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Updated: April 8, 2024

SCORE Maine helped nearly 4,300 small businesses last year

woman oyster farmers Courtesy / SCORE Maine Cranberry Oysters is run by a team of women led by Lauren Gray, who founded the business in 2015 and works closely with Bill Webster, a certified SCORE Maine mentor.

SCORE Maine helped 4,289 clients get 360 businesses off the ground and create 1,652 jobs in 2023, the nonprofit said in its latest annual report.

With more than 110 volunteers, SCORE Maine is the state's largest active mentoring organization, offering free small business mentoring for clients at all stages of the business cycle as well as online and in-person workshops. The volunteer network includes 94 mentors, 18 subject matter experts and 16 workshop presenters.

“SCORE Maine can connect you with a free, experienced business mentor who can provide you with the tools and guidance you need to succeed,” said Nancy Strojny, SCORE Maine’s assistant district director, who was honored as a Mainebiz Woman to Watch in 2017.

Success stories 

Client successes highlighted in the 20-page annual report include Lauren Gray, founder and owner of Hancock County-based Cranberry Oysters, which she founded in 2015 and runs with a team of four other women.

“Not all problems have quick fixes,” Gray said, but her SCORE mentor Bill Webster “connected me to other people in the industry to help me find the right path … His guidance early on continues to greatly affect the shape of my business as it develops, and his clarity of purpose continues to frame the decisions I make today.”

Similarly, Colleen Hanlon-Smith of Daybreak Growers Alliance credited her SCORE mentor, Ted Hatch, with the guidance needed to advance her work and mission to serve Maine’s farmers and consumers. Hanlon-Smith was honored on the Mainebiz 40 Under 40 list in 2023.

SCORE Maine works closely with the U.S. Small Business Administration.

“We are so lucky in Maine to have such fantastic resource partners,” Diane Sturgeon, Maine district director for the U.S. Small Business Administration, told Mainebiz.

“SCORE is a volunteer-run organization, but you would never know it considering the level of service and assistance entrepreneurs receive when they work with their mentors or participate in their programming. Working with any of the SCORE chapters in Maine can be truly transformational for a small business owner.”

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