The Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE)
SCORE is a volunteer program of the SBA. The organization matches the skills and experience of the volunteers with a business that needs expert advice. About 14,000 men and women business executives participate in the program and share their management and technical expertise with present and prospective owners and managers of small businesses.
Volunteers are members of 390 locally organized, self-administered chapters offering services in more than 700 locations throughout the U.S. There is no charge for the counseling, but there may be a nominal fee for the training programs. Volunteers offer counseling in distribution channels, expansion potential, and product changes. They offer workshops to present and prospective small business entrepreneurs within the local community. An individual currently operating a small business or contemplating a business start-up is eligible for help from SCORE. The service is not tied to any SBA loan. Any local office of the SBA can advise caller of the availability of a SCORE program.
Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs)
This branch of the SBA sponsors 57 SBDCs in 50 states as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. Through a network of subcenters located at educational institutions, chambers of commerce, economic development corporation, and downtown storefronts, the state SBDCs provide up-to-date counseling and training, and deal with financing, marketing, production, organization, engineering, technical problems, and feasibility studies.
More specialized programs include services to inventors with patentable products, international trade centers for how-to export and import advice, business law information and guidance, procurement matching, venture capital formation, and small business incubators.
The location of a local SBDC can be found by calling the Association of Small Business Development Centers at (402) 595-2387.
Small Business Institute (SBI)
The SBA sponsors more than 500 SBIs in all states and territories in order to offer small business owners an opportunity to receive intensive management counseling from qualified college level business students working under expert faculty guidance. The studies focus on market studies, accounting systems, personnel policies, production design, product line diversification, exporting, expansion feasibility, and strategy. A local office of the SBA can advise the caller of the availability of an SBI in the area.