Grand Strand SCORE Ranked Second in the USA

Norm Paige (right) presents the Award to Sam Bookhart, Chapter Chairman for 2008

March 19, 2009

SCORE South Carolina District Director Norm Paige announced on March 19 that the National Office of SCORE in Herndon, VA has named the Grand Strand SCORE Chapter to the number two position nationally among the 370 chapters across the country. "This honor is well deserved. The Grand Strand SCORE Chapter has continuously grown and served local business people with outstanding resources and counseling. Given the smaller size of the market they serve versus New York or Chicago, they should be proud that the excellence of their efforts is well recognized."

Each year, SCORE chapters submit their achievements to National Headquarters in the areas of counseling, workshops, seminars and total services as well as testimonials from clients and community members. Client feedback is an important component. "The Grand Strand Chapter has one of the highest rates of client satisfaction we have since National began collecting data," said Paige.

Grand Strand SCORE provides increasingly outstanding small business services to a 60 mile stretch of Carolina Low Country. While the regional economy depends largely on tourism and hospitality, Grand Strand SCORE expertly guides not only the formation and improvement of businesses in the hospitality industry, but also businesses from manufacturing to retail to E-Commerce. Total services increased 30% in 2008 over 2007 which improved on the previous year's 19% increase. Follow-on contacts stands at 35%, the highest in the district. The number of workshops and number of attendees remained at a high level after a substantial increase in 2007. These achievements are in the following areas:

Volunteer Skill Refinement - This provides a significant improvement in the delivery of quality services and focus on client needs. Refined skills resulted in steady improvement in the number of services delivered over the past two years. Total new client cases rose 31% in 2008 over 2007 after rising 144% in 2007 versus 2006. The total of all types of sessions rose 54%.

Community Outreach - Grand Strand SCORE embarked on a major effort to develop and deliver an agenda targeting diverse populations to address the needs of minority communities. These reached a further level of maturity. The Junior Apprentice program was expanded to 40 students from now includes the entire Georgetown County School District. Junior Apprentice teaches business concepts and team building to7th and 8th graders.

Business Community Alliances - The chapter continued to forge significant relationships with the SBA, local Chambers of Commerce, and other business and educational agencies. Targeted workshops and seminars to the community at large, Chambers of Commerce, and other entities met with an increased level of significance due to the economic downturn. The newly formed Advisory Board, made up of a wide selection of area banks, newspapers, and other businesses, met quarterly and proved to be an excellent resource for the chapter.

SCORE U - This workshop program continues to be the most comprehensive and inclusive program the chapter has ever offered. After an enormous 100% increase in chapter presented workshops for 2007, they continued at a consistent level for 2008. It placed a new emphasis on developing initiatives for addressing the impact of the business downturn. From this major thrust, they designed a series of workshops for existing businesses adversely affected by a slowing economy. This significantly increased the number of business issues they can address and will come full fruition during 2009.

SCORE awarded first place to the San Diego Chapter which serves a population approximatley 10 times more than the Grand Strand further underlining the exceptional quality of Grand Strand SCORE's efforts.