SCORE Provides Free Counseling for Small Businesses

SCORE is a nationwide organization that supports small businesses with education and counseling to help them grow and succeed.  The Shenandoah Valley Chapter of SCORE is located in Waynesboro, Virginia and it serves Bath, Highland and Alleghany Counties and West Virginia.

“We provide free and confidential, we call it mentoring,” says Jim Martin. “We are not consultants.  We don’t do the work for our clients.  We provide advice based on our expertise, so that they have a clear understanding and ability to succeed when they either start a business or as they operate their business.”

That’s Jim Martin.  He’s the District Director for SCORE in Virginia.

“We believe that all businesses, and anyone who wants to start a business, should have access to all the resources that are available and, trust me, there are any number of resources that small business owners can tap into and unfortunately most of them don’t realize that,” says Martin.  “So, a lot of what we do is making sure that they have all the resources they need to succeed with their small business.”

SCORE partners with the Small Business Administration and it assists small business owners at any level.   You can get help if you are thinking about starting a business, are already well established or anywhere in between.  SCORE has more than 10,000 volunteers nationwide.  Their certified mentors go through training and have personal experience themselves.

“Small businesses represent well over 90% of all the business activity in the United States today,” says Martin.  “Small businesses really could be thought of as the backbone of the American economy and it’s important that they have the same sort of opportunities to succeed as your big Fortune 500 companies, that can afford to hire consultants and other advisors.   Most small businesses don’t have access to that kind of capital and yet they need that sort of advice and expertise as much as our large Fortune 500 companies.  Our volunteers kind of run the gamut, across the board, as to our expertise, but most of us have either been or are currently small business owners ourselves or we’ve been executives with business.  So, we bring a lot of experience to the table to help guide our clients to the success that they deserve and that they are striving for with their small business.”

SCORE is always looking for more volunteers and mentors.  Volunteers help in many different roles, not just as mentors.

If you’d like more information, visit

Story By

Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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