Recognizing that no one person – or entrepreneur – can be an expert in all areas, the partners from TruEdge Solutions, a certified woman- and minority-owned business providing project management consulting, software, and data analytics services for the construction and engineering industries, partnered with a team of mentors from nonprofit organization SCORE.
Krishna Akella, a certified volunteer mentor with SCORE Bucks County, served as lead mentor for the TruEdge Solutions team comprised of President and CEO Sung Choi, and Managing Partners Elsaid Wahba (CFO) and Joon Choi (COO).
Typically, small business owners are assigned a local SCORE mentor and co-mentor based on their needs. However, as part of One SCORE, an initiative put forth by the national organization to provide the best service possible regardless of chapter locations, Akella was joined by SCORE Bucks mentor Nina De Rosa, as well as Ward Freeman of SCORE Santa Fe; Girish Sud from SCORE Lehigh Valley; Jonathan Melvin from SCORE Los Angeles; and Albert Lobo from SCORE San Francisco.
Together, the group possesses subject matter expertise regarding business strategy, marketing, human resources, and IT infrastructure.
As a certified project management professional with more than 30 years’ experience in construction project management, Sung Choi is in her comfort zone when dealing with project planning, estimating, scheduling, and project controls. She knew that her expertise in project management didn’t prepare her for being a new business owner, so she reached out to SCORE for some help.
She likened Akella to a primary care physician who refers patients to specialists depending upon their condition and care required.
“Depending upon our topic of interest, Krishna connected us with a mentor that was the best fit,” she said. “Although we worked with a few mentors, I kept Krishna informed of our interactions with each, and he ensured that we all functioned as one tightly knit team.”
While TruEdge Solutions currently employs 10 independent contractors, Sung Choi wanted to ensure that the company was fully prepared in advance of hiring and onboarding its first full-fledged W-2 employee. Akella connected Choi and her team with De Rosa, who has several decades of human resources experience.
“Our first hire was an important milestone for us, and we wanted to make a great first impression,” Sung Choi said, adding that De Rosa helped to pave the way for a smooth start by ensuring employee taxes and benefits were set up properly. “As our business grows, we’ll continue to build our team and moving forward, it’s going to be much easier.”
Since the TruEdge team began working with SCORE in 2021, they have incorporated many of the mentors’ suggestions into their business practices and are already seeing results. Her mentors have inspired the CEO to pay it forward.
“I would love to become a SCORE mentor,” she said. “As an Asian woman in the male-dominated construction industry, I naturally stand out. I don’t mind standing out, but I want it to be for the right reason—my talent. Having support systems in place that help you break down barriers so you can realize your goals, that’s huge.”
SCORE provides no-cost business mentoring services for every stage of a business. To find a mentor, visit buckscounty.score.org.