What is SCORE? Who gives advice? Do we offer loans?

You will find the answers to many of the most common questions. If your question is not being answered below, feel free to reach out to us and we will be glad to respond.

What is SCORE?

SCORE is a national mentoring organization in existence since 1964 with over 11,000 mentors nationwide. Our mission is to foster a vibrant business community through mentoring and education. We provide no-cost mentoring, resources, and advice to people who are in business or want to start a business.

Who gives this advice?

SCORE Southwest Florida mentors are experienced owners, executives, or managers of businesses that volunteer their time to help small businesses succeed. Our volunteers come from a great variety of business sectors and have experience in virtually every functional area such as strategy, finance, operations, sales & marketing, and human resources.

How much does it cost?

There is never a cost for individual mentoring. While most of the workshops are at no cost, some workshops or seminars have a small fee.

How many free business mentoring sessions am I entitled to?

You can come back for as many sessions as you wish. Many of our clients had a relationship for multiple years. Each session may last just a few minutes one to two hours and is largely driven by the need of the business owner at that moment. A typical session last approximately 45 - 60 minutes. SCORE mentors are interested in your success and will follow up to see how you are progressing.

What qualification does a SCORE volunteer have?

The key qualification SCORE mentors bring to the table is real-world experience. SCORE volunteers have specific industry, general business, and functional expertise. Mentors may be active in their profession or are retired business owners, business executives, or operations managers. Every volunteer also passes an onboarding and certifications process before mentoring and all of our volunteers, on an annual base, review the Code of Ethics of Score.

Are business secrets safe with SCORE?

Yes. All SCORE volunteers honor the client's right to proprietary and confidential information. That information remains confidential as provided by SCORE's Code of Ethics. Volunteers reaffirm their commitment to the association’s Code of Ethics each year.

How can I sign up for mentoring services?

Go to the Find a Mentor tab above to link to an online form.

How can I find out about joining SCORE?

Select the Volunteer option at the top of the page for detailed information about joining Southwest Florida SCORE, or call our offices for more information at (239) 533-3102.

Can I sign up for seminars and workshops online?

Yes, please visit the Workshop tab above for details.  

Does the SCORE provide business loans?

No. However, the Small Business Administration (SBA) has a number of loan guarantee programs to assist business start-ups and existing businesses. The loans are obtained through preferred and other lenders approved by the SBA. It is recommended you visit the SBA website for more information on specific loan programs, at www.sba.gov.

Do I need a business plan to obtain financing?

To obtain financing for a start-up business, most lenders will require a complete business plan which describes in some detail your business idea, potential, experience, management, marketing plans, and financial outlook. Existing businesses may be permitted to complete the application and rely on the financial history of their business. You should always check with several banks, angel investors, and crowd-sourcing sites about their specific requirements. SCORE Mentors are available to help you get started and work through the plan to prepare for these discussions.