What Is the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE)?

The Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) is a national non-profit organization with members who provide free consultation services and advice to business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs. Members of SCORE are current or retired business owners and corporate executives who specialize in a variety of business skills.

The organization operates offices throughout the United States and offers its services in-person or online through email counseling services. There is no membership requirement to receive SCORE counseling; any small business owner can call and make an appointment with their local SCORE chapter.

Key Takeaways

  • The Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) is a non-profit organization with members who provide free consultation services and advice to entrepreneurs.
  • There is no membership requirement to receive SCORE counseling; any small business owner can call and make an appointment with their local SCORE chapter.
  • In addition to offering one-on-one mentoring and online services, SCORE also holds seminars and workshops designed to help small businesses and entrepreneurs navigate the business world.

Understanding the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE)

SCORE was launched in 1964. SCORE volunteers 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. 

SCORE is the nation’s largest network of volunteer, expert business mentors familiar with all areas of business management. The organization has more than 10,000 volunteers in 250 chapters. As a resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), SCORE has helped more than 11 million entrepreneurs through mentoring, workshops, and educational resources since 1964.

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. 

Mentoring Services

Through its website, the group will pair you with a small business mentor or let you browse the profiles of available mentors in your area. Entrepreneurs are usually matched with SCORE counselors based on their type of business and the counselor's area of specialty.

"SCORE mentoring services are provided at no cost to you, regardless of the number of times you visit a SCORE mentor. The discussion with your SCORE mentor is strictly confidential. Our mentors sign a Code of Ethics and Conduct that addresses the protection of your information and business idea," the group stated.

"Your mentor will employ the SLATE methodology in your mentoring session, which stands for: Stop and Suspend Judgment; Listen and Learn; Assess and Analyze; Test Ideas and Teach with Tools; Expectation Setting and Encouraging the Dream." The group doesn't provide grants, business loans, CPA services, or legal services, but mentors may suggest these and other resources

Other Services

In addition to offering one-on-one mentoring and online services, SCORE also holds seminars and workshops designed to 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.

.SCORE states that it "also offers free and low-cost educational workshops each year, both online and in-person, designed to educate entrepreneurs on every aspect of successful small business ownership. In 2017, clients attended 147,519 online workshop sessions. 250,448 local workshop attendees benefited from SCORE’s in-person educational programming."

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 can be found here and include Facebook, eBay, Google, American Express, ADP, FedEx, Intuit, MassMutual, Spectrum Business, Progressive, Trend Micro, and many more.