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Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned (DVBE)
Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned (DVBE)
Black Box Safety: A SCORE Success Story

Black Box Safety: A SCORE Success Story

Every company must find themselves beginning somewhere. For Black Box Safety, Inc., it did not begin in Southern California. Nor did it start with selling body armor. The company has come a long way since its humble beginnings. With the help of those such as SCORE, the business has grown from the ground up to where it currently stands today. It is with such guidance that Black Box Safety owes many of its past, present, and future success to.

For six decades, SCORE has aided over 11 million entrepreneurs to achieve their goals. As the largest American network of volunteers and business mentors, they continue to work across the nation in providing all the expertise one needs. Together, both SCORE and its clients work to solve how one is to navigate their business objectives and desires to be not just ambitions but, a real conquest. 

When starting to build Black Box Safety, founder and President Jackson J. Dalton knew he needed the best to help him achieve his entrepreneurial goals. Discovering SCORE when researching how to begin, he knew signing up to meet with his own personal mentor was the right choice.

By signing up with SCORE, Black Box Safety was then placed into the hands of Joe Folsom.

Before retiring, Folsom was the district director for the United States Small Business Administration (SBA) in Des Moines, Iowa. It was after that period of working with SBA’s resource partners for the Small Business Development Center, the Women’s Business Centers, Veteran’s Outreach Centers, including SCORE that he decided to return to his roots in Northwest Wisconsin.

It was over a coffee with the former dean of the University of Wisconsin River Falls, Glenn Potts, that Folsom pondered over the small businesses located within the area. He questioned about the lack of technical assistance for these beginning companies and what was being done for them. To which Potts then questioned Folsom what he was going to do about it.

From there, Folsom signed up and became a mentor for the St. Paul SCORE chapter, which is now the present Twin Cities location in Minnesota.

“I think one of the most important factors for many of the individuals that are just starting is simply the cost,” said Folsom when being interviewed on what makes SCORE’s mentorship program special. “The services that SCORE provides are free of charge. The other part is SCORE has a long history of working with small businesses and startups. Not only does it have a long history but, the foundation for SCORE’s core resources is the talent of the volunteers having an array of skills that one individual or organization can’t supply the same way.”

Speaking highly of his chapter, the Twin Cities setting currently holds 160 volunteers that are mentors capable of covering any form of business challenge or need. Meaning, any small business or entrepreneur can connect with a large data set of SCORE mentors through their set locations.

Having helped over hundreds of startup businesses during his time with SCORE, Folsom recalls his time with Black Box Safety having noticed the passion and care Dalton held for his business ambitions.

“Many entrepreneurs, the ones that turn up being successful, are very passionate about whatever it is they want to achieve from business and entrepreneurship perspective,” said Folsom. “That passion then translates into an opportunity to build a business venture that can capitalize on that passion and move forward.”

With Dalton holding a firm vision for his company in the making, Folsom was able to share the potential opportunities he saw for Black Box Safety’s future. He saw to helping build its business venture and approach its probable market chances. From here, Dalton could take use of his passions and skillsets with his resources to provide for his future clientele.

When questioned about the implements that Black Box Safety was able to utilize for its success, Folsom discussed how both him and Dalton were able to recognize the golden opportunities the government can offer to its servicemen with ambitions in business. Especially, service-disabled veteran-owned businesses.

Beginning his networking, Folsom encouraged Dalton to connect for events such as the Small and Disadvantaged Business Opportunity Council (SADBOC) Procurement Fair in Minnesota. Here, small businesses wanting to do business with government agencies and its prime contractors could participate in the trade fair to have the opportunity to meet with representatives from federal, state, and local agencies.

“You can use those opportunities to better understand how a business can position itself within that particular market segment,” advised Folsom. “At the same time, build the connections and relationships that will enable you to make competitive offers and be successful.”

Even though Black Box Safety is no longer the startup business it once was, that does not mean it is never looking for ways to become bigger and better for tomorrow.

Folsom believes there is always opportunity for the life of your business, SCORE’s own tagline. Whenever there is a new challenge, a potential transition, or a major change, a business should take advantage of working with SCORE or any other technical assistance partners that are part of the SBA. Because they are resources that are there to help one achieve their goals and aspirations. That when the need arises, to not be bashful about asking for help, advised Folsom. Instead, look at mentor programs such as SCOREs as a resource to helping a business get to where it wants to be.

“It has been a pleasure with Jackson and his team,” said Folsom. “I am thankful for his appreciation for the work we’ve done. And it is so rewarding to see what he has given back. Not only in support of SCORE but, the success of the business. And how the success of his business has more than repaid any of the investments that have been made.”

To learn more about Black Box Safety’s success with SCORE’s mentorship program and their journey together, watch the video attached below that can also be found on the SCORE Mentors YouTube channel.

Black Box Safety is incredibly thankful for the help SCORE has provided for its business since beginning as a startup. Under the guidance of those such as Joe Folsom, the company has grown to new heights since starting. The crew of Black Box Safety extends its gratitude to Folsom and the SCORE team.


About Black Box Safety, Inc.

Black Box Safety, Inc. is a leading provider of advanced defense solutions, dedicated to delivering high-quality equipment to support the needs of military and law enforcement agencies. With a proven track record of innovation, Black Box Safety is committed to protecting those who protect us.

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