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Ellen M. Thrasher is the Director for the Office of Entrepreneurship Education, U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). In this capacity she serves as an advocate for entrepreneurial development through outreach and education, active online engagement, mentorship and growth focused training programs and services.
As the Director, Ms. Thrasher manages the SCORE, For the Life of Your Business program. This national network of volunteer business mentors provides insight to small business clients through face-to-face and online mentoring sessions, educational workshops and proven business resources. This direct interaction affords entrepreneurs practical, real-time answers to equip enterprises and individuals with the advice and tools from idea conception through successful expansion and even business transition. SCORE is comprised of over 350 chapters and more than 12,000 experienced business professionals, owners and managers, both active and retired volunteers, throughout the country who donated 1,158,220 hours of service performance to small business in 2012.
Ms. Thrasher also directs the Emerging Leaders intensive entrepreneurship initiative, which educates high potential urban and Native American small businesses through a 7 month executive leadership training designed for community sustainability and wealth and job creation. This signature underserved markets initiative has received national recognition and is in 27 locations nationwide. Under her purview is the SBA Learning Center, SBA’s virtual campus of free training courses which leverages technology to create accessible and scalable entrepreneurship education. Additionally, the Office of Entrepreneurship Education engages in public/private strategic partnerships to facilitate entrepreneurship education with divergent stakeholder business sectors.
Prior to her current position in the Office of Entrepreneurship Education, she served as Deputy Associate Administrator for the national Small Business Development Center program, the SBA’s largest non-credit program. Ms. Thrasher was also the Deputy Associate Administrator for the SBA Office of Women's Business Ownership and the Women’s Business Centers. Ms. Thrasher is a member of the Senior Executive Service. Her extensive career in public service began on the personal staff of United States Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona. Over the course of 14 years, she served in a variety of high level positions including Legislative Assistant, Constituent Services Director, and Special Assistant to Goldwater.
A resident of Washington, DC, Ms. Thrasher is active in numerous civic and community organizations, including appointment to the Arizona State University College of Liberal Arts Board, KidSave and the Advisory Board for the National Women in History Museum.