Mark Cutler will join the team of judges for The Greater Good Challenge, a business pitch competition hosted by the Career Design Lab and made possible with support from the Beba Foundation and Turkish Philanthropy Funds.
Cutler spent 32 years at The Gillette Company, and was the Vice President of the International Group when he retired from Gillette in 2003. He has worked as an international business developer and management consultant to scientists around the world, in Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, Libya, Iraq, and Angola.
Cutler volunteers for several nonprofits, including the International Science and Technology Center, the Science Technology Center of Ukraine, the U.S. Civilian Research Development Foundation, the International Executive Service Corps, and the U.S. State Department. He serves as Regional Vice President for the New York and New England States chapter of SCORE, a nonprofit association dedicated to entrepreneurial education and the formation, growth and success of small businesses nationwide.
Tell us about SCORE and the impact the organization is making in the small business community.
SCORE is a uniquely American organization that synthesizes two historic national ideals: entrepreneurial spirit and volunteerism. Since 1964, SCORE has provided expert volunteer mentoring to more than 11 million entrepreneurs and small business owners. As the nation’s largest network of volunteer business mentors, SCORE is committed to helping any person succeed in their small business endeavor. SCORE consists of over 10,000 volunteers serving more than 1,500 communities. In 2019, SCORE helped create 100k jobs. Clients who received 3+ hours of mentoring report higher revenue and increased business growth. All SCORE services are free and confidential. SCORE’s volunteers range from 25-85 including some retired entrepreneurs and many with day jobs, all making time to give back to the community.
My Northeast region of SCORE consists of 2,000 volunteers in the New York and New England States, with Metro New York the largest organization in the country.
What are you hoping to see out of the Greater Good Challenge contest submissions?
I am excited to be even a small part of the Greater Good Challenge. In these days, we live in a new normal, and we plan for tomorrow’s new normal. It is important to think outside the box. We need to identify innovative business models, products, and technologies to add value and change lives, in these COVID and post-COVID times. With the brain power and innovative thinking of the SPS student and alumni body, I feel confident that we will be able to identify problems and business solutions to solve those problems. This will also result in seed money for the entrepreneurs to take their business models to the next step. It’s very exciting, indeed.
Your tenure at Gillette and experience with the State Department involved helping businesses all over the world. What advice do you have for SPS students and alumni who are hoping to make change across international borders?
I have worked and lived in five countries with Gillette. As part of the International group, I have visited and worked with our management teams in over 80 countries. As part of the USG’s Non-Proliferation program, I work with scientists both outside the country and within the U.S. Former weapon scientists have an extraordinary grasp of technologies, manufacturing, and the supply chain.
In all my international work, I found the biggest frustration in working with these scientists was that they had the technology, but they needed assistance in finding a product or service which solved a problem. A scientist who developed the best buggy whip that ever existed lost track of the fact that cars had replaced horses, and that there was no problem being solved by the product.
With this background, the one piece of advice I offer to SPS students and alumni is quite simple. The priority is to identify a problem that needs to be solved. In some cases, there will be problems a community might not realize they have. Think back to Apple and the smart phone. In some cases, there will be problems that the community acknowledges, and the advantage will be to the entrepreneur who can solve the problem. Think about COVID vaccines.