About Us


The Fort Wayne chapter of SCORE was founded in 1976 as Chapter 0050. We are an active chapter and have more than 55 volunteers. The counselors of Fort Wayne SCORE are experienced business owners and managers who volunteer their experience and knowledge to help small business owners and potential small business owners achieve success.
Client service is the objective of Fort Wayne SCORE and our volunteer business counselors are dedicated to providing the best possible service. Face-to-face in workshops or online, the counselors of Fort Wayne SCORE are able and willing to aid in the success of small business. SCORE counselors provide you with in-depth, industry-specific business assistance to help evaluate a business idea or plan, stimulate business growth and ensure long-term stability.
A little more detail about our history to date

In 1974 and 1975, a group of Fort Wayne executives agreed to help the Small Business
Administration in Indianapolis monitor businesses that had received S.B.A. Loans. The area covered
included the cities of Fort Wayne, South Bend, Warsaw, etc. Six executives were members this
group: and one is with us today. Mr. Jack Dever…still a very active and contributing member. In
1976 at the urging of the SCORE chapter in Indianapolis, a SCORE chapter was formed in Fort
Wayne; the members receiving its charter on June 1 of that year. The original efforts were to monitor
the businesses that had received S.B.A. loans, continuing the work of that the group had been doing.
But the members gradually started to counsel new businesses.
One of the early successes was the Chapter’s assistance in helping Pat Miller and Barbara Bradley
Baekgaard start Vera Bradley. And In March 1985, Chapter 50 nominated Vera Bradley Associates
as the Indiana Small Business Company of the year. Interestingly they were not selected.
Beyond what i have just shared, the history of the Fort Wayne Chapter is rather scarce. It is easy to
extrapolate from notes and minutes though, that more than 400 men and women have been
members of our Chapter…..more than 35,000 businesses and individuals have been served…..and
another local favorite that is noteworthy is the Cookie Cottage…….
Chapter members counsel businesses in every industry….from tarot reading and reflexology to
Aluminum smelters, to recyclers and high tech computer software developers. All sessions are
confidential and SCORE members are prohibited from financially participating or benefiting from a
client’s business.
Services have expanded over the years. For this past fiscal year, for all services, the Chapter will
have served more than 1400 businesses and individuals in Northeast Indiana.
1. The primary activity is face-to-face mentoring, either in our office, located in the Lower Level of this
building, or elsewhere within the community.
2. Many of our members choose to email mentor SCORE’s maintains a data base of all members
that includes our work experiences, areas of expertise…..And those of us that agree, are accessible
as a resource to anyone in the United States through the National SCORE Website.
3. We are especially proud of our involvement in helping start and providing ongoing support to the
Annual Women’s Business Forum held in May at Trine University. 110 attendees this year.
4. More than 12 years ago, SCORE member Craig Miller, present with us today, was instrumental in
starting the CEO Roundtable events held each month, at what was then the Chamber, and is now
Greater Fort Wayne Inc. Our members still, participate and help facilitate, discussions and activities
that aid each CEO to deal with common and shared problems and hurdles.
5. A branch was in 2007 established in Kendallville….co-located with the Chamber of
Commerce…..and in Angola, with a new office location within Trine University’s new entrepreneurial
complex of Innovation One.
6. The Fort Wayne Chapter is serving in an advisory capacity to Indiana Tech’s new entrepreneurial
venture, the Center for Creative Collaboration; Trine University’s entrepreneurial venture, Innovation
One; and the University of St. Francis’s Keith Busse School of Business and Entrepreneurial
Leadership Center.
7. Our members often give guest lectures in classrooms at Ivy tech, Indiana tech and Grace
8. Our monthly membership meetings have been hosted by Indiana Tech for more than 20 years
now….those meetings provide educational opportunities for our members to improve the service we
offer our clients….as well as to be inspired by the success stories of our clients.
9. And thanks to Mike Fritsch and the Innovation Center for hosting several of our meetings, as well
as, sharing some of the current tools for helping start operations.
10. Our members partner with Ivy tech, St. Francis University and Grace College by mentoring
student teams participating in school sponsored Business Plan Competitions.
11. The Chapter participates by weekly in workshops at the Urban League, talking with folks looking
for jobs about the do’s and don’ts of starting a business and the services that SCORE offers. as well
as speaking frequently in the community about what it takes to be entrepreneur…and community
12. And of course we develop and conduct workshops in a variety of topics….Just concluded was a
series of workshops on Marketing and Sales…one held at Indiana tech in August and another last
week in Angola at Trine University..
Chapter 50 has many success stories over the years.
On the personal side, it is a distinct honor for me to serve as Chairman of this SCORE
Chapter….especially during this 50th anniversary. I first became aware of the SCORE organization
more than 40 years ago…. I had more than an inkling way back then, if SCORE and I both survived
that I would become an active member.
My experience has not been disappointing.
It is very rewarding to be a small part of someone else’s success….to watch them start and/or grow a
successful business; Please don’t misunderstand, our clients are pretty much responsible for their
own success….we just help point them on the right direction…..serve as a sounding board, and
hopefully prevent them from making the same mistakes we have along their journey.
These past 6 years have not produced the best of economic times, and it has been especially
enjoyable to witness the creativity, intelligence, energy and enthusiasm, of so many people, young
and old, as they embark on a journey to start their own business, in a manner that embodies to me
the true spirit and intent of the American Dream.
The side benefit to membership in our organization is that I get to rub shoulders with the members: a
group of highly successful, talented and interesting men and women……from many walks of life;
desiring only to give back; having no interest other than helping others succeed and furthering the
economy of the community in which we exist.
Each economic development organization each has its role…SCORE’s uniqueness lies in the
passion the members bring to the clients…our efficiency and cost effectiveness….the education we
possess from the school of hard knocks…..and the many years of business experiences that allows
each of us to share our know-how, professional experience, resources, contacts; to make our clients
successful. A complementary as well as pivotal role.
Steve Rinehart  Current Chapter 50 President      September 2014


Have you had a successful business career, and believe that you have something to contribute to the business community? SCORE may be just the opportunity you are looking for to share your business knowledge and experience. Help emerging businesses succeed and stay active in the Fort Wayne marketplace.

SCORE "Counselors to America's Small Business"  is the premiere small business counseling and advice organization in the United States. SCORE is a non-profit, charitable organization composed of men and women who volunteer their services.

Consider taking advantage of this unique opportunity to give something back to the business community. SCORE is a resource partner of the SBA.

Giving back to the community is important . . . as a business professional, you have talents and business acumen that you can share with others.  When you do, the Treasure Coast business community benefits . . . and so do you!

SCORE’s variety of outreach efforts means there’s a SCORE opportunity for you – no matter your area of expertise, time availability, or personal preference for involvement.


If you want to . . .


There’s a SCORE opportunity for that!

Interact with Northeast Indiana entrepreneurs trying to decide whether to start a local business.

Join SCORE’s local entrepreneurs who conduct Quick-Start seminars.

Time commitment:  up to individual

Provide real-time one-on-one support to a local entrepreneur starting or growing a Northeast Indiana business.

Join SCORE’s counselor cadre who work from a variety of Northeast Indiana locations – there’s one near where you live and work!

Time commitment:  up to individual, days or evenings

Share your specialized expertise – in finance, law, marketing, business planning – with entrepreneurs thinking of expanding or changing their existing businesses.

Join SCORE’s group of local business people who conduct segments of Jump-Start seminars (in partnership with Local Chambers of Commerce).

Time commitment:  varies, evenings

Use your consummate interest in building and sustaining partnerships aimed at linking together Northeast Indiana organizations involved in improving the business climate for local entrepreneurs

Join SCORE’s outreach efforts to ensure that SCORE is a partner with local Chambers, professional associations, financial institutions, and the SBDC in developing seminars, workshops, round-tables, and one-on-one interventions with local Northeast Indiana entrepreneurs.

Time commitment:  varies, mostly days

Energize local groups of entrepreneurs and professionals to meet regularly and share insights, lessons learned, ideas for new or improved business approaches.

Join SCORE in establishing and sustaining regional, issue-oriented round-tables which meet regularly to swap ideas and new initiatives.

Time commitment:  up to the individual

Use your administrative management skills to keep SCORE activities running efficiently and effectively.  If you’re adept at establishing and managing business processes, basic bookkeeping, and/or managing class enrollments and counselor appointments . . .

Join SCORE’s expansion of our in-office and regional class activities.

Time commitment:  up to the individual

Apply your IT skills (database management, IT support, website design and changes).




Join SCORE as we use IT tools to streamline our work processes, facilitate class enrollments and stay connected with the Northeast Indiana business community.

Time commitment:   working from the SCORE office or home

Use your marketing administrative skills to increase community awareness of SCORE and our activities.



Join SCORE as a marketing support volunteer, responsible for SCORE advertising, press relations, e-mail marketing and support to community outreach.

Time commitment:  depending upon your interest


“But I thought SCORE was just for retired folks . . . !” 

Wrong – SCORE is a multi-disciplined group of Northeast Indiana entrepreneurs of all ages.  One thing we all have in common is our desire to tap into the entrepreneurial expertise resident in Northeast Indiana.  We share our expertise with others – entrepreneurs starting new businesses, as well as entrepreneurs expanding or contracting existing businesses. 

SCORE makes a difference in the lives of individual entrepreneurs and the Northeast Indiana business community.  Wouldn’t you like to be part of this type of organization?  It’s easy – just give us a call and we’ll work together to see where your talents and time availability match our needs – and the needs of the Northeast Indiana business community.

It’s that easy: there’s a SCORE opportunity for every entrepreneur in SCORE Chapter 50 fort Wayne.

To receive information about joining SCORE  call 260-422-2601


Fort Wayne SCORE from T.E.A.M. on Vimeo.

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