It’s a new year and a new decade. For many current and aspiring entrepreneurs it’s a symbolic time.  For businesses, the start of the calendar year is a time to consider what went right during the past 12 months and what improvements can be made in the coming months.  For those ready to turn their idea or passion into income, January can be the start of the planning process to open a business.  Wherever you are in the process, business owner or startup, you can benefit from the network of partners at 2 State Street, Auburn, and our free and confidential business assistance and mentoring services.

The Cayuga Economic Development Agency (CEDA) and the Auburn chapter of SCORE National work together to help businesses in Cayuga County startup and grow.  SCORE is a national organization of volunteer business mentors, who have experience related to running businesses. CEDA’s Business Development Specialist, Derek Simmonds, is also a SCORE Mentor. Derek’s work with small businesses can include business planning, assistance with identifying a suitable location and connecting them to resources, information and people who can help them move past the barriers they face to growing or maintaining their business in Cayuga County. He does the same types of things for people wanting to start businesses, often with more of a focus on initial business startup and planning.

Auburn SCORE Mentors have a variety of backgrounds offering a variety of experiences from accountants, to attorneys, bankers, marketers, managers, directors, nonprofits, farmers, veterans, engineers, etc.  They may have started their own business, acquired a business, failed at a business, or held an important position.  What they all have in common is that they share the information they have learned with local entrepreneurs.  Mentors may not know every answer, but through the chapter’s network of resources, they can find the answers.

Here are some recent examples of projects CEDA and SCORE have assisted:

  • Gail Morse and Robert Gallasch are planning to open Kelloggsville Farm Winery in Summer of 2020. They will produce ciders and wines from their own cider apple orchard, local orchards, and New York State grapes. Their products will be sold out of their tasting room, which additionally will sell their willow and turned wood products. Their cider and wine will also be available at selected local establishments.
  • Margaret Sullivan is in the process of opening ‘Mobile Sharpener Lady’, a mobile shear-sharpening business. She plans to focus primarily on sharpening beauty, barber, and pet grooming shears while she grows her business.
  • David Lane plans to open Wild Nectar Mead in the Town of Ledyard in early summer of 2020. Using locally sourced honey, he’s planning to produce an assortment of mead styles and will add to the expanding craft beverage options available in Cayuga County.

Each one of these businesses has unique needs, and CEDA and SCORE are there to assist them with their business plan, referrals, connections to partner agencies and incentives, and offer support and guidance.

If you have business experience and are interested in mentoring small businesses and startups in the area, consider becoming a SCORE mentor.  While some of our mentors only work with a few clients at a time, others enjoy assisting several.  The time commitment is up to each mentor. In the beginning, most new volunteers will “co-mentor” until they are comfortable enough to meet with clients on their own.

Last year, SCORE and CEDA began co-hosting “Startup Connect”, a free entrepreneur networking event. Look for details and registration on either organization’s social media pages for the next event, which is scheduled for Monday, February 10th, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at The Lavish Lounge in Auburn.  This event will be a great opportunity to meet other small business owners, entrepreneurs and small business service providers.

Whether your New Year’s resolution is to start a business, grow your business, or perhaps even volunteer and support the business community, 2 State Street is your one-stop for business assistance in Cayuga County. Meeting with CEDA and SCORE is always free and confidential. If you want to find someone to guide you through the process of moving from idea to business, have a small business that needs a boost to get to the next level, or want to advise and support businesses in our community, give us a call.

Visit and on the web, call (315) 252-3500, or stop at the offices at 2 State St., Auburn, for more information on SCORE and CEDA.
Published in the January 15, 2020 edition of The Citizen.