Written by: Jerry Smith, SCORE Mentor

    Who doesn’t remember the person who was a major influence on their career – a teacher, a first boss, a wise colleague? They are never forgotten, and that person also gets to feel the gratification that comes with knowing they had a meaningful, long-term impact on another human being.

    What if you could be the one who has the opportunity to have a significant impact on a person who is starting out in a new business career? You can, by becoming a part-time volunteer in Piedmont SCORE!

    What is SCORE? It was founded almost 60 years ago by the US Small Business Administration (SBA), with the goal of providing free mentoring support to small business startups and existing small businesses via a highly experienced volunteer organization.

    There are SBA supported SCORE chapters all over the United States, with more than 10,000 volunteers. In 2020 alone, SCORE mentors helped start 45,027 new businesses and create 119,562 new jobs. In the same year, 60% of SCORE’s clients were women, 46% were minorities, and 9% were veterans.

    SCORE contains a wide variety of volunteers, from their 20s to 80s, including retired corporate executives, and small business owners, as well as volunteers who are actively working regular jobs in large and small businesses.

    There are four ways you can volunteer. The majority of volunteers are Mentors, who help small business startups and existing small businesses with every aspect of starting and running a small business. Additionally, there are Subject Matter Experts in a wide variety of subject areas including critical specialties like information technology, finance, sales and marketing, and manufacturing, just to mention a few.

    Mentors bring expertise in many specific business areas like office management, banking, healthcare, transportation, restaurant management, and numerous others. In addition, there are volunteer Presenters who provide a myriad of educational programs, as well as Administrators for every aspect of each chapter’s program.

    The Piedmont SCORE chapter, located in Greenville, started 50 years ago, includes 11 upstate counties from Union in the east, to Oconee in the West, Greenville and Spartanburg counties in the north, to McCormick in the South. With close to 50 members, ranging in age from 23 to 82, most of them mentors, literally hundreds of small business clients are served each year. New clients arrive almost every day, and the chapter is always seeking qualified mentor and other volunteer candidates.