Minority Entrepreneurs

SCORE Mentors SCI Consulting, Inc. to Success

Energy, passion and a commitment to putting people first have helped Lynnette Spano build SCI Consulting Services, Inc. into a successful information technology firm, which won contracts valued at $239 million just last year. But the true secret to her success may well be her knack for asking questions.

Lynnette Spano
My Location
Vienna VA
United States
Year Company Formed
My Successes

Intrigued by the federal government’s increasing demand for IT hardware and software support services, Lynette formed SCI in the basement of her mother’s Brooklyn home and moved to the nation’s capital in order to be closer to what she hoped would be a thriving client base.

Now with more than 200 full-time IT professionals located in 19 cities across the U.S., SCI is one of the largest woman-owned businesses in the federal marketplace. Earlier this year, it was added to Washington SmartCEO Magazine’s “Future 50” list of the area’s fastest growing privately held companies. Lynette was also among MEA Magazine’s “Fifty Most Influential Entrepreneurs in Business” in 2007 and has been nominated for the SBA’s 2008 “Women in Business Champion Award.”

Lynette has a commitment to help aspiring small business owners find answers to their startup questions. She’s sharing her ideas and insights about entrepreneurship and the federal market via a speaking tour, a new Web site (www.LynetteSpano.com) and a syndicated TV show. All will stress the value of working with a SCORE mentor.

What's Great About My Mentor?

“My SCORE mentors told me that it’s one thing to have dreams, but another to execute them,” Lynnette says. “They provided guidance for creating the infrastructure that would make things happen.”

How SCORE Helped

“I went to the SBA office in D.C. to learn about being certified as a Small Disadvantaged Business, and noticed this room full of older gentlemen having a lively discussion,” Lynette recalls. “I poked my head in and asked what was going on. They said it was the SCORE office and told me all about their free mentoring services.”

That was the first of what became many visits to SCORE for Lynette, who admits she was flying blind at this point in her career as an entrepreneur. They helped her acclimate to the federal business environment, provided tips on doing research and setting a vision and plan for her.

“SCORE is a wonderful organization with wonderful people who can provide lessons learned for avoiding the pitfalls that companies can face,” says Lynnette. “They’ve been there, they’ve done it, and they can help anyone succeed.”

Cash Flow and Pro Forma spreadsheets with all formulas already in the template

Business Plan generic template. Can be modified to fit your business.

SCORE Advices Global Advanced Technology, Inc.

Shirley Young’s first visit to SCORE’s Boston office in 2003 couldn’t have come a moment too soon. The owner of Global Advanced Technology, Inc. (GATI), an information technology engineering and management services firm, Shirley had tried without success to secure contracts with the federal government and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. She felt her business offered the necessary expertise, plus a stellar track record working with some of the nation’s leading telecommunications and networking companies. Unfortunately, much of that work had disappeared due to major shifts in the technology industry and Shirley urgently needed new business in order to keep GATI afloat.

Shirley Young
My Location
Scituate MA
United States
Year Company Formed
My Successes

“Fred Larson’s insights and ideas provided GATI with an immediate—and much-needed—boost in business.” says Shirley. “Within a year, we had six contracts with the state and had become a subcontractor on a project for the Department of Defense,” she says. “And where once our proposals would generate no response, we regularly receive positive comments about the quality of their organization and content.”

GATI’s success has also enabled Shirley to share her knowledge and experience with other minority women entrepreneurs. She is an active member of the Outreach Committee of Massachusetts Affirmative Marketing Program, which works to help other woman- and minority-owned businesses participate in the state contracting system. She has also participated in a variety of high-profile events with Massachusetts’s legislative and business leaders.

What's Great About My Mentor?

Fred shared his wealth of knowledge about public contracting with Shirley, including some critical steps that she had overlooked.

“Fred helped me prepare an application to be certified under the SBA’s 8(a) small business development program and began reviewing my proposals to make sure I could justify my prices,” Shirley says. “He’s very detail-oriented, often playing Devil’s Advocate to help make my proposals as strong as possible.”

Shirley adds that Fred has also become a trusted mentor. Their meetings usually follow an agenda that covers action items for current or pending proposals; marketing, personnel and financial matters; and personal issues. “As a single mother who is the sole owner of a company, that’s very important,” Shirley explains. “Whatever affects me personally directly affects my business.”

 “We meet several times a month or even more often, depending what’s going on with GATI,” she says. “Fred is so accessible. He also passes along information that he feels will be helpful to me and my business. There’s no doubt that Fred has had a tremendous impact on GATI.”

How SCORE Helped

Attending a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) workshop on federal contracting helped introduce Shirley to SCORE and volunteer mentor Fred Larson, who had spent many years with a leading defense contractor.

Simple Steps for Starting Your Business”


Is Starting a Business Right for You?

Attend this comprehensive series of workshops to help you test your new business idea and gets you started on the right path. Free one-to-one counseling is also a part of the workshop process.


Join us for five three-hour sessions that help you understand the basics of:

  • the concepts involved with assessing a business idea,

  • marketing your product or service,

  • understanding business financials and how they work, and

  • how to fund and finance your business.


Session 1: Start-up Basics (Free) , October, 25th 4 to 7pm

This introductory workshop focuses on the basics of testing your business idea and identifying the key factors that influence start-up success. Start-up Basics provides you with an overview of the skills and tools you need when deciding to start a business. In this session, you learn about: the advantages and disadvantages of owning a business, the most profitable form for your business, and the fundamentals of formation, organization, marketing, cash flow and funding sources.

Session 2: Business Concept, Nov  1st , 4 to 7pm

The second workshop focuses on your business concept and step-by-step guidance in researching your idea, your market, and your competition. At the end of the Business Concept workshop, you are able to: identify your target markets, describe your products and services, and collect key competitive information to support your feasibility plan.


Session 3: Marketing Plan, Nov 8th, 4 to 7pm

The third workshop provides you with an introduction to marketing communication methods and tools to maximize your customer reach. The discussion in the Marketing Plan workshop covers pricing strategies, positioning, the difference between features and benefits, and different marketing strategies. At the end of this session, you will know how to: outline your marketing strategy, test your marketing message, choose the right sales channel, and exercise your marketing strategy.


Session 4: Financial Projections, Nov 15th, 4 to 7pm

The fourth workshop uses exercises to help you better understand financial concepts. This session reviews sales and prices, financial risks and rewards, true start-up costs, ongoing operating expenses, setting benchmarks for tracking progress and the organization of all your financial information. Using a hands-on approach, you learn how to use our financial model to forecast sales revenue and build solid pro-forma financial forecasts.


Session 5: Funding Sources and Next Steps, Nov 22nd, 4 to 7pm

The final workshop offers information on how to finance your small business. In this session, discussions include sources of funds, accounting the six C's of credit, banking relations, ratio analysis, and monthly preparation and review of financial statements. A bank loan officer will give an inside view of how a banker assesses the merits of business plans and loan application. At the end of the series, you have all of the tools necessary to decide whether or not to launch your small business.


First session free. Attend all five for $125.00.


Register for Simple Steps for Starting Your Business in Fort Wayne, IN  on Eventbrite

Local Agencies and Web Sites

Federal, Mississippi State and Local Web Sites

There are a variety of resources in Mason County that provide many outstanding services to the business community. Please review this listing of local entities to find out what resources are available locally to assist in the success of your business venture.

To be successful in any business, Step #1 after deciding upon a product or service is assessing whether you will sell enough of it to make your business "go." This article explains how to step through such an assessment simply, without loads of information and in as little as 10-20 minutes. Try it out or get a SCORE person to help walk you through it.  No charge, of course.



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