A SCORE for Entrepreneurs
Congratulations to Roxie Gardner of SeersuckerGypsy and Brandy Stellingworth of Retrofit Sip-n-Seat for winning the first-ever Start-Up Hartsville competition. I commend the Community Foundation for a Better Hartsville, the Duke Energy Center for Innovation, and Main Street Hartsville for bringing this opportunity to entrepreneurs in Hartsville. For three months, contestants perfected their business plans and sales pitch with the hopes of winning seed money and services donated by local businesses.
I watched in awe and appreciation as the four finalists opened their ideas to the public. The presentations were impressive and I secretly found myself wishing all four could somehow come away with the big prize. I was elated to find out that all four entrepreneurs plan to proceed with their plans by opening their businesses by the end of 2015. Their decision to invest in their businesses in Hartsville is a win for them, for the city, and for the community.
One of the winners, Roxie Gardner, took the leap a few months ago and began meeting with the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE). SCORE is a program offered through the Greater Hartsville Chamber of Commerce that offers free counseling to entrepreneurs and small business owners. The SCORE volunteers in Hartsville serve the Pee Dee region, helping clients from Darlington’s neighboring counties. Since its founding over 20 years ago, Hartsville’s SCORE chapter has been mentoring new and emerging businesses, and helping them achieve success.
Roxie is just one such success story; the local SCORE counsellors have also provided expert advice and guidance to Berri Lane, Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork, and image by jessi, all of which are thriving in Hartsville. The counselling services are always free, always confidential, and individuals seeking assistance can make as many follow-up appointments as they need. Due to their confidential nature, SCORE meetings are by appointment only. You can make your appointment by calling the Hartsville Chamber at 843-332-6401. There is nothing to lose and everything to gain if you are thinking about becoming a business owner, or you are already in business. Your business can be the next Hartsville success story, just like SeersuckerGypsy!