GALION — SCORE raised its flag in Galion last week when Galionite and retired business executive Mike Mateer was accepted into the program as the SCORE mentor in Galion.
The SCORE mission is to foster vibrant small business communities through mentoring and U.S. Department of Labor’s Small Business Administration (SBA).
“Small business is the life blood of a small town,” Mateer said. “Whatever SCORE can do to educate and encourage people to start a small business in Galion or Crawford County, to mentor and help those in the process of starting up that small business, or to help those already operating a small business to grow and prosper, is our purpose.”
Mateer, a Galion native and a 1972 Galion High School graduate, is a retired U.S. Army officer who then joined the business community. He spent 21 years in his business career primarily in medium to large businesses where he performed many years in corporate upper management positions of vice president and president. Retiring in 2016, he returned to Galion. Among other community involvement since his return, Mateer is a member of the Galion Fairview Cemetery and the Galion Historical Society boards of director. He is a member of the Galion school board member and is the board liaison to the Galion Betterment Commission. Mike also is a co-founder of Experience Galion, Inc., an organization that is focused on Galion Revitalization efforts. He’s excited about the advice SCORE can provide.
“North Central Ohio SCORE reached out to me after a referral by Dave Beach, president of First Federal Savings and Loan,” said Mateer, who is excited about the possibilities of this venture. “We spoke and determined I would be a good fit for Galion and Crawford County.”
SCORE and area Chambers of Commerce routinely work in partnership to support small business owners and those with interest in starting a small business. That partnership between Mateer and the Galion-Crestline Area Chamber of Commerce is no exception.
Joe Kleinknect, head of the Galion-Crestline Chamber of Commerce, also sees a local SCORE mentor as a big plus.
“We went through the SBA and sometimes the services available were in Mansfield or Ashland County,” he said. “That did create some travel problems, which just was reason enough for some not to take advantage.”
Mateer will be able to use the meeting rooms at the chamber office in Galion to meet with clients if needed.
“There are a lot of things people don’t think about or know about when trying to start a business,” Kleinknecht said. “Taxes, workers comp, social security. It’s just good to have a resource available that can talk about those types of things. It’s a really useful addition to the Galion community.”
SCORE is already a proven commodity with a proven record of success.
“SCORE processes are effective and proven.” Mateer said. “We will help educate those thinking about starting a business to make their best choices. Our mentors will be with a business start-up each step of the way, if desired. And for existing small businesses, our retired executive volunteers can help an owner refine processes to meet their goals.”
It’s also easy to get a helping hand from a SCORE mentor.
“Can contact me and we will begin a dialogue to determine what assistance is needed,” Mateer said. “If the local mentor does not have the best expertise, we reach back into the network to find that professional in a specific area to assist that small business owner. SCORE Mentors are committed to do anything and everything possible to help a client achieve their dream. One of our most important tasks is to remain supportive of whatever that dream may be and be ready to help a client go under, over, or around any wall that stands in their way.”
Crawford County SCORE operations will be initially established in Galion and soon spread to Bucyrus and other towns. As the Galion Office is being established interested parties can contact North Central Ohio SCORE at 419-522-3211, ext. 226, email Mateer directly at Michael.Mateer@scorevolunteer.org, or request assistance from the chamber of commerce. The National website is www.ncoscore.org.
SCORE is a nationwide organization of primarily retired business executives who choose to give back to their communities by using their skills, talents and business savvy to mentor and assist small business in any way possible.