SCORE is a national, nonprofit, 501c3 organization of volunteer small business owners and business executives who support the growth and development of small businesses through 360 chapters and 12,000 volunteer members nationwide. Since its founding in 1964, SCORE has assisted more than 7 million small-business clients and, last year, worked with a record 400,000 new clients. SCORE is a resource partner for the U.S. Small Business Administration.
The Denver chapter of SCORE has a membership of more than 100 accredited small business counselors and operates offices in Denver, Longmont, Yampa Valley, Glenwood Springs and Castle Rock. It offers free mentoring to anyone who wants to start a new small business or to improve an established small business. These counseling services range from one-time "how can I start a business" counseling sessions to long-term business mentoring that may last several years. To become an accredited mentor, SCORE members must have relevant business skills as small-business owners or business executives, and complete an extensive SCORE training program. The roster of volunteer members includes CPAs, former marketing and sales executives, operation managers, and a large number of former business owners. SCORE's clients give the organization a rating of 4.76 out of 5.0 when asked if they would recommend the services to a friend.
The Denver chapter also conducts a series of low-cost seminars on such subjects as: "How to Start a Business," "Getting Advice from Experts," "How to Promote Your Business" and "How to Write a Business Plan." These seminars are conducted by volunteer members and are provided at a very affordable cost. A number of specialty seminars are also offered on subjects such as "Selling for Success and Survival," "Hiring Smart," "Starting with QuickBooks" and "How to Understand Financial Statements."
Since its founding more than 40 years ago, the Denver chapter has provided services to more than 110,000 small-business clients and conducted more than 1,600 seminars.
SCORE reaches out to the Colorado community with Speaker's Bureau services, university affiliations, business roundtables, corporate conventions and special business programs customized for chambers of commerce. Members often staff community job fair programs. In addition, SCORE has formed coalitions with several minority programs and focuses on outreach to all segments of the population.
Increasingly, women account for a high percentage of small-business startups. In response to this trend, several female SCORE mentors have established small-group meetings specifically for female entrepreneurial clients. Co-sponsored by the Denver Better Business Bureau, the Women-to-Women Mentoring Councils have monthly meetings featuring expert speakers on topics requested by group members -- such as websites, social media, micro-financing and sales skills. These popular groups are outgrowths of other SCORE seminars and mentor programs and provide networking and additional business expertise for female clients.
A popular service for established businesses is the SCORE Small Business Checkup program. Businesses must be at least two years old to qualify for this low-cost service. A SCORE member meets with the business owner to establish the status of the company. Then a team of SCORE experts, often with experience in that same industry, is assembled to review operations throughout the business. Finally, complete analysis and recommendations are presented to the owners. A SCORE Business Checkup often finds problems that have been overlooked by the company's professional accountant and/or lawyer, who may examine only one segment of the business, rather than the entire structure. Often used by family-owned businesses that have always run their operations in "the same old way," SCORE Business Checkup members become new sets of eyes to make recommendations and point out ways to cut expenses.
SCORE is always looking for entrepreneurs or business executives -- retired or still active -- who would like to join the organization and volunteer their skills and expertise to those just entering the world of small-business ownership. Becoming a SCORE member is a gratifying way to give back to the community and meet others with similar interests.
SCORE chapters are located across the country. The Denver operations are completely managed by volunteer members, with just one half-time contract employee. For more information, visit the SCORE website at www.SCOREdenver.org or by phone at 303-844-3985.