Frequently Asked Questions
Below you will find a few points that we believe may be helpful as you start your small business journey with SCORE Chicago. If you have any additional questions, fill out our contact form and we will get back to you soon.
General SCORE FAQs
SCORE, America’s premier source of free, confidential small business advice, was founded in 1964 as a nonprofit resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Because SCORE receives government funding, and thanks to our more than 10,000 dedicated volunteers, we are able to deliver most of our offerings at no cost.
Our network of 10,000+ expert volunteers offers business mentoring and workshops at more than 250 SCORE offices across the country. SCORE also provides virtual mentoring services via phone, email and video, plus webinars and other online resources for budding entrepreneurs and established business owners.
SCORE provides free, confidential business advice through our volunteer network of 10,000+ business experts. You can meet with a mentor online or face-to-face in a chapter near you.
To request a mentor, visit our Find a Mentor page and search for a mentor and make an appointment. If you prefer, we can also make a match for you based on your business question.
SCORE will attempt to contact you at least three times during the two weeks after you have submitted your mentoring request. If you have not connected with a mentor at the end of this time, please contact email@example.com.
After you are assigned a mentor, you can meet with your mentor regularly for ongoing help starting or growing your business, or you can make appointments whenever a specific issue or question arises.
SCORE’s mentoring services are provided at no cost to you, regardless of the number of times you visit a SCORE mentor (and regardless of how many mentors you work with).
The discussion with your SCORE mentor is strictly confidential. Our mentors sign a Code of Ethics and Conduct that ensures the protection of your information and business idea.
If you did not feel that you received valuable advice or assistance during a mentoring session, please discuss this with your mentor. Our #1 goal is to provide you with a positive experience and help you with your business needs.
SCORE will work to assign you to the perfect mentor, based on your need, industry and location. Your assigned mentor can then connect you with other mentors as needed to provide specialized advice and extra support.
If your initial mentor is not a good “fit” for you, we can pair you with another one of our thousands of business mentors across the country. In this case, you may contact your local SCORE office or email firstname.lastname@example.org to request a new mentor.
We encourage clients to:
- Join webinars
- View recorded webinars
- Complete interactive courses on demand
- Attend local workshops
- Take advantage of our library of online resources to supplement their SCORE mentoring and learn about specialized topics.
You benefit most from SCORE by meeting with a mentor for more than a one-hour appointment. Before the conclusion of your initial session, your mentor (or someone from the local SCORE office) will schedule another appointment for you or assist you in finding the correct resource. For best results, we recommend that our clients meet with their mentors regularly.
While we prefer for clients to follow through with any scheduled appointments, we understand that things may occasionally come up that will require you to cancel an appointment. If you have to cancel an appointment, we ask that you notify your local chapter as soon as possible.
Both you and your mentor will work together to identify key areas to focus on to build your business success. Your mentor will act as an accountability partner, providing you with the guidance and resources you need to take the next steps toward advancing your business.
After your first and fourth meetings with your mentor, you will receive an electronic survey from SCORE office about your experience. The survey will take you about one minute to complete. We ask for your feedback in order to continue to improve our services. Our Client Satisfaction Survey results are reviewed continuously at all levels in SCORE.
All of our workshops are low-cost or free of charge. You can register for a live webinar presented by a business expert, view a recorded webinar or take an interactive course on demand.
We also offer instructor-led workshops, roundtables and events in your community. These are available for free or for a nominal fee. All funds received from the local workshops support the chapter and development of new workshops, handouts, materials and other business resources.