SCORE: SCORE reaches out to nonprofits, as well as to entrepreneurs.
AID, the Association for Individual Development, has been serving individuals with disabilities in the Fox Valley since 1961. With a mission of empowering individuals with disabilities, mental illness and special needs to achieve independence and community inclusion, the organization operates two vocational workshops, residential programs for over 300 individuals (clients, as they are called) and a variety of service, training, supervision and health care programs. In 2011, over 5100 individuals received services from the AID staff of over 400 trained individuals.
SCORE mentor/volunteers Fred Peters and Bill Trout of St. Charles, were called by AID Business Services Representative Mayer Smith (himself a former SCORE member) to guide him and his supervisor Tesfa Kassaye in choosing a new business opportunity that would add rewarding work for their clients. They brought three ideas to the meeting. Peters and Trout advised them to make a business plan for each idea and come back for help in choosing the best opportunity.
Of the proposed projects, recycling made the most sense as they analyzed it. AID was already recycling in-house waste material. Overall, the fit was perfect for expansion of the recycling program to the public which would provide needed work for their clients in the area of sorting, crushing and baling. The program has since been expanded to include the collection and de-manufacturing of electronics.
“My goal is to keep them all working,” Mayer said about the 300 clients AID has at their two locations in Aurora and Elgin, Illinois. Mayer added, “Everything we do is on a piecework basis and the clients are paid accordingly. We design and create various job functions for the purpose of keeping the clients engaged in the recycling program.”
Profit is not the first goal of any AID program: “AID has to be in the business of breaking even." says Peters. “Equally important is generating additional work opportunities for their clients in keeping with their mission of empowering individuals.”
To read more about SCORE ...the non-profit, service organization acting as the volunteer arm of the Small Business Administration (SBA), go to: www.scorefoxvalley.org