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Nov 5, 201402:54 PMVan Lines

with Joe Vanden Plas

Entrepreneurs can SCORE one for business

(page 1 of 2)

From the pages of In Business magazine.

Networking at the annual Madison Chamber of Commerce dinner, I met a young entrepreneur named Matthew Starr, who has an interesting startup business called Rally Energy LLC. He makes caffeinated mints that provide a boost, especially in the early afternoon when we’re otherwise tempted to load up on coffee or soda to restore full powers of concentration. As Matt and I were enjoying cocktails, we talked about what he is facing in the embryonic stages of business, and I mentioned the free counseling and business-plan vetting he could get from the Madison Chapter of SCORE (

Matthew had never heard of the Service Corps of Retired Executives, and I suspect he has something in common there with other young entrepreneurs. Yet the organization that bills itself as “counselors to America’s small business” has a very active and engaged local chapter — 50 retired mentors from a variety of industries but with one common trait: They want to give something back to the community in which they achieved lasting business success.

I recently spoke to one of the local 50 who stand ready to assist, a gentleman named Gene Kroupa. For nearly 30 years, Kroupa ran a profitable market research firm in Madison, which is no small feat. He reports the local appetite for business risk is still pretty strong; in terms of client contacts through June, the Madison SCORE chapter had served 700 people, up 15% over the same period in 2013.


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