The local chapter of business advisory SCORE has announced an updated and enhanced educational program to go along with the appointment of Anne Driscoll as its workshop chairwoman.
Driscoll, a Westerly resident, has spent more than two decades in marketing, having extensive experience in e-commerce and the digital realm for such companies as Victoria's Secret, Guitar Center and Filene's Department Store. She took over this month from Bill Ward and Ward Feirer, who previously ran the free workshops.
Driscoll promises that her expertise in the online world will add a new dimension to workshops for the southeastern Connecticut chapter based in Old Saybrook. She has announced one new concept: a series of five workshops titled "Simple Steps for Starting Your Business" that will walk entrepreneurs and students through all the hoops required to hit the ground running with a new business.
"We did 45 workshops last year and are on track this year for 60," said Buz Sawyer, a SCORE volunteer who runs the group's Mystic office. "So many small-business owners need these workshops based on our feedback."
The nonprofit SCORE has about 40 volunteer counselors in the region, many retired business executives and managers, who are able to meet informally with entrepreneurs starting or expanding local enterprises. SCORE's nine local sites are scattered throughout southeastern Connecticut, including Mystic, New London, Waterford and Norwich.
Driscoll, who runs a marekting and business consultancy called The Greatly Agency while volunteering for SCORE, brings extensive experience in businesses of all sizes. A Trinity College graduate, she has experience in email marketing, Adwords, search engines and analytics.
"We are thrilled to have someone of Anne's experience in this role," said Margo Weitekamp, chairwoman of the local SCORE chapter, in a statement. "Anne's experience in building new age businesses in the digital sphere is particularly appealing to us."
Driscoll said she foresees the "Simple Steps" workshops as the building blocks on which other educational programs can be added. Some of the other SCORE workshops are "How to Build a Simple Business Plan," "Social Media 101" and "Branding Fundamentals."
Driscoll said many people don't have the faintest idea about business fundamentals when they start kicking around the idea of starting a new enterprise.
"Most people just have an idea," she said.
Yet many people feel funny about reaching out for help, she said, even though it pays dividends to learn from others' expertise.
"There's no reason to be embarrassed -- the've never done it before," she said.
And instead of paying expensive up-front costs, Driscoll said she can show people how to build a web presence on Wix and WordPress for pennies on the dollar.
"We try to demystify the process," she said.
The first of the "Simple Steps" workshops will begin at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 28, at CURE Innovation Commons in Groton and continue at the same time on successive Wednesdays until March 28. Entrepreneurs are under no obligation to attend all five workshops, which cover "Start-up Basics," "Business Concept," "Marketing Plan," "Financial Projections" and "Funding Sources."
Free mentoring sessions are also included as partof the series. To register or get more information, visit http://sect.score.org/simple-steps-starting-your-business or call (860) 388-9508.