Rural Small Businesses Grow More Slowly Than Large Businesses, Mentorship Can Help

Rural Small Businesses Grow More Slowly Than Large Businesses, Mentorship Can Help

SCORE mentors provide support at no cost for rural entrepreneurs.

WASHINGTON, July 9, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Small businesses in rural areas grow at a slower rate than large businesses and face greater challenges to succeed, according to SCORE, a nonprofit resource partner of the US Small Business Administration (SBA). As the nation’s largest network of volunteer, expert business mentors, SCORE is working to change this trend by providing rural small businesses with the necessary resources and mentoring support they need to achieve greater growth.

Meeting challenges with resources and support
Rural small business employment grew by 1% between 2012 and 2019, while rural large business employment grew by 13% over the same time period, according to the SBA. In addition, rural entrepreneurs are more likely than non-rural entrepreneurs to be impacted by higher costs of doing business, according to a SCORE survey. To bridge these gaps, SCORE offers rural entrepreneurs access to free, personalized guidance from small business mentors across the country who are experts in various industries and business strategies, including the unique challenges faced by those in rural communities.

Kat Johnson explains why she turned to SCORE for help with her salad-centric farm in Check, Va.: “Making decisions in isolation is really intimidating, especially in a situation where I don’t know what is ‘normal’ or what to expect before I experience it. My SCORE mentor is interested in seeing me reach my goals, do my best and anticipate the next phase of business life that is ahead of me.”

Mentorship and more
Alongside mentoring, SCORE also offers a variety of resources specifically designed for small businesses. From online workshops and courses to helpful articles and templates, SCORE provides entrepreneurs with the knowledge and tools they need to develop their businesses and reach their full potential.

“Rural entrepreneurs have a longer-term outlook, with many influenced by the weather and the growth cycles of crops and animals,” said SCORE mentor Kurt Hulliger. “They are entrusted with improving the land to guarantee healthy products for their customers. I enjoy working over years with my clients and developing friendships that last.”

Through its local and national networks of community and government partners, SCORE can also assist rural entrepreneurs when it comes to finding and navigating funding opportunities. “Our critical rural business funding is supported in foundational ways by our partnership with SCORE,” explains Rhiannon HampsonMaine State Director at USDA Rural Development. “With the support and services they provide, SCORE is helping our USDA RD dollars go further, be more strategically invested and ultimately create success stories for the community as a whole.”

With SCORE’s help, rural small businesses can access the expertise, resources and support they need to overcome the challenges they face. This ultimately leads to greater growth opportunities for these businesses, which in turn contributes to the economic development of rural communities.

Request a mentor today at

About SCORE:
Since 1964, SCORE has helped more than 17 million entrepreneurs start, grow or successfully exit a business. SCORE’s 10,000 volunteers provide free, expert mentoring, resources and education in all 50 US states and territories. Visit SCORE at

Funded (in part) through a Cooperative Agreement with the US Small Business Administration.

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