Tuesday, May 03, 2005

A GREAT IDEA: (Chicago Sun-Times) When businesses face problems, the big guys have their McKinseys, Bains, Kearneys and Booz Allens as their braintrust. But what do the little guys have? Whom can they lean on when there's no way they can pay fancy hourly consulting rates for bright ideas? A genie?

Well, it happens that there really is one.

He's in the form of more than 10,000 current and retired business executives and professionals who are public spirited enough to be the ultimate organ donors: They give away their brains to help struggling enterprises make it.

In Chicago, the chief genie is Larry Pelka, 62, chairman of the local chapter of SCORE, the Service Corps of Retired Executives. Along with his crew of more than 100 volunteer consultants here, he's providing highly experienced (and formerly high-priced) management counseling to more than 5,000 deserving businesses in Cook and Lake counties. His 12-office chapter here is fourth largest among 389 chapters nationwide, coordinated by the Washington D.C. headquarters of this 40-year-old pro bono organization whose partner and supporter is the U.S. Small Business Administration.

And yes - he's got patent attorneys . . .

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