We are a group of active and retired business owners and executives working with local businesses to improve the success of businesses in West Michigan. We have real world experience in a variety of industries and business settings. We volunteer and work together in mentoring sessions, workshops, and planning assistance. We provide templates and other support services for business owners wanting to expand their businesses.
We work with existing businesses, and with aspiring entrepreneurs to build successes that might not otherwise be possible. We are committed to building a strong and prosperous Grand Rapids and Southwest Michigan business community.
We share facilities with area Chambers of Commerce. Mentoring is provided without cost to the entrepreneur. Some workshops have a small cost for materials.
The Grand Rapids chapter of SCORE is one of about 340 such organizations with nearly 13,000 mentors throughout the US. We are sponsored by the Small Business Administration and the Kaufmann Foundation.
How does SCORE mentoring work?
SCORE mentors meet one-on-one with clients to provide guidance and advice on how to start a new business or grow an existing business in Southwestern Michigan. Learn what pitfalls to avoid and how to increase your odds of success by leveraging the knowledge and experience of SCORE mentors. SCORE mentors often meet with clients multiple times to help them achieve their goals.
How do I schedule a meeting with a SCORE mentor?
You may request a face-to-face mentoring meeting by clicking the "Schedule a Meeting" button, to the right on this page. Simply fill in the requested information and a SCORE mentor will contact you regarding a time and place that works for you. You may also request an appointment by calling SCORE at (616) 771-0305. SCORE’s primary office is located at the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce, at 111 Pearl Street NW in Grand Rapids, but an interview came be arranged at any of several regional sites.
Is there a fee to meet with SCORE?
No. SCORE mentoring is always free of charge, no matter how many times you meet with SCORE. SCORE mentors generously donate their time and expertise to help entrepreneurs like you succeed in our community and serve without compensation.
Who are SCORE Mentors?
SCORE mentors are successful business professionals from our community who come with a broad range of experience. Both actively working and retired from a variety of business backgrounds, a number of SCORE mentors are current or previous small business owners themselves. With decades of experience in areas such as manufacturing, accounting and finance, marketing and sales, law, retailing, professional services, and more... you'll find a SCORE mentor who can help.
Is SCORE counseling confidential?
Absolutely. SCORE adheres to a strict code of ethics, including complete client confidentiality. You can feel secure in knowing that all discussions and information you share will be held in strict confidence by SCORE. While we greatly appreciate clients sharing their SCORE experiences with others, and many clients have offered testimonials, SCORE will never disclose information about our clients without their express permission to do so.
Beyond mentoring, what other tools are available?
SCORE maintains a large library of business educational materials, including online resources, webinars, and more on the SCORE national website at www.score.org. SCORE can also help direct clients to other valuable resources available in the area. In addition, SCORE offers local workshops and seminars on a variety of important business topics. Many of these workshops are free of charge.
Is SCORE part of the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce? Do you need to be a Chamber member to use SCORE’s services?
SCORE is fortunate to have a strong partnership with the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce and we support one another in the mission of helping businesses succeed in our community. SCORE’s main office is located at the Chamber of Commerce. though SCORE and the Chamber are separate and independent organizations. While SCORE encourages entrepreneurs and small businesses to take advantage of the many services the Chamber offers, you do not need to be a Chamber member to use SCORE’s services. SCORE mentoring is always free of charge to all clients.
How does SCORE get funding for its operations?
SCORE is an all-volunteer organization with no paid staff. We are fortunate to have dedicated, capable business professionals who generously volunteer thousands of hours each year to help SCORE clients. SCORE receives a very small amount of federal funding from the US Small Business Administration (SBA). However, that annual grant is not sufficient to fund the operations of our local SCORE chapter, so SCORE relies almost entirely on support from our local sponsoring partners and donors to fund the valuable services we provide to small businesses operators and emerging entrepreneurs.
How can I help SCORE in Grand Rapids?
If you are a natural partner of SCORE, such as a bank, accounting firm, attorney, or small business service provider, we encourage you to direct your clients to SCORE for assistance when needed. We also appreciate and rely on financial support from community partners so please consider becoming a SCORE sponsor.
Everyone can help SCORE by getting the word out about the free and valuable services we provide. Finally, if you’re an experienced business professional who is passionate about helping small businesses... and you are able to volunteer your time and expertise to support the work of SCORE, please consider becoming a SCORE volunteer. For more information, click on the "Volunteer" link at the top of this page or call (616) 771-0305.
Services are provided by SCORE without regard to race, national origin, gender, age, or disability. Persons with disabilities may request reasonable accommodations with advance notice of need. For such accommodations, please contact SCORE at (616) 771-0305.
While SCORE is headquartered at the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce, mentoring appointments are available at several locations around Southwestern Michigan. Find the location that's most convenient for you by the following this link, or by choosing "Find SCORE" in the sidebar menu.