WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.) introduced the SCORE for Small Business Act today to reauthorize and improve the SCORE program and invest in the in-person mentoring, online training, and local workshops that SCORE provides to small businesses. This bill was previously introduced in December 2022 in the 117th Congress.
“The SCORE program has not received the place in statute that it deserves. This bill is essential to improving the way we serve our entrepreneurs in Maryland and across the country who rely on SCORE for a fair shot at growing their small business,” said Senate Small Business Committee Chair Ben Cardin. “The modernizations and improvements included in this bill ensure that the program remains a vital part of the Small Business Administration’s entrepreneurial counseling and training ecosystem. We will work hand in hand with my friend and fellow committee member, Senator Coons, to gather bipartisan support for the SCORE for Small Business Act of 2023.”
“Delaware’s small businesses are the backbone of the First State’s economy, and SCORE has long provided invaluable support, advice, and guidance to help businesses grow and create good-paying jobs,” said Senator Coons. “Through SCORE, volunteer mentors with real-world experience help Delaware entrepreneurs meet the challenges of running a business. This bill would reauthorize this crucial program with more funding and make improvements so it continues to support small businesses across the country.”
In addition to Senators Coons and Cardin, the bill was cosponsored by Senator Ed Markey (D-Mass.).
“On behalf of SCORE’s 10,000 volunteer mentors, we greatly appreciate the Small Business Committee’s support in reauthorizing the SCORE program at an $18 million appropriation. This reauthorization provides enthusiastic recognition of the significant positive impact SCORE has had on American small businesses, and serves as a testament to SCORE’s strong culture of compliance and good stewardship of the federal dollar,” said Bridget Weston, CEO of SCORE.
The SBA currently provides funds to SCORE to provide in-person mentoring, online training, and nearly 9,000 local training workshops annually for small businesses. SCORE’s more than 230 chapters are located throughout the entire United States and Puerto Rico. SCORE partners with more than 10,000 volunteer counselors, who are working or retired business owners, executives, and corporate leaders, to provide training assistance to small businesses at no charge or low cost.
The SCORE for Small Business Act would reauthorize the SCORE program and officially change the name from the Service Corps of Retired Executives to the SCORE program. This bill would also expand SCORE’s online counseling services to further support entrepreneurs. The bill establishes accounting standards for SCORE, requires a documented compensation policy for SCORE employees, institutes whistleblower protections, and mandates that SCORE provides three annual policy reports to Congress for oversight.
This month, Senator Coons introduced the bipartisan Research Advancing to Market Production (RAMP) for Innovators Act to help small businesses access competitive federal funding and help commercialize and scale up production of their technologies. In February, Senator Coons hosted a roundtable discussion on how the First State is doing in supporting its Black-owned small businesses, and where and how Delaware can improve.
Senator Cardin is Chair, and Senator Coons is a member, of the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.