(Photo | Courtesy of SCORE-Central Oregon)
SCORE-Central Oregon (SCORE-CO) is a nonprofit that provides free and confidential advice to entrepreneurs and small business owners. It is a member of the Bend Chamber and in its fiscal year completed served 42.5 percent more clients than the previous year.
National SCORE Director, Field Operations, Andrew Beamon, calls such growth exceptional. SCORE-CO responded to 295 client requests in FY 17-18, compared to 207 client requests in FY 16-17.
SCORE-CO Chairperson, John Harris, says, “The Bend-Redmond Area in 2016 grew 8.1 percent economically, second nationally as a regional economy. We met small business owners’ demands — engines for this growth.”
SCORE.org nationally has more than 13,000 business experts, certified as mentors, providing free counsel to improve existing small businesses, the backbone of the U.S. economy, and to coach and support entrepreneurs to have their own businesses.
Since 1964, SCORE volunteers have provided mentoring and training support to more than nine million entrepreneurs and small business owners. SCORE is affiliated with the Small Business Administration in the U.S. Department of Commerce.
The local chapter, SCORE-Central Oregon, has 16 mentors who have clients geographically beyond the three counties in Central Oregon. Actively working and retired business professionals are recruited and, if they desire to be a SCORE mentor, must complete a certification process; and semiannually all certified mentors must sign and register a SCORE ethical code statement. This assures the client that the nonprofit is not being used as a vehicle to secure paying clients for the mentor.
Nationally and locally SCORE holds regular business workshops for clients and interested parties. SCORE-CO partners with the Deschutes Library throughout the year to conduct workshops in the Bend, Redmond and Sisters Libraries. Topics include SBA Loans, Digital Marketing, Basic Financials for Small Businesses and Three Marketing Trends for 2019.
SCORE-CO considers the Deschutes Library facilities and staff as valuable co-resources for would be clients and clients. Community Librarian Liisa Sjoblom says, “The library is pleased to partner with SCORE to provide business counseling and workshops. We have found the partnership to benefit both organizations as we support the business community in Central Oregon.”
The City of Bend is another valued partner for SCORE-CO. Bend Business Advocate Ben Hemson throughout 2018 has posted blog news items profiling eight current SCORE mentors. The stable of experts offers experience in a variety of industries and from varied professional backgrounds — marketing, operations, consultancies, finance, sales and general management.
Bruce Barrett, SCORE mentor and past Chair of SCORE-CO, says, “With rich resources from other SCORE chapters, online experts and local one-on-one coaching, we can be a one-stop shop for the individual dreaming of her own business venture. My colleagues believe we’re in the right place at the right time with the right resources to help small business provide economic growth and jobs.”