Are you thinking of starting your own business? Where do you even begin? Luckily for us, the SBA (Small Business Administration) referred us to the Silicon Valley chapter of SCORE. One of the best parts of this amazing organization has to be the many retired executives, CEOs, and CFOs who volunteer their time and expertise: we’ve relied on their free mentoring services many times. They also offer reasonably priced courses, such as business plan help and Quicken. Today, we talked to Noriko Kunimi, the upcoming Chair for Silicon Valley SCORE.
Wonderland Organics: What area of business do you specialize in?
Noriko Kunimi: My business specialty is Business Alliances Management. I managed executive relationships with large foreign companies with whom my U.S. companies established formal alliance agreements to do joint technology development, joint marketing and sales.
Wonderland Organics: That’s impressive! Tell us a little about your background.
Noriko Kunimi: I originally came from Japan to go to high school in the U.S. After college and graduate school, I worked for many years at large high tech companies in various areas, such as business strategy, mergers and acquisitions, and strategic alliances. When I decided to retire early in 2007, I was vice president of global alliances for a major East Coast company. Since retirement, I have done management consulting as well as executive coaching, and of course counseling at SCORE. I am currently the Vice chair of the Silicon Valley Chapter, and I will step into the Chair position starting this October.
Wonderland Organics: You’re quite inspirational! How did you come to work for SCORE?
Noriko Kunimi: Several years ago I had a neighbor who was active in SCORE and he recruited me into the Silicon Valley Chapter of SCORE. At the time there weren’t many women in the organization, so they were glad to have me join.
Wonderland Organics: We’re sure that SCORE is happy to have you join their ranks! What services does SCORE offer?
Noriko Kunimi: As you may know, SCORE is a nonprofit organization that has about 340 chapters around the U.S. staffed by more than 11,000 volunteers, majority of whom used to own their own businesses or were executives in corporations. Here at the Silicon Valley Chapter, we have over 50 full time members and several who are in training to become full members. We provide business mentoring to people who either already have small businesses or those who are starting new ones. Many clients are very talented in their own fields but may not have any business planning or management background. We help them organize their businesses for success. We provide free one-on-one counseling, free business mentoring on an ongoing basis, and provide an array of classes and workshops at nominal prices.
Wonderland Organics: We love using SCORE’s services! What is your favorite part of working for SCORE?
Noriko Kunimi: I really enjoy working with clients who are passionate about their business but need a little help looking at how they are doing their business.
Wonderland Organics: We agree, it’s great that SCORE provides help for entrepreneurs. Do you have any advice for people thinking about going the entrepreneurial route?
Noriko Kunimi: Yes, be passionate! It’s hard work, so you have to be committed and really believe in what you are doing. Then get unbiased help from organizations such as SCORE to develop plans to make it come true.
Wonderland Organics: That’s a fantastic point. And last but not least, what’s your favorite part of the Wonderland Organics website/blog?
Noriko Kunimi: Your interviews are interesting.
Thanks so much to Noriko for talking to us! Interested in SCORE? Check out their website here, and be sure to look for a chapter near you.