SCORE, mentors to America’s small businesses and a resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration has launched SCORE for Rural Entrepreneurs. This centralized hub provides rural small business owners with information, tools, and personalized support to start and grow their businesses.
Small businesses in rural areas have declined by 33% over the past 10 years, and still face struggles including declining populations, funding challenges, and limited broadband access, according to a recent meta-analysis from SCORE. In fact, 39% of the U.S. rural population, or 23 million people, lack access to “fast” broadband internet service compared to 4% of urban residents.
SCORE for Rural Entrepreneurs will connect with these small business owners where they are to support them in overcoming obstacles, while still celebrating their successes and contributions to the U.S. economy. The hub includes:
- Free, remote, expert business mentoring focused on rural entrepreneur needs
- Webinars and original online educational content specific to the rural community
- Inspiring stories of rural entrepreneurs who have achieved their business goals
“We developed this resource because rural small business owners, like other underserved communities, deserve a seat at the table,” said SCORE Vice President of Marketing Candice Stennett. “This hub provides specialized resources to help rural entrepreneurs thrive. In particular, the remote mentoring program will include mentors with a strong understanding of the needs of rural business owners in order to provide the best support possible. Reaching rural entrepreneurs where these resources are not readily available is essential to their success, and we’re committed to bridging that gap.”
SCORE supports rural entrepreneurship
SCORE Lexington client Tara Ritchie, owner of Waggin Tails Pet Resort LLC in Whitesburg, Ky., says: “SCORE has been a game-changer for my business, providing many tools that supported me in becoming a business owner. The digital library is my most frequent stop on SCORE’s website and the recorded webinars are easy to listen to, even if I am driving. Without these free services, I would not have gained the insight and guidance needed to be successful.”
Pete Bednarek, owner of Wolf Hollow Brewing Company in Schenectady, N.Y says he’s been working with SCORE on a monthly basis for nearly a decade: “[SCORE’s] advice and counsel has been critical to many of the challenges and decisions we faced in growing our microbrewery in a rural area. My business partner and I started as two friends brewing 200 barrels of beer per year as a hobby business. Now, we have 13 employees producing more than 1,200 barrels per year on a 17-acre property, and our product is distributed across an 11-county region. SCORE’s new hub will support many other rural businesses that face similar challenges.”