Andrew Caprio, owner of Monet Medical in Salt Lake City, Utah, won the 2014 Outstanding Veteran-Owned Small Business SCORE Award.

He explains how working with SCORE and winning the national award added credibility to his business.

While working for a large medical equipment reconditioning company, Andrew Caprio realized he could apply his experiences and create his own business. He knew the industry and had the technical know-how, but most importantly, he had the motivation. For two years, he chipped away at developing a business plan in the mornings before his full-time job.

Andrew saw a newspaper article about a SCORE workshop on how to start a business. He attended more workshops and met his first SCORE mentor, Dick Perez. Dick added his input to the business plan and gave it to interested parties. Soon, Dick helped Andrew secure startup funds.

Then the inevitable happened: Andrew’s employer shut down his department. Luckily, he was prepared, and after only seven days of unemployment, he started Monet Medical.

How did winning a SCORE award impact your business?

Ron Tucker, Andrew’s second SCORE mentor, not only told him about the awards but even helped fill out the application. He didn’t think anything would materialize until Ron called with the good news.

Andrew includes the SCORE award logo in marketing materials which he says adds credibility to the business. The award signifies they’re a reputable company worthy of national recognition. Since winning, Andrew hired five more employees and gained more contracts.

“Credibility is the lifeblood of our company. No one is going to trust you with their business until they trust you as a company.”

What advice would you give to entrepreneurs?

“If you have an opportunity to put a business plan together on something that you're passionate about, and you've done the research that there's a need in the economy for your service or product, you should not feel inhibited by the odds. There are people…who can help you launch your business--that's SCORE, the SBA, the volunteers who want…to help people that have a viable idea.”

Find your SCORE mentor and nominate an outstanding small business, perhaps your own, for the 2015 SCORE Awards.