SCORE Definition

What Is SCORE?

SCORE is a national nonprofit organization that helps small businesses achieve their goals. SCORE calls itself the largest network of mentors for small business owners in the United States and is a resource partner of the Small Business Administration (SBA). SCORE has offices across the United States and provides small business owners with a variety of services, including mentorships, workshops, and other resources. There is no membership requirement to receive SCORE counseling, which means that any small business owner can call and make an appointment with their local SCORE chapter.

Key Takeaways

  • SCORE is a nonprofit organization that provides free consultation services and advice to entrepreneurs.
  • Mentors are volunteers who provide their expertise to small business owners through chapters across the United States.
  • There is no membership requirement to receive SCORE counseling, which means that any small business owner can call and make an appointment with their local SCORE chapter.
  • SCORE also holds seminars and workshops designed to help small businesses and entrepreneurs navigate the business world.
  • Small business owners can also access SCORE's library of resources, which includes guides and checklists, along with access to local events.

Understanding SCORE

SCORE was established in 1964 as the Service Corps of Retired Executives. It is the nation’s largest network of volunteer business mentors who help small business owners establish and grow their companies. As noted above, SCORE is partnered with the SBA and operates across the United States in more than 250 different chapters. The organization boasts more than 10,000 volunteers that help small business owners. Small business owners don't need to sign up for a membership to access SCORE services.

SCORE volunteers are familiar with all areas of business management and can provide insight into a wide variety of topics, from investigating the market potential for a new product to providing guidance on cash flow management. They can also provide advice about how to start a business, how to purchase an existing business or franchise, or how to sell a business.

Mentorship is one of the main services that SCORE offers small business owners. The group either pairs individuals with a small business mentor or allows them to browse the profiles of available mentors in their area. Entrepreneurs are usually matched with SCORE counselors based on their type of business and the counselor's area of specialty. Conversations are confidential. The mentorship lasts for as long as business owners need them.

Some of the other services provided by SCORE include:

  • Seminars and workshops that help small businesses and entrepreneurs navigate the business world. These seminars and workshops range from writing business plans and inventory control to advertising, financing, and international trade. They are offered at a reduced cost.
  • A resource library that includes access to free guides, checklists, and blogs. These resources are relevant and regularly updated in order to provide small business owners with the tools to succeed.
  • Access to SCORE-held local events.

SCORE has helped more than 11 million entrepreneurs through its mentoring, workshops, and educational resources.

Special Considerations

While there is no age limit for volunteers, they are typically retired, executives. Retired executives interested in joining SCORE can fill out a formal application online and are typically asked to provide a resume in order to be considered by their local chapter. 

Support provided by corporations and businesses allows for the development and implementation of SCORE programs, projects, and resources. The full list of companies that sponsor the group includes Dell, Altria, Meta (formerly Facebook), Google, FedEx, Progressive, and many more.

SCORE Through the Numbers

As mentioned earlier, SCORE has more than 250 different chapters across the United States and more than 10,000 volunteers help keep the organization going.

SCORE's 2020 annual report highlighted the following key facts:

  • An increase of 30% in total annual services
  • More than 45,000 new businesses started with the help of SCORE mentors with as many as 120,000 jobs created
  • Roughly four million volunteer hours were documented for the fiscal year
  • The organization facilitated 315,283 mentoring sessions

Correction—Nov. 9, 2022: A previous version of this article used the organization's previous brand name of Service Corps of Retired Executives. However, the nonprofit now goes by SCORE.

Article Sources
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  1. SCORE. "About SCORE."

  2. SCORE. "Find Your Business Mentor."

  3. SCORE. "Frequently Asked Questions About SCORE."

  4. SCORE. "Browse the Small Business Resource Library."

  5. SCORE. "Our Sponsors & Partners."

  6. SCORE. "FY 2020 Annual Report," Pages 1 and 3.