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SCORE and American Express OPEN Continue Joint National Mentorship Program and Workshop Series to Help Small Businesses Weather the Current EconomyIndividual "Speed Coaching" Sessions and Targeted Counseling Opportunities on Government Contracting Provide Boost for Small Business Owners
NEW YORK,  May 12, 2010 -- 

American Express OPEN and SCORE "Counselors to America's Small Business" announce the 2010 schedule for the "Small Business Speed Coaching Test Drive," a multi-city tour designed to help small business owners develop strategies to weather the current economic challenges and provide them with educational and mentorship programs to identify new opportunities for business growth.  

Launched in 2007, the "Small Business Speed Coaching" series offers small business owners exclusive, 30-minute, one-to-one evaluation sessions with experienced business mentors from SCORE. In addition, problem-solving workshops will focus on areas that directly impact small business growth, including strategic planning, effective marketing and business finances; the speed coaching events also allows small business owners to ask questions on a variety of topics ranging from surviving the current economy to capitalizing on government contracting opportunities.

Despite uncertain economic times, a vast majority of entrepreneurs – 85 percent – are optimistic and see the glass as half full, according to the 2010 American Express OPEN Small Business Monitor, a semi-annual survey of business owners.

"The Speed Coaching events are immensely successful and highly valued by small business owners," said Ken Yancey, SCORE chief executive officer. "We are pleased to have the returning support of American Express OPEN this year as we continue to expand the program and help more small business owners tap the resources they need to thrive."

"Small business owners remain optimistic about their businesses even in the most trying of times, and are always looking for growth opportunities," said Nancy Hood, vice president at American Express OPEN. "The Speed Coaching events offered by OPEN and SCORE are important because they give entrepreneurs the resources and strategies needed to succeed."

Event attendees can choose to attend any of the below workshops:

Tough Times? Refocus Your Market Target and Positioning
The marketing workshop offers an interactive discussion of cost-effective, creative, integrated marketing solutions—including online marketing tactics and everyday promotional resources business owners may not have considered.

Success Stories
During this Q&A-style workshop, attendees participate in a group conversation with a handful of entrepreneurs who have been where they are, know what they're going through, and have made it to the top.

Managing Through a Tough Economy
This workshop has a simple goal: to help attendees better understand their business finances, thus assisting them direct future growth and funding. Call it the bottom line on the bottom line.

2010 Event Schedule
SCORE and OPEN will host major Small Business Speed Coaching events in the below markets nationwide:

5/19: Chicago, Ill.
9/8: Denver, Colo.
10/7: Boston, Mass.
11/3: New York, N.Y.

Other markets where events will be held include:

Austin, TX
Charlotte, NC
Cincinnati, OH
Cleveland
Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Los Angeles, CA
Milwaukee, WI
Minneapolis, MN
Orange County, CA
Philadelphia, PA
SF/Oakland, CA
South Broward County, FL
St. Louis, MO
Tampa/Sarasota, FL
Washington, DC

More information about the events is available online at http://www.score.org/OPEN_Events_2010.html.

In addition to meeting with a SCORE mentor at the event, attendees will learn about local SCORE resources and how they can continue mentoring sessions in the future.

Registration is free and available on a first-come, first-serve basis at http://www.score.org/OPEN_Events_2010.html. A maximum of two people per company may attend the event. Limit one coaching session per business. All attendees are eligible to participate in the coaching, workshops and luncheon.

About SCORE
Since 1964, SCORE "Counselors to America's Small Business" has helped more than 8.5 million aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners through counseling and business workshops. More than 12,400 volunteer business counselors in 364 chapters serve their communities through entrepreneur education dedicated to the formation, growth and success of small businesses. For more information about starting or operating a small business, call 1-800/634-0245 for the SCORE chapter nearest you. Visit SCORE on the web at www.score.org.

About American Express OPEN
American Express OPEN is the leading payment card issuer for small businesses in the United States and supports business owners with products and services to help them run and grow their businesses. This includes business charge and credit cards that deliver purchasing power, flexibility, rewards, savings on business services from an expanded lineup of partners and online tools and services designed to help improve profitability. Learn more at OPEN.com and connect with us at openforum.com and twitter.com/openforum.

American Express is a global services company, providing customers with access to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business success. Learn more at americanexpress.com and connect with us on facebook.com/americanexpress, twitter.com/americanexpress and youtube.com/americanexpress.


Contacts

Rosa Alfonso212.640.1712rosa.m.alfonso@aexp.com

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