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SCORE provides support, encouragement, tools to build businesses

A perspective of SCORE of Grand Rapids as seen in the eyes of a mentor.
Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids

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I sat down with SCORE mentor Tom Hollen to discuss this non-profit business agency. This organization is free to those interested in progressing/starting in the business field.

According to SCORE'S mission statement in part-"SCORE can give you the support, encouragement and tools to build and sustain your business."

"Unlike many enterprises like what recently happened to M.C. Sporting goods, which, in part, was swallowed up by Cabelas or companies which fell to Amazon, I think there are are more micro-breweries. And small restaurants are on their way back," Hollen said.

Tom is a retired Ferris State University instructor and served as an engineer. "Years ago," he stated, "I was surprised at how some folks didn't know anything about SCORE. I had some fellow teachers and friends encourage me to be a work with people one-on-one. I thought I could bring some of my skills to the table." 

But sometimes things don’t always work out. "I had an individual who wanted to take out a significant loan from a bank. I said, after he told me he could not successfully be able to do so due to the very high interest rate quoted him, that he could probably be considered 'high risk.' He didn't want to hear that and soon left SCORE," Tom said.

Tom said he was inspired by his supportive peers, which caused him to volunteer "in the first place." One of his students he mentored developed his desire to become a freelance photographer, which evolved into magazine submissions, to work on a self-published book which was filled with photos (he accomplished all three in 2016.) 

"GoFundMe is a possibility for some people. It is a great avenue for entrepreneurs or small businesses to consider," Tom emphasized.

To sum it up, SCORE is about success...success in the workplace. Volunteers and mentors meet anywhere in the greater Grand Rapids area. For more information, go to,  One can also email: [email protected] or call 616-771-0305.

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