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SCORE myths debunked

Ask SCORE

February 10, 2013|By BOB POOR
  • Robert A. "Bob" Poor
Robert A. "Bob" Poor

Q: I recently sold my small retail business and am semi-retired. I would like to volunteer for SCORE Hagerstown but understand that you are primarily focused on working with start-ups. Could you use someone of my expertise working with existing businesses?

A: You bet! A myth that has grown over the years is that SCORE does mostly start-up mentoring. Each year sees SCORE providing an increasing number of services to growing and mature small businesses.

Here are a few more myths about SCORE:

  1. SCORE mentors are retired. Some are. However, our chapter has a nice mix of retired and in-business members. Mentors manage their own time and, therefore, can arrange their volunteer time as they see fit.
  2. SCORE chapters don’t accept women. With more than 50 percent of small-business owners being women these days, women mentors are in great demand. The co-chair of SCORE Hagerstown is a woman this year.
  3. Hagerstown is the only score chapter in Maryland. There are several more, including larger chapters in Baltimore and Annapolis. Go to www.score.org for a complete listing of more than 360 U.S. chapters, including those in Maryland.
  4. SCORE is part of the U.S. Small Business Administration. It is a resource partner of the SBA, works in cooperation with the Small Business Technical Development Center and other government agencies, and is organized as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.
  5. SCORE provides grants and other funding for small businesses. We provide neither. What we do is direct potential clients to banks and other financial organizations that are approved for issuing SBA-guaranteed loans to qualified small businesses.
  6. All services provided by SCORE are free. All mentoring services are provided free of charge. Some of our workshops and seminars are free; others are offered for moderate fees. Scholarships are available for some.
  7. SCORE Hagerstown shares office space with the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce. We did for a number of years, commencing with the establishment of the chapter in 1983. Today, SCORE has offices in the Elizabeth Hager Building downtown and in the Technical Innovation Center on the main campus of Hagerstown Community College. Go to www.scorehagerstown.org for details.
  8. National Small Business Month will be in May this year. True, but SCORE Hagerstown will host a number of small-business events during April. The SCORE Hagerstown website will carry the event schedule, including the upcoming radio program “SCORE Talks Small Business.”

It is no myth that SCORE, since its founding in 1964, has pointed the way for millions of Americans to learn how to apply the successful principles for establishing and operating the wide variety of small business in the United States.

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If you seek access to what SCORE has to offer here in Hagerstown, call us at 301-766-2043. We are here to help.

Robert A. “Bob” Poor is a local small-business owner/operator. He is a small-business mentor and a regular contributor to the Ask SCORE column. Questions may be emailed to him at r.poor@myactv.net or sent by mail in care of The Herald-Mail, P.O. Box 439, Hagerstown, MD 21741, ATTN: Ask SCORE column.

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