Is there a charge for SCORE counseling?

There is no charge for individual counseling. There may be a small charge for attendance at SCORE presented seminars and workshops to cover the cost of educational materials.

Are the counseling discussions confidential?

SCORE adheres to a very strong code of ethics. No information about counseling sessions will be revealed to anyone outside of SCORE or to any current or potential competitor. Counselors are not allowed to counsel clients who are or, will be, competitors - in this case an alternate counselor will be assigned.

Who is SCORE anyway?

SCORE is a national nonprofit organization consisting of over 300 chapters and over 13,000 members. The counselors are all current or retired business people who volunteer to share their expertise with those in or seeking to enter the business community. SCORE is a resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Who is eligible for counseling?

Any U.S. citizen or resident alien who is running or planning to run a business in the United States. SCORE provides counseling to all comers regardless of age, gender or ethnic origins.

What is meant by counseling?

SCORE will provide advice, guidance and information to clients. It is the responsibility of the client to actually do all of the work required to start or run the business.

Does SCORE mentor existing businesses? Yes, mentoring is provided on the same no-cost basis as other counseling.

Does SCORE recommend lawyers, accountants or other business service professionals?

As a matter of policy SCORE does not recommend business service professionals or any other sources. Counselors may, however, provide lists of professionals who practice in the community. The selection of any professional is solely the responsibility of the client.

Can SCORE assist in obtaining an SBA business loan?

The SBA does not loan money. They underwrite loans just as the FHA and VA underwrite home loans. A client must first apply for a loan through a bank or similar institution. If they are turned down the borrower can request the bank to seek SBA backing for the loan. SCORE will assist the client throughout this process.

What are the characteristics of an SBA backed loan?

Typically an SBA backed loan will have an interest rate approximately 2.5 points above the prime rate. It will also have lower collateral requirements and it may require less cash participation by the borrower. It may also have a longer term to maturity.

Can SCORE assist in getting grants to start a business?

SCORE can assist where there are valid grants available; however, contrary to popular lore, there are very few grants available for starting a business and most of these are tied to specific local or state government projects like urban renewal, reducing high unemployment, etc. Be aware that there are many scams which promise grant money, but which will take money from the unwary.