SCORE and OPEN from American Express Partner to Create Mentorship Program and Workshop Series to Help Enhance Small Business Growth

OPEN from American Express today announced a national partnership with SCORE Counselors to Americas Small Business to create the Small Business Speed Coaching Test Drive, a multi-city seminar tour designed to support small business growth and trigger success through complimentary educational and mentorship programs.

The Small Business Speed Coaching Test Drive series offers small business owners exclusive, 30-minute, one-on-one evaluation sessions with experienced business coaches from SCORE, and interactive workshops focused on areas that directly affect small business growth, including strategic business planning, effective marketing and business finances.

Growth is an important issue facing small businesses today with more than one-third (37%) of small business owners reporting growth of their business as their company's single most important priority over the next six months, according to the OPEN from American Express Small Business Monitor, a semi-annual survey of business owners conducted in Fall 2007. In addition, 70% of business owners believe their marketing investments are effective in promoting growth, but less than half report seeing a direct uptick in sales from their marketing efforts.

For small business owners, growth requires innovative thinking and a customized approach, said Marcy Shinder, vice president of OPEN from American Express. OPEN is proud to partner with SCORE to provide small business owners across the country with individual counsel from seasoned experts with the ultimate goal of helping to identify new avenues of strategic growth.

SCORE is bringing speed coaching to cities across America. Entrepreneurs can test drive our free services and discuss their greatest challenges with a seasoned business counselor, says Ken Yancey, SCORE CEO. Yancey adds, We are pleased to have the support of OPEN from American Express to host this national speed coaching tour, starting in Orlando, one of our nations most vibrant communities.

More than 250 small business owners are expected to attend the seminar kick-off in Orlando, Fla. on Thursday, November 8 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Walt Disney Swan Hotel. Complimentary parking will be provided. Additional seminars will take place in Phoenix, Ariz.; Atlanta, Ga.; and Chicago, Ill. in 2008.

Featured topics and speakers of the series include:

  • Building a Business Plan for Growth by Skip Honigstein, SCORE assistant district director. Honigstein held high-ranking leadership positions in the health care services industry during his 28-year career, which focused on strategic and financial planning, operations, budgets and turnarounds.
  • Marketing Your Business by Jerry Ross, Disney National Entrepreneur Center executive director. Ross is an entrepreneur and business executive whose two decades of experience include leadership positions with major corporations and ownership of several successful companies in Central Florida.
  • Success Stories, a Q&A-style workshop with established business owners.
  • Following the Money by Jennifer Wybraniec, OPEN from American Express
  • Luncheon Keynote SpeakerJacob Stuart, Orlando Regional Chamber of Commerce president. During his 20 years as president, Stuart has guided the chamber to a prestigious five-star accreditation from the Accrediting Board of the United States Chamber of Commerce. He has worked to provide lifelong learning opportunities for business and community leaders in Orlando.

In addition to meeting with a SCORE counselor at the event, attendees will learn about local SCORE chapter resources and can continue counseling sessions in the future.

More information about the workshop is online at www.score.org/OPEN_events.html.

Registration is free and available on a first-come, first-serve basis at www.bmmreg.com/amex. A maximum of two people per company may attend the event. Limit one coaching session per business. All attendees are eligible to participate in the coaching, workshops and luncheon.

About SCORE

Since 1964, SCORE Counselors to Americas Small Business has helped more than 7.7 million aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners through counseling and business workshops. More than 10,500 volunteer business counselors in 389 chapters serve their communities through entrepreneur education dedicated to the formation, growth and success of small businesses. For more information about starting or operating a small business, call 1-800/634-0245 for the SCORE chapter nearest you. Visit SCORE on the Web at www.score.org.

About OPEN from American Express

OPEN from American Express is dedicated exclusively to the success of small business owners and their companies. OPEN supports business owners with unparalleled service. With tailored products and services, the team delivers purchasing power, flexibility, control and rewards to help customers run their business. Specifically, business owner customers can leverage an enhanced set of products, tools, services and savings, including charge and credit cards, convenient access to working capital, robust online account management capabilities and savings on business services from an expanded lineup of partners. To obtain more information about OPENSM, visit OPEN.com, or call 1-800-NOW-OPEN to apply for a card or loan. Terms and conditions apply.

Contacts:

National:
SCORE
Michael L. Keaton, 202-205-7637
Director of PR & Communications
media@score.org
or
OPEN from American Express
Rosa Alfonso, 212-640-1712
Director of Public Affairs
rosa.m.alfonso@aexp.com

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