DAVENPORT, Iowa — During the pandemic, the Quad Cities chapter of SCORE saw an 82 percent increase in client services, reaching a record number of 400 clients they're currently serving.
SCORE is a national organization founded by the federal government to help small businesses. The Quad Cities chapter was founded in the 1970s.
Locally, there are 30 volunteers, many of them retired business manager, executives and entrepreneurs, who mentor new and veteran small business owners.
"We help people develop their ideas, plan to launch a business, help them go through the launch process, help them start and grow the business," said Iowa SCORE District Director Tom Trone. "We help small businesses that may be in business for years, even decades, and helping them evolve and change and improve."
Trone said during the pandemic a lot of businesses had to pivot and change the way they run their business in order to stay alive.
One of the ways SCORE helped businesses during the pandemic was to educate owners on the loans available to them and how to apply for one.
In June 2020, Josh Graves decided he wanted to open his own business after spending almost 10 years operating a recording studio. He began the process of creating Underground Economy, which is a collaborative space for entrepreneurs and creative professionals.
"I'm always looking for resources that are going to help my business you know, being an entrepreneur and being a solo entrepreneur, especially you have limited funds and limited resources to utilize in your network," he said. "One of the things that I found that was really difficult was finding mentors and finding people that would give me that knowledge or that expertise that let me go to that next level."
He decided to turn to SCORE and found that mentorship.
"I was able to say, 'Hey, what do you think about this? Or 'How does this look?' or, you know, just different things that I'm able to just continuously use them as a resource if I'm stuck," Graves said. "Sometimes it's just affirmation of things that you're already doing. Those things go a long way when it comes to building something that you're confident in and you're empowered about, but you don't really know what your next steps are."
Graves said it was difficult trying to start a small business in the middle of a pandemic, so he was glad he had that extra support from SCORE.
"I can't lie, it was a little stressful, but you know, having these resources just kind of like took that stress out of my mind," he said.
Since being founded in the Quad Cities, SCORE has worked with thousands of clients and small businesses, according to Trone.