During National Mentoring Month this January, we would like to encourage business professionals to volunteer for SCORE, the nation’s largest network of volunteer, expert business mentors. SCORE has a nationwide network of more than 10,000 volunteers in 300 chapters, who offer free one-on-one counseling for starting and growing successful small businesses and nonprofits. Small business owners who receive three or more hours of mentoring report higher revenues and increased business growth. Mentoring can make a measurable difference in small business success.

For more than 50 years, SCORE mentors have shared their expertise with small business people across the country. In partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration, these volunteers have contributed to a stronger economy and small business successes in industries ranging from retail to manufacturing, and everything in between.

A Price Waterhouse Coopers survey in 2018 showed SCORE assisted 97 new businesses get started and created 1,299 non-owner jobs for a total of 1,396 new jobs in North Dakota alone.

Volunteering as a SCORE mentor means joining an active national community of volunteers who are committed to helping small business owners succeed. Through SCORE you can provide mentoring in person at one of the chapter offices, or through email, video or telephone from your home or office. Mentors come from many different sectors and professions, including small and large businesses, the military and education.

Volunteering of any kind provides valuable benefits not only for the recipient, but also for the volunteer. Volunteering at SCORE is a way for you to give back to your community, connect with fellow business owners, and pass on your knowledge to the next generation of entrepreneurs.

Please consider becoming a SCORE mentor. Don't worry if you think you don't have enough knowledge or experience to help other entrepreneurs. SCORE also offers team counseling, where several counselors with skills in various disciplines such as finance, human resources and marketing will help the client deal with broader business issues that require different skill sets. SCORE also provides training to fill in the gaps.

Has anyone asked you to volunteer with SCORE? Today we are asking: Would you join SCORE and use your experience to build a stronger Minnesota or North Dakota? For more information on how to become a SCORE mentor, visit www.score.org/volunteer.

Haut is director of the Small Business Administration's district office in North Dakota and Carver is the state director of ND SCORE.