Coronavirus (COVID-19): Relief options and Additional Resources

SCORE Mentors Help Business Move Patients Around

SCORE Mentors Help Business Move Patients Around

BUFFALO, NY - Stephanie Clemons was surprised at what she found when her sister became chronically ill. It's not the first thing that came to mind, but when she hired a transportation service for her sister's medical appointments, she found long wait times and poor customer service.

"I recall thinking how awful it must be for patients to wait so long to be picked up for an appointment, and then wait again to be transported home,"said Clemons. "My sister would literally wait for hours - both ways," Clemons, a full-time telephone operator for the Erie County Medical Campus (ECMC) decided it was time for a change. Putting herself in her sister's shoes and patients from all over Western New York, she decided to start her own transportation business.

And so, when it came to starting her small business, Clemons had to seek help. She found it at the 19th annual Straight Talk conference, where the SCORE mentors she met and the seminars she attended, helped her successfully launch Tooties Transportation.

"One of the most memorable Straight Talk seminars was "We Did It; You Can Too!", said Clemons. "The presenting business owner, Dolly Randle, CASNY inspired me with her survival tips and dedication to move through all the challenges I would face ahead."

Straight Talk, a half-day conference inspiring entrepreneurship, offers future and current entrepreneurs one-on-one business counseling, networking opportunities, education, training and the opportunity to meet with business resources like SCORE Buffalo Niagara, Small Business Development Center at Buffalo State College, area lenders, Erie County Industrial Development Agency and more.

The numbers show, Clemons met with (7) different SCORE mentors following her attendance at Straight Talk. She mentored on insurance laws, marketing, business planning and licensing, accounting and financing.

Past Chair and SCORE Buffalo Niagara Mentor Arba Cooper said, “It is my pleasure to counsel someone like Stephanie, someone who really takes advantage of all we have to offer.” “By the time I met with her, she already researched the opportunity, knew her competition and had some great marketing ideas. Her passion and motivation to provide quality service is her uniqueness. It is such a reward to help someone who knows what they want.”

"Straight Talk supplied me with unlimited resources and contacts, Clemons said. "Speaking from someone who has done this, I highly recommend, to anyone who wants to start a business, attend Straight Talk and meet with a SCORE mentor!"
Tooties Transportation offers individuals safe, affordable, empathetic transportation services. The family-owned and operated business was formed in 2014 in loving memory of Deborah "Tootie" Clemons, a long time dialysis and transplant recipient. Services include transportation from medial appointments and dialysis treatments, renal and diabetic approved snacks per treatment trip, welcome care package, advocacy and referral services upon request and quarterly health and wellness education literature.

Straight Talk 2017 is the 21st annual presentation of this program which over the hears has attracted thousands of participants. The upcoming half-day seminar will be held on Saturday, January 21, 2017. Available seminars are: Make Yourself Credit Worthy, Accessing Business Opportunities through SBA 8(a), DBE and MWBE Certification, Show Me the Money!, Social Media Marketing, Navigating Your Business through Taxes and Permits, We Did It, You Can Too! (featuring Stephanie Clemons, Tooties Transportation), and Marketing Your Business.

To learn more about Straight Talk, please visit<> or call the U.S.
Small Business Administration's Buffalo District office at (716) 551-4301.