(Princeton, NJ - May 30, 2014) Princeton SCORE announces its summer StartSMART™ Workshop Series to begin June 26th, and shares a recent encore entrepreneur success story. For many 50+ individuals, entrepreneurship training is the toolkit that empowers them to translate their career experience, knowledge, and skills into a new business.  Entrepreneurs over 50, known as encore entrepreneurs, are one of the fastest-growing groups of small business owners in the U.S.  The StartSMART™ program is a 5-part series for aspiring and existing entrepreneurs that provides entrepreneurship training, tools and personalized mentoring on business planning, marketing, cash flow management, preparation and understanding of financial statements, and funding sources to start or grow a small business…at any age. 

StartSMART participant John Leger launches Le Bookiniste

A case in point is John Leger of Hopewell, NJ, who recently completed StartSMART™ to help launch his “second act” career as a rare book dealer. After 30 years as a reporter and editor for The Wall Street Journal in the U.S., Europe and Asia, when he retired, Leger turned to SCORE for help with the next chapter of his career. “Travelling the globe, I developed a passion for collecting rare books – mostly first editions from the last 100 years.  Now, I’m turning my hobby into a viable business - with the help of the StartSMART™ program and my SCORE mentor,” said Leger. Le Bookiniste sells books on art, drama, the Cold War, radical literature, Britain's Angry Young Men, and continental European literature. So far, sales have been at antiquarian book fairs in New York and Washington, D.C., but online sales will be added soon with the launch of his company web site. 

When asked what he valued most about the StartSMART™ program, Leger replied, “Although I was heavily involved in coverage of business during my Journal days, I didn't know much about starting a business of my own. That's where the StartSMART™ program was a gigantic help. We learned how to put together the various parts of a business plan, which I'm convinced is absolutely essential to running a successful business. Things I learned in the course probably saved me an enormous amount of time, such as where to look for information about my target markets and competitors.  Doing that on my own without any guidance would have taken far longer.”

Unlike most entrepreneurship training programs, StartSMART™ not only provides workshops and tools, but also personalized mentoring by an assigned SCORE counselor with practical business experience and access to the entire SCORE team of volunteers. This was a key point to John Leger, who added, “A terrific part of StartSMART™ is the assignment of a mentor to each student. Mentors are experienced business people who help guide you through the course and provide valuable advice and insights.  But not just during the course - afterwards as well.  I was able to meet several times with my mentor who, not only gave me great advice, but also challenged some of my assumptions. It's great you can call upon a mentor for advice even after the course ends.”

The next StartSMART™ series begins June 26th with a free trial session at 5:45-8:45 p.m. at Pellettieri, Rabstein and Altman Law Offices, 100 Nassau Park Blvd, Ste 111, Princeton, NJ. With hands-on workshops and ongoing support from a personal business mentor, participants evaluate their business idea, develop a solid business plan, and learn about potential sources of funding, so they can make an informed “go/no-go” business decision and take appropriate next steps to start or grow their business. The 5-part series costs $128.  To register for the free trial, visit www.princeton.score.org/localworkshops.

Princeton SCORE is a non-profit resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration supporting Mercer and Middlesex counties of New Jersey with 40+ small business owners and executives who volunteer their time and expertise to help others start a new business or grow/improve the profitability of existing ones.  Princeton SCORE offers confidential one-on-one small business counseling and a variety of free or low-cost educational seminars and workshops.