SCORE, previously known as the Service Corps of Retired Executives, now goes by the name SCORE, “Counselors to America’s Small Businesses.” It is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization that helps new small businesses start up and existing small businesses grow and prosper through mentorship and education. SCORE was founded in 1964 in Herndon, VA where it is still headquartered.
Over 11,000 retired and active executives as well as entrepreneurs donate their time and expertise to provide mentoring. For a fee SCORE also conducts workshops and seminars related to business. It is supported by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and other sponsors.
SCORE’s mission is to “Foster vibrant small business communities through mentoring and education.” Their vision is to see that “Every person has the support necessary to thrive as a small business owner” and their goal is to help one million clients by 2020.
Under the heading “Values Beliefs and How We Act” on their website they give a list of items that matter to them and why.
- Their clients are the first to matter. (“Our clients’ success is our success.”)
- Small businesses matter as critical to our national economy.
- Giving back to the community matters.
- The volunteers, who donate over a million hours of their time each year matter.
- Experience, that of the clients as well as the volunteers, matters.
- Relationships, in which they stress acting with integrity, respect, honesty, purpose and professionalism matter.
- Diversity of thought, race, gender, ethnicity, geography and experience matters.
- Lifelong learning for business owners to make them more adaptable to change.
SCORE provides volunteer mentors representing expertise in over 62 industries to give free, confidential business mentoring in person or by email. Free tools, templates and ideas can be found on their website. They make it easy for business owners to find a list of local mentors experienced in their industry. They can then browse mentor profiles to find an expert they feel can help them the most.
They also offer for free or at little cost, online webinars, both live and recorded, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, local business workshops and online courses on demand. These educational resources give training in starting a business, budgeting, marketing and many other subjects. Events and workshops are held locally by SCORE’s more than 320 chapters across the U.S. and its territories.
The SCORE library contains articles and ebooks on many helpful business subjects, podcasts and blogs in which mentors chat about subjects in their area of expertise, templates for pre-starting a business, writing business plans and many other subjects.
The SCORE awards, a combined ceremony, celebration and entertainment, is held every year to honor the outstanding achievements of small U.S. businesses. Awards are given in a number of categories: manufacturing, franchising, community impact, and others. Both owners and mentors are recognized at the event.
Along with the mentor’s essential volunteering of time and expertise, the support of many sponsors makes SCORE’s programs and resources possible. In addition to the SBA they include AT&T, Google, Canon U.S.A., Inc., Constant Contact and many others.