SCORE helps new entrepreneurs operate like seasoned professionals

SCORE chapters enlist retired business professionals with decades of experience is several facets of opening, operating and expanding businesses to help new entrepreneurs.

We all know that sometimes first-hand experience is the best teacher. And fortunately, that first-hand experience does not have to be our own. Michigan State University Extension partner Northern Lakes Economic Alliance works closely with entrepreneurs that need a wide range of assistance. On several occasions it has worked closely with a local SCORE counselor that has the professional expertise and experience to help.

In the Petoskey area, NLEA is lucky to have a great team of experts that can provide that first-hand experience to both established and budding entrepreneurs, the Tip of the Mitt SCORE Chapter. This group of professionals has experienced all aspects of business, from starting their own small businesses to running the human resources department in a major manufacturing corporation. They are retired lawyers, business owners, marketing gurus, and bankers that can ease any business through the hard steps to becoming successful.

SCORE is a nationwide organization of retired and semi-retired professionals that offer free and confidential business counseling. They team up with local chambers of commerce and economic organizations to handle clients in all levels of business, but their wheelhouse remains in those entrepreneurs that have a business idea and need guidance to get to that next step. Many of SCORE’s tools come from the Small Business Association, as well as the large network of SCORE chapters throughout the U.S.

The professionals that volunteer as a part of the 374 chapters in the U.S., with nine located in Michigan, are known as SCORE counselors. These counselors often act as mentors for small business owners, from the concept phase all of the way through creating succession plans. The Tip of the Mitt SCORE counselors have developed close relationships with many clients that would not be possible if they did not have the time that their retirement affords them. These are relationships that many economic organizations cannot spend resources on, making these SCORE counselors invaluable. They can help develop business plans, prepare financial statements, peruse feasibility studies, develop mission statements, participate in strategic planning, and provide education on human resource issues, and much more.

SCORE chapters often provide services for a broad service area. If you are interested in learning more about SCORE, their services, and finding a chapter in your area, visit Many of their tools, such as a wonderful business plan outline, are also available through their website.

MSU Extension has had a unique partnership relationship with the regional economic development organization Northern Lakes Economic Alliance for more than 20 years. Recognizing the strength of combining resources, this partnership focuses on economic development, entrepreneurship growth and community infrastructure throughout a four-county region in the northwest Lower Peninsula, specifically Antrim, Charlevoix, Cheboygan and Emmet counties. As a result, the NLEA utilizes resources offered through MSU Extension as it provides leadership to statewide programs sponsored by MSU Extension.

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