Mentoring FAQs

We know you have questions about the mentoring process and what you can expect from it, so we have provided a set of Mentoring FAQ's to explain the details. 

We've provided the following information to help answer your questions on how the counseling process works. If you still have additional questions please feel free to e-mail us at or call us at 503-326-5211.

Who is eligible for free counseling?

Our clients are entrepeneurs who are planning to open a new business, buy an existing business, or who are currently operating their own business. SCORE provides free counseling without regard to ethnicity, age or sexual orientation.

How do I arrange for SCORE mentoring?

We provide these primary avenues:

My business idea is confidential. Can SCORE counsel me without risk of divulging my private information?

All SCORE mentors are committed to the confidentiality of client information. Each counselor signs the SCORE Ethics Agreement evey year to reaffirm this pledge.

How do you assign a mentor to me?

Initial requests for mentoring that are submitted through this website are routed to our Assignment Desk where a team of SCORE volunteers determine the nature of the help that's needed. The Assigment Desk then searches the chapter database to match the best available mentor to meet the client's needs. The Assignmment Desk forwards the information to the mentor who makes direct contact with the client.

Is mentoring a one shot process?

SCORE mentors will work with you for as long as you require their help. Some mentoring requests are focused on a single issue and will complete when the issue is resolved. Often our clients are looking for a longer term mentoring relationship that can continue for years.

Will I be pressured to buy goods or services that I might not really want?

All SCORE mentors sign an Ethics Agreement every year in which they pledge to stay fully independent for the benefit of the SCORE clients. In fact, SCORE volunteers are prohibited from any monetary arrangement involving a mentoring client, may not provide any paid services, and must assure that client interests are always the only focus of advice and recommendations.

Am I stuck with the one mentor you assign?

Absolutely not. Often we will assemble a small team of SCORE mentor to co-counsel, providing a range of backgrounds and perspectives. It's common for a client to start with one mentor on the primary topic and then to move to another mentor for other needs, a process that we will help you accomplish. Occassionally a mentor and client don't fit well together and we are happy arrange a new mentor.

Do I have to come into the downtown Portland office for mentoring?

Today only a modest portion of our mentoring sessions take place in our downtown office. SCORE mentors will work out a convenient location for you, which could be at your place of business or at one of our satelite locations outside of Portland. Followup communication is often by phone, fax and e-mail. Additionally, you can access e-Counseling through the SCORE national site in which all communication is by e-mail.

What is e-Counseling?

e-Counseling is a counseling service that is based on e-mail communication. It is convenient and simple, and is an excellent answer in certain cases. SCORE National provides e-Counseling services with a network of counselors from across the country. Additionally, Portland SCORE can provide e-Counseling services locally and along with a face-to-face relationship.

What qualifies SCORE counselors to give business advice?

SCORE volunteers are all experienced in the real business world. They each offer their careers as business owners, corporate executives, and business professionals to help guide you to sucess.

Are SCORE mentors current with the world of business today?

SCORE volunteers have chosen to give back to their community and to help others achieve success. Retired volunteers remain active and engaged in the business community in order to help their clients. A substantial portion of our membership is comprised of businesspeople who are still active in their careers. Portland SCORE requires ongoing education and training sessions to assure the quality of our mentoring services.

Does SCORE offer services besides mentoring?

Yes. The Portland SCORE chapter proves in excess of 100 high-quality business workshops to help our clients increase their skills and knowledge. Our Business Resource Center offers a business library, computers equipped with business applications, and walk in counseling services. The Business Assessment Team (BAT) program offers indepth assessemnt of mature businesses and our Speakers Bureau provides high quality speakers for local business gatherings. All of these services, and others, are described within this website.

How can you provide these services for free?

Portland SCORE is the local chapter of a national non-profit organization. Our local capabilities are primarily driven by our excellent volunteers. Our workshops are very popular and provide a substantial portion of our support. Additionally, we receive funding support from our outstanding local donors, from the SCORE National organization, and from the federal Small Business Administration.

Is SCORE part of the SBA?

No, SCORE is an independent non-profit organization. We are resource partners with the federal Small Business Administration (SBA) and are co-located in their Portland offices. We work together with the SBA to help small businesses find the financing they need and to provide ongoing support to local small businesses.

What do I stand to lose by trying SCORE mentoring?

Very little, of course. It's free and we believe we can make a tremendous difference in your future. SCORE volunteers bring their skills and experience to the local community because they want to make a difference, and we are committed to your success.