping clients to get organized and utilize office space economically – it’s called “space planning.”  This design service is offered at no charge to serious clients, who range from individuals furnishing their home office, to larger companies trying to maximize productivity – as well as provide a pleasing (and “green”) environment.

Clair David offers the whole package: a large showroom where clients can “touch and feel” the furniture; and a professional design service that brings a high level of expertise to assist today’s businesses.

SCORE is supported by the U.S. Small Business Administration, and may be reached at 419.259.7598 and www.nwoscore.org

Kim Marion
My Location
6540 W Central Ave
Toledo OH 43617
United States

Winning with Environmental Strategies


This free online webinar brought to you by SCORE and HP helps you make the most out using environmental strategies for your business.

Boost Productivity: Create a Mobile Workforce


This workshop brought to you by SCORE and HP will help you boost productivity by creating a mobile workforce.

Disaster Recovery Planning: Save Your Business


This free online webinar brought to you by SCORE and HP will help you be prepared for disaster.


A video with 3 Client Success Testimonials

This is a video Directed and Produced by Andy Crittenden (andy.crittenden@gmail.com)  It contains interviews with the founders of 3 companies that SCORE assisted.  It is narrated by our Chapter President, Michael Scotto. Watch, listen and enjoy!

How SCORE Helped

View the Video to see how SCORE assisted these three successful businesses.


B. Lou Guckian, the founder of Fish Hook, has had a long -time relationship with SCORE. More than ten years ago Ms. Guckian contacted the San Antonio SCORE Chapter when seeking guidance to help her father get his BBQ Sauce company up and running. Daddy’s BBQ Sauce became a successful manufacturer and distributor. So in 2007 when Ms. Guckian wanted to get a business plan completed to start her home-based creative writing business, she once again turned to SCORE for advice. Ms.Guckian met with three San Antonio SCORE counselors to get advice on her business plan.

Ms. Guckian specializes in helping small businesses in particular conceptualize and establish a unique and competitive brand, and helps them to apply this brand across the organization, including instilling original web sites with fresh content and in brochures.

B. Lou Guckian
My Location
San Antonio TX
United States
Year Company Formed
My Successes

In 2008 Ms Guckian was recognized by SBA as the Women-Owned Home-Based Business of the Year for the San Antonio SBA District and for a three state area.

What's Great About My Mentor?

She credits SCORE mentor Liz Lesnick with being willing to spend many hours with her to help her understand the financial forecasts necessary to complete her business plan.


Master of Arts

Communication Arts - 2005

University of the Incarnate Word, San Antonio, TX

Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences

Interdisciplinary Communication - 1993
Southwest Texas State University

How the Web Changes Marketing


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