Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, SCORE has grown from one small Minneapolis office in 1964 to a national organization that boasts more than 320 chapters, attracting 12,000 volunteers annually.

The premise is simple: Bring together small business owners with seasoned executives who can provide leadership, advice and guidance through all phases of company building, from creating a business plan to obtaining major funding. That type of relationship matchmaking can be stunningly powerful, according to Rick Barkley, current Chapter Chair of Minneapolis SCORE, and incoming director of that chapter.

"We have such a great history of bringing people together and creating a strong climate for startups and new businesses," Barkley said. "Sometimes, company founders need advice from someone who's been in their position, and since we attract a wide range of volunteers who have many different skills and abilities, from manufacturing to retail, we can provide that for them."

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