Working Together to Help Others

July 28, 2023

Written by Amy Bartlett

When you peel the onion that is the SCORE volunteer mentor organization, it’s an unending discovery of sacrifice and impact, going back nearly 60 years and influencing a surprising number of local businesses and business leaders.

A resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration, SCORE has educated and mentored more than 11 million small business owners and entrepreneurs across the country since starting in 1964, offering free and confidential business mentoring, education, and resources to help clients start or grow their businesses. SCORE has 230 chapters nationwide with more than 10,000 volunteers.

Nationally last year 30,453 new businesses were started.

SCORE SC Lowcountry, which has 43 volunteers, makes a local impact. In 2022, 164 jobs were created.

“The beauty of the way SCORE works is we work with each other,” says Karen Casey, mentor at SCORE SC Lowcountry.
The network she describes refers to leaning into one another’s areas of expertise.

"If I’m helping someone with finance, but then we need HR input, we can connect them to an HR-experienced volunteer,” Casey said.

After retiring from a 30-year career in banking, Casey (CPA, CFP) wanted to use her knowledge and skillsets to help others.

“I found an article on SCORE SC Lowcountry and was intrigued by helping small businesses succeed, Casey said. "My greatest satisfaction is watching my clients succeed. Luana Graves Sellars is one of them and providing her direction to fulfill her passion and watch her quit her full-time job and make the scary step toward supporting the Gullah Geechee community through her podcast, Foundation and speaking engagements was amazing.”

Well equipped with a journalism degree from Southern Illinois University, complete with a minor in Black History, Casey said Sellars still wasn’t sure where to begin when facing the vast landscape of Gullah culture and history that goes hand in hand with life on Hilton Head Island.

Now, she’s published regular columns and series ("First Families of Hilton Head and Local Roots"), produced documentaries ("Freedom Day: The Historic Families of Mitchelville, Juneteenth: The Birth of Freedom" and "Harriett Tubman: From the Railroad to A Spy"), and has grown a listenership as a cultural authority and subject matter expert as the host of the Lowcountry Gullah Podcast.

Another success story

Casey shares, “Another client, who was referred to me from a bank, wanted to buy the bridal shop she managed. The bank could not provide financing since she was a startup. I worked with this client to develop a business plan and financial projections and submitted it to a financial intermediary that does finance startups. When they approved her loan and she bought the business, we celebrated, and I received so much satisfaction that I helped another person achieve their dreams and launch a successful business.”

Having a SCORE business mentor provides entrepreneurs access to a network of 10,000 volunteers.

Locally, the SCORE chapter provides introductions to other clients and professionals who can help a business thrive in the community.

The website also offers scores of online webinars, workshops, and resources from specific blogs on how to start a food truck business, to biz basics like how to write a winning business plan, to end-of-shift support like how to make an exit strategy for changing or closing your business well.

For more information, visit