WASHINGTON, D.C. — SCORE, a resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration, has named SCORE SE Wisconsin the 2024 Chapter of the Year out of more than 200 chapters nationwide for its outstanding support of small businesses through free mentoring, training and resources.

Among the many contributions of the SE Wisconsin Chapter is mentoring services for participants in the annual Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest, which is run through the Wisconsin Technology Council, as well as the Tech Council’s SWIFT program for entrepreneurs.

“We are proud to honor SCORE SE Wisconsin as Chapter of the Year in recognition of their embodiment of SCORE’s commitment to serve every entrepreneur, no matter who you are or what business stage you’re in,” said SCORE CEO Bridget Weston.

With 70 volunteers serving the chapter in 10 counties, SCORE SE Wisconsin made significant improvements to grow its outreach and service to the local small business community over the past year, establishing a strong culture of diversity and inclusion while simultaneously achieving its highest client and volunteer satisfaction scores to date.

In 2023, SCORE SE Wisconsin:

  • Provided 2,400 mentoring sessions – a 70% increase from the previous year
  • Supported more than 1,000 small businesses – a 33% increase from the previous year
  • Increased workshop attendance by 500%
  • Increased total services – mentoring sessions, events and workshops – by 120%
  • Increased rural clients served by 41%

In addition, SCORE SE Wisconsin hosted, co-hosted, or participated with community partners in 73 events – a 370% increase over the previous year – with specific outreach to small business owners in Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, veteran, Indigenous and rural communities. The chapter also began offering mentoring services in Spanish.

“I’m grateful to receive recognition for what we have achieved,” said Lisa Foster, who serves as chair of SCORE SE Wisconsin and associate district director. “More importantly, I hope that by sharing how we’ve adopted new approaches and built new partnerships, SCORE will reach and serve more people who need help overcoming challenges on the road to running a successful business.”

Foster added: “Events such as the Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Conference and SWIFT were fantastic for us in getting our name out and making new connections within the community.”

Unfortunately, 20% of businesses fail in their first year and 50% fail in their first five years. To help overcome these challenges, SCORE’s nationwide network of volunteer mentors provide experienced advice, best practices and training on a wide range of small business topics, all free of charge. Shana McCaw and Brent Budsberg, co-owners of design studio Current Projects, sought help from SCORE SE Wisconsin when establishing their business.

“Our SCORE mentor is someone with experience and an understanding of the business world that we can bounce ideas off of. He provides us with resources and guides our decision-making,” Budsberg said.

From PR Newswire and Tech Council News sources.