Many times when an entrepreneur has a great idea, business guidance is needed to get it from conception to market. That is where a mentor from SCORE can help.
Steven DeFonzo, owner of From the Hearth Pizza, a catering company based in Carrollton, received help from Jemal Harris, a freelance consultant and director of operations for Peninsula SCORE, with his business plan. DeFonzo needed funding to purchase a mobile brick oven.
"He loved my idea, but I was having a hard time getting funding with the business plan I had," DeFonzo said. "We tweaked it. Then Jemal introduced me to Adrian Banks at First Advantage. Within two weeks after submitting my plan, I had funding
Navy pilot Dave Hunt had an idea to make the jump rope a better workout with his invention Crossropes. Hunt houses his business at the Peninsula Technology Incubator in Hampton, having moved it from Florida where he was stationed. Not having Hampton Roads connections proved to be an obstacle.
"I tried to secure financing for growth; I hit a wall from two previous lenders," he said.
"Then I met Jemal, and he linked me with opportunities that gave me an instant impact," Hunt said.
"Working with SCORE and Jemal gave me an idea of the big picture, especially for when I get out of the Navy," Hunt said. "It is a good program."