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Victoria's Score chapter seeks volunteers

By ALLISON MILES
June 7, 2011 at 1:07 a.m.

Bruce Bassett-Powell

For more information on SCORE, or to volunteer with the Victoria branch, call 361-212-0117.

A new Victoria organization is working to help businesses get up and running, but first it needs volunteers.

SCORE opened in January at 3402 N. Ben Wilson St. The organization, under the umbrella of the larger Corpus Christi chapter, aims to help people looking to start a business, or those with business troubles, said Bruce Bassett-Powell, the lone counselor with the Victoria chapter.

SCORE was originally an acronym for "Service Corps of Retired Executives," according to its website. But the organization dropped the acronym because many of its members remain active in their careers.

Bassett-Powell said he hoped to draw assistance from retired Crossroads residents with business experience who are looking to give back to the community.

The time commitment and activity is whatever the volunteer wants to give, he said, explaining a person can focus on Internet counseling, face-to-face counseling and so on. The volunteer can also focus on topics he or she is comfortable with.

Bassett-Powell, for instance, is a furniture industry consultant who has also run three businesses. He said his expertise is in wholesale and retail businesses, as well as import/export.

"I know about patents and have a wealth of experience," he said. "If I don't have the answer, there are people I can work with who will."

Eventually, he said he'd like to see the organization grow to six or seven counselors and become something that quickly comes to mind when people have business questions.

"It's volunteerism at a very important level, as far as I'm concerned," he said. "Helping people to start a business is an important ability for an organization."

SCORE's office is in the same building as the University of Houston-Victoria Small Business Development Center.

Although the two organizations are similar, they serve different purposes, said Joe Harper, director of the small business development center. SCORE focuses more on individuals in the very beginning stages of determining how and whether to begin a business, while the development center is geared more toward those who are ready to get the ball rolling.

The entities will overlap, Harper said, and can assist one another if workloads get too strained.

But he said he looks forward to growing the partnership, not only because it will free up some time for the development center, but because it also means the organizations can reach more clients.

"We're pretty excited about where this is going," Harper said. "Demand continues to grow more and more out there. We're glad SCORE's here."

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