“This has been a really tough year for businesses, and I want to take a moment to thank our businesses and our small businesses that with the help of SCORE in some cases have learned how to weather this major pandemic. When I think about helping our young entrepreneurs and small businesses, it’s not just about the day-to-day help. It’s also in the event of a situation you cannot control.” — Marian Moskowitz, Chester County Commissioners chairwoman
“I also want to do a special shout out to SCORE this year for all the help and extra effort they’ve done throughout the COVID crisis. It’s really made a difference for small and startup businesses in the area.” — Michelle Kichline, Chester County Commissioner
Four small businesses and nonprofits were celebrated Thursday, June 10 during the annual SCORE Chester and Delaware Counties Small Business Achievements Awards program:
It was the 11th year for the awards, and the second year the event was held virtually via the Zoom conferencing app. Click here to learn more.
Each year since 2010, SCORE Chester and Delaware Counties recognize owners and entrepreneurs that reached out to SCORE for mentoring and assistance in starting or growing their businesses and demonstrated vision, innovation and achievement in support of the local economy and small business community.
Maria Smith, chairwoman for SCORE Chester and Delaware Counties, hosted the hour long event, introducing pre-recorded segments with the winners and their SCORE volunteer mentors.
She said that in Pennsylvania, there was a 26% increase in the number of new business applications by the close of 2020.
“Out of chaos and uncertainty, we see a silver lining — as Americans choose creativity and courage to be the masters of their own destiny,” she said.
Recognized Thursday for excellence in small business this year were:
- Dr. Georgia K. Tetlow, MD, founder, Philadelphia Integrative Medicine, Wayne, Chester County;
- Bob Finkenaur, owner, RGF Materials — Form-A-Tread;
- Annette Pyatt, executive director, Chester County Improvement Project, Chester, Delaware County;
- Andy Resch, owner, Resch Enterprises, St. Cloud, MN.
The virtual event featured a brief video about each honoree, with an introduction by the SCORE mentor that worked with each entrepreneur to help them achieve their goals.
This year’s winners were selected from a group of nominations from SCORE mentors, according to Smith, and each business case was reviewed by the team to understand:
• their mission and unique value proposition
• their path to succes
• how SCORE helped them
• how the business is doing today
For the first time, the event featured a keynote speaker — Susan Springsteen, CEO of H2O Connected. Springsteen is currently developing an innovation and headquarters for the company in Coatesville. J2O Connected manufactures and supports water-saving and water-damage prevention products.
In her comments, Springsteen spoke about her lessons learned through years of innovative product startups. She emphasized the importance of perseverance for business owners and the value of peer and mentor relationships early on.
“Perseverance while outside your comfort zone can change the trajectory of your life,” she said. “This has been a recurring theme throughout my varied career and personal pursuits.” She explained that there are three legs to the perseverance stool, “that have helped keep me pursuing and pushing when Murphy’s Law comes knocking.”
The three “legs” are: people, procedure and purpose.
“Starting and growing a business is hard. Especially if it involves innovation that has not existed before. Our current culture romanticizes the life of an entrepreneur, as if all you need is a good idea and the market will flock to your doorstep,” she said. “If it were just that easy.”
She added that it’s tempting to get discouraged and wonder if it’s all worth it.
“It is,” she said.
The Chester County Commissioners each submitted a video in support of the winners.
“This has been a really tough year for businesses, and I want to take a moment to thank our businesses and our small businesses that with the help of SCORE in some cases have learned how to weather this major pandemic,” Chester County Commissioners Chairwoman Marian Moskowitz said. “When I think about helping our young entrepreneurs and small businesses, it’s not just about the day-to-day help. It’s also in the event of a situation you cannot control.”
Chester County Commissioner Michelle Kichline said the annual SCORE event is an example of “how mentorship and community connectivity really leads to successful businesses.”
“I also want to do a special shout out to SCORE this year for all the help and extra effort they’ve done throughout the COVID crisis. It’s really made a difference for small and startup businesses in the area,” she said.
Delaware County Council members Brian P. Zidek, chairman; Dr. Monica Taylor, vice chairwoman; Kevin M. Madden; Elaine Paul Schaefer; and Christine A. Reuther submitted a letter congratulating the winners.
“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy. They create new jobs, and drive innovation and competitiveness. The business owners joining us today have proved to be innovative and dedicated,” the letter stated. “Opening and operating a business presents challenges, but running a business during a pandemic is a whole other ballgame. Those joining us today, have faced immense challenges during a pandemic and thrived.”
For the second year, several previous award winners shared their congratulations and brief updates on their companies, including: VISTA Today, BigBoize BBQ, Gemelli and SubstiTooth Fairy.
SCORE is a non-profit national organization of business volunteers dedicated to providing free counseling and educational service to small businesses. SCORE volunteers are business experts who mentor entrepreneurs planning to start a small business, or small business owners who seek assistance in solving business issues.
Nationally, SCORE has been helping small business owners for 55 years, while the SCORE of Chester and Delaware counties branch has been active since 1985 and has more than 100 volunteers providing mentoring and business training in support of local businesses. The winners and their SCORE mentors shared their stories in personal videos:
Philadelphia Integrative Medicine, https://youtu.be/VB6KV-bbprk
Chester Community Project Improvement, https://youtu.be/BIK4BbU5_i0
Resch Enterprises, https://youtu.be/GGsHoZGFyDI
More details about SCORE’s 2020 winners can be found by visiting: Read their success stories here: