Partner Spotlight – SCORE

Hannah Olson, Leah Breuer, and Sydney Smith from CFI sat down with the co-chairs of SCORE, Sheila Bruhn and Queen McCartney and interviewed them regarding the partnership between SCORE and CFI.

Tell us about SCORE and what SCORE provides to the Grand Forks community.

“SCORE is one of SBA’s (Small Business Administration) partners, we are actually under their umbrella. We are all volunteers, our services are all free and mentoring sessions are confidential. If you’re a client and you have a business you want to start, grow, or even sell/close you can come to us and we will meet you where you are at on your business journey.

Currently we have 24 mentors on our roster. Our chapter is one of 330+ nationwide. Right now, about 95% of our sessions are via Zoom. We also meet with our clients over the phone and in-person when needed. The pandemic gave us a little more flexibility in who we could work with because now we can work with anyone in the nation if they need it. However, our focus of course is regional right here in Grand Forks and the surrounding area.

We have over 10,000 volunteers just like Queen and I nationwide and if we don’t have the skill set that a client is looking for, we have that pool of candidates to help us.” -Sheila

How do you interact with your clients?

“We are willing to accommodate our clients as much as possible. Mentoring sessions are typically one hour and are held on Thursdays from 9 AM to 4 PM. However, sessions can be scheduled for other days and times when the client’s and mentor’s schedules align.” -Queen

“We are not experts by no means. However, we know the processes and what has to happen. We give our clients the tools they need to accomplish their goals. We encourage them to build their relationships. And again, we try to meet each client where they’re at in their business journey. The Grand Forks SCORE Chapter has been named number one in the nation for client engagement for two years in a row, 2020 and 2021. We are also currently number one in the SCORE midwest region.” -Sheila

What does your client base look like? 

“Everyone, from childcare to bakers to coffee shops, it’s a mixture.” -Queen

“Again, we have 24 mentors in our chapter and a plethora outside our chapter. If we don’t have that skill, we know where to find it and to help our clients.” -Sheila

“With Zoom right now, we’ve had clients from Africa, California, Tennessee, Massachusetts, and more.” -Queen

How does the partnership between CFI and SCORE help SCORE?

“We are all partners in this. The Center for Innovation is a huge partner for all of us.” -Sheila

“We bring in resources from outside of our chapter, like Nicole Evans from the Small Business Development Center.” -Queen

“Our mentors can come in and use the SCORE office computers and other resources CFI offers. This is a spot where we can come and meet with our clients.” -Queen

“And to use the Boardroom when we have chapter meetings and all of CFI’s technology. Queen is right, our clients need the help from Nicole at SBDC. We partner with everyone at CFI.” -Sheila

The CFI team enjoyed sitting down with Sheila and Queen to discuss these questions. Resources, like SCORE, are housed in CFI to offer assistance to CFI clients-without ever leaving the building! The CFI can be your one-stop shop for resources and connections you need to start building your business today. Contact us to learn more! 

Special thanks to SCORE, Sheila, and Queen for all of the amazing work they do for Grand Forks and North Dakota entrepreneurs. We are proud to call you a partner of CFI!