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INDIANAPOLIS — More and more people are opting to start their own businesses, with small businesses comprising more than 99 percent of Indiana’s businesses.
Starting and maintaining a business isn’t easy, and guidance is necessary. That’s where SCORE comes in. They’ve helped businesses like Ash and Elm Cidery.
On any given weeknight, the business is abuzz, but years ago, Ash and Elm was merely an idea.
“We started thinking about opening the cidery probably two to three years before we actually opened,” Andrea Homoya, the owner and founder, said.
While Homoya’s husband had always been a home brewer, they needed some help going beyond that.
“I needed someone to tell me, ‘This is where you are right now, so go do that,’ and when I came back and he said, ‘Okay, this is good. The next step is you need to talk with a lawyer, if you’re serious now is the time to engage a lawyer,’” Homoya said.
They found that someone through SCORE.
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“SCORE is a national not-for-profit organization," Steve Click, the SCORE Indianapolis chapter chair, said. "It’s composed of business professionals who volunteer their time to advise and mentor people who want to start or maybe people who are already in their business.”
The service and mentoring is totally free.
“When you’re starting a business, the cash is so scarce,” Click said. “There is so little cash to go around, and our mentors are all in it for the same reason, they’re in it just to give back to their community and to see their client succeed in their businesses.”
The Indianapolis chapter currently boasts 67 mentors with experience across all different kinds of industries. They mentor between 900 and 1,000 different people every year.
“If someone comes in with an idea, we listen to them, we hear their idea," Click said. "And then we talk about a pathway for them to be successful, for them to go out and do it.”
Ash and Elm Cidery is proof of that.
“I think we would have been a different business, and definitely not in a good way,” Homoya said.
SCORE is part of the U.S. Small Business Administration.