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Ernst’s SCORE Act Gains Momentum with Small Business Leaders

WASHINGTON – Small business groups representing more than 477,600 small business owners and entrepreneurs across the country are calling on Congress to consider the SCORE Act of 2023 led by U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Ranking Member of the Senate Small Business Committee, and Senator Todd Young (R-Ind.).

The senators’ effort overhauls and refocuses the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) program to meet the needs of today’s dynamic economy and improve support for female and rural small business owners.




Corinne Goble, CEO of the Association of Women’s Business Centers, wrote: “On behalf of the Association of Women’s Business Centers, I write in full support of the SCORE Act of 2023, legislation that would modernize and enhance the Small Business Administration’s SCORE program…Through these simple changes, Congress can build on the successful legacy of the SCORE program and unlock its full potential.”




Todd McCracken and Reed Westcott of the National Small Business Association wrote: “On behalf of the National Small Business Association and its more than 65,000 members, as well as the millions of small businesses across the nation, we write in full support of the SCORE Act of 2023…The partnership between SCORE and the SBA speaks for itself - since its inception in 1964, it has helped millions of small businesses across virtually every stage and industry. The NSBA supports this important work and believes the changes included in the SCORE Act of 2023 will help ensure the program can have an even greater impact.”




Ron Busby, President of U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. wrote: “On behalf of the U.S. Black Chamber, Inc. and the more than 3 million small Black-owned businesses nationwide, we are writing to express our strong support for S.1896 theSCORE Act of 2023. By moving the Small Business Administration’s existing SCORE program to a competitive grant structure, while improving and modernizing the coaching model and other components, this legislation will help ensure the next generation of Black entrepreneurs have the tools they need to start and grow their businesses.”


The SCORE program, one of SBA’s core entrepreneurial development programs, has been plagued by poor performance, waste, and ongoing failures to reach women-owned entrepreneurs and small businesses in rural America.

Ernst’s SCORE Act of 2023 revamps SCORE by:

  • Amending the acronym of the current Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) program, and replacing it with Supporting Coaching Opportunities for Resilient Entrepreneurs (SCORE);
  • Retooling mentors as coaches and establishing a coaching certification program, which intends to ensure that all coaches participating in SCORE have an up-to-date knowledge of modern business practices and e-commerce;
  • Expanding online counseling services, including webinars and online toolkits to support entrepreneurs;
  • Ensuring coaches and employees undergo annual performance reviews, with action required in the event they fail to meet performance standards;
  • Requiring the current SCORE cooperative agreement to be recompeted every five years to ensure the contract awardee is an organization well equipped to provide fundamental, modern, and relevant business training to individuals in both rural and urban areas;
  • Forming the National Women’s Business Coaches (NWBC), which would oversee a “Coach-Match Program” to pair individuals with appropriate SCORE coaches through online and in-person events;
  • Examining how well SCORE is serving rural communities through a GAO study to identify rural SCORE chapters and to examine the efficacy of performance standards;
  • Serving to diversify the SCORE program by recruiting women business leaders to join SCORE as coaches; and,
  • Sunsetting the SCORE program four years after enactment, subjecting it to reauthorization thereafter.

Learn more here.