How much does counseling cost?
It is free.
Who are SCORE counselors?
They are successful executives and business owners who have volunteered their wisdom and experience to help you at no cost.
How long will a SCORE counselor work with me?
You can use them as often as you wish. If you begin a relationship with a counselor, they can become your mentor, working with you over time to build your business from idea to startup to growth. They can also work with you as you write and refine your business plan.
How do I find a counselor with the expertise I am looking for?
All counselors are trained to handle the initial interview. They may then refer you to experts in many skill areas and numerous industries.
Do you have Spanish-speaking counselors? Women Counselors?
Yes. Please call (312) 353-7724 to arrange a meeting with one. See also Women at SCORE Chicago and Resources for Women Entrepreneurs pages.
How do I schedule a counseling appointment?
Click this link to see counseling locations and hours. Some sites allow you to book an appointment online, and others ask that you call.
If I am starting a business, should I attend a workshop before I get counseling?
Yes, we recommend it. You will get more out of private counseling if you have gone through our 6 basic 'Certificate of Achievement' workshops. Sign up here for the series of six Certificate of Achievement workshops.
What is the Business Certificate Workshop Series?
The Business Certificate Workshops are a series of six programs focusing on specific resources, methods and tools for small business entrepreneurs, especially those looking for financing or in-depth training. This certificate can help you at the bank. You can complete the six session course in any single month.
Workshops may also be taken individually, but prepay $200 for all six for and take any Special Workshop of your choice at no charge.
What if I pay for a workshop and cannot attend it?
Contact our workshop coordinator at (312) 353-4540 to make arrangements to retake the class.
Where can I find more local business resources?
We have a page of Business Links, that gives you more information about resources available from us and from other nonprofit and government agencies.
Can you provide me with referrals to attorneys, web developers, insurance agents and accountants?
The organization as a whole does not maintain any such lists, but sometimes individual counselors will provide you with three names of people with whom they are familiar. Our code of ethics prohibits us from endorsing individuals or companies.
LOANS AND GRANTS
Can you help me get a business loan?
We can advise you as you develop your business plan to help you prepare for the bank. Neither the SBA nor SCORE Chicago makes loans. The SBA guarantees loans made by commercial banks to qualified small businesses, but you have to apply at a bank. See also Five Tips for Financing Your Startup or Business, and Government Support for Business Loans.
How can I get a grant to start my business? See Government Grants for Business?