SCORE was created in 1964 by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to help small businesses launch and help established enterprises to grow. In the beginning, it was called Service Corps of Retired Executives, later changed to SCORE.
Even though the largest percentage of SCORE mentors are retired, many are still in their careers volunteering their experience to help small businesses. There are approximately 10,000 SCORE mentors around the country in over 300 chapters. The Richmond chapter has over 60 mentors alone. Other local chapters, like the Williamsburg location, are in or surround our markets.
SCORE provides confidential advice and mentoring to startups and existing small business owners throughout the Richmond region, the state, and the United States. SCORE mentors are all volunteers with significant senior executive and business ownership experience in a wide variety of disciplines, including marketing, finance, operations, management, logistics, and more.
Many SCORE mentors have been in business for more than forty years and bring a wealth of experience to small business owners. Mentors are trained in counseling techniques and adhere to a strict code of ethics against any potential conflicts of interest. All mentoring is entirely confidential. There is no cost for SCORE mentoring and no limit on the amount of time that a mentor will work with a client.
Education is one of SCORE’s important missions. One of the workshops offered is “How to Start Your Own Business,” an all-day workshop dealing with all significant aspects of starting and running a business taught by professionals in the field and offered monthly.
Topics covered are practical things such as business model planning, sources of financing, choosing the appropriate legal structure, building a cost-effective marketing plan, bookkeeping tips and strategies, purchasing the proper business insurance, and internet and web design strategies. There is plenty of time for questions. One of the most valuable benefits from the day is the interaction and learning from each other.
When participants finish the day, they have all the most important things they need to know to start and run a business. Every month there are two-hour evening programs for existing business owners going more deeply into different topics such as financing, pricing, social media, and a wide variety of others. There is a small charge for workshops.