A simple idea combined with a little professional expertise can provide a solid start for a new business.
The Youngstown chapter of Service Corps of Retired Executives on Wednesday recognized four of the businesses it has helped in the past year. SCORE provides assistance at no charge to entrepreneurs in the process of starting or in the early stages of running a small business.
Kari Kreutzfeld, who runs Mobilelogh, a company that designs flash drives for high schools and colleges to provide fundraising and marketing information, is one of those success stories.
The 25-year-old graduate student at Youngstown State University started her company when she was 23 and received help from the organization in marketing her product. The flash drives now are available at six high schools and four colleges, Kreutzfeld said. “I never used a flash drive when I was in college. I would always lose them or they would break,” she said. “That’s what gave me the idea to put them on a lanyard.”
Creating the covers for each school is the fun part of the job, Kreutzfeld said.
“I’ve always been creative,” she said.
Susan McConnell, owner of New Wilmington Child & Family Counseling, said her uncle helped her contact SCORE.
The group provided her with advice that first helped her open her business on a contract basis and then in the transition to full time, McConnell said.
“They also helped me with marketing and with the creation of a website, which I’m very proud of,” she said.
The other two companies recognized were The Daily Grind, a Girard coffee house; and Sunshine and Lollipops LLC, a child-care center in Struthers.
SCORE is an effective program because of the people who dedicate their time to helping small business, said Terry Deiterick, a member of the Youngstown SCORE chapter.
“There hasn’t been one meeting with a client where I haven’t learned something — learned something about a subject I thought I knew a lot about.”
The SCORE offices are in the Williamson College of Business at YSU. Dean of the college, Betty Jo Licata, was one of the speakers at Wednesday’s luncheon.
“You make an investment in our students. It’s an investment they will continue to receive rewards from for years to come,” she said.