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22 Dec

Peter Fong

published on December 22, 2011 - 9:04 PM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

Peter Fong

Chairman

SCORE

What your organization does: We are resource partners with the Small Business Administration. The SBA does the loan


guarantees with the banks and SCORE is the counseling arm that offers free counseling for small businesses nationwide.

Education: Graduate of Napa College School of Business. U.S. Navy with extensive leadership training. Training program with J.C. Penney’s for 17 years.

Age: 67

Family: Relatives in Napa Valley.

What is SCORE’s flagship program?
Our flagship is called “Simple Steps to Starting Your Business.” We take the risk takers and dream makers on the first step to entrepreneurship and help them build a business plan, strategy plan, financial projects and take them right up to funding their business. Our job is to get them to a go or no-go decision. A lot of these people that want to have a business might not have the capacity to run a business. This is a way to vet their ideas before they risk any money on the table. It’s a very successful program. We’ve had over 900 attendees so far this year. Our next session starts Jan. 4 and it’s been a very successful program.

Is SCORE officially associated with the SBA?
SCORE is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit funded by Congress and part of the SBA budget — we receive a little money from them. But as a 501(c)(3), we have to raise the money locally through our chapters to manage our budgets, because we are an all-volunteer base.

How did you first get involved with the SCORE?
I was retired, living in Napa, playing golf six days a week because the public course was closed on Mondays. A friend of mine opened up a design and distribution company of Quinceañera dresses here in Fresno. He asked me to come down and help him with the marketing strategy because they were really struggling. It was supposed to be a six-month project, but it ended up being a three-year project. They are now international distributors in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, and in 2008 they won the Small Business Verizon Award. Then I was recruited in SCORE in 2009 and became the chairman in late 2009.

Do you believe the economy is headed in the right direction?
Yes and no. Again, it’s uncertainty. There are 219 regulations put on books that are forcing a lot of business to not expand. It depends on who you talk to — some people want regulations, some people don’t want regulations. But the 219 they put in place stymied business and that’s why they’re not expanding. I think Congressman Jeff Denham up in Atwater is expressing that in a pretty good manner. But there are several people we work with to keep a pulse on what’s happening as far as legislation. So far, the regulations have not been helpful to small business.

What was your first job growing up and what did you learn from it?
I was at the young, tender age of about 4 1/2 years old helping my mom run their grocery store in Napa. I remember standing on Coke boxes so I could reach the shelves to stack cans and vegetable counters. It was a challenge, but it was a life-learning experience and something I will never forget.


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