Dickinson County man gives free, professional business advice through SCORE mentor program

South Central UP

UPPER PENINSULA, Mich. (WJMN) – Small business owners can sometimes feel lost in the dark on how to either start it up or keep it running.

SCORE is nationally used source that gives those businesses free advice. There are chapters and volunteer mentors across the country to help out.

Bruce Orttenburger’s original career was in Community Land Use Planning. In 2016, he retired as the President and CEO of the Dickinson Area Chamber Alliance, now Dickinson Area Chamber of Commerce. For the past few years, Bruce has used his time in retirement to be a mentor.

“Assistance on business plans, marketing primarily,” said Orttenburger. “Now this would be pre-COVID, they were [asking], how would you get you business more towards the consumer or whoever is their clientele that they’re trying to attract.”

Orttenburger says he provides ideas while trying to get a feel in which direction the business is going. He is part of the Central Wisconsin Chapter which serves parts of the U.P.

“Most of the time, it’s a very, very small start up,” said Orttenburger. “Maybe ‘ma and pa’, maybe just an individual tapping into the market.”

Volunteers come from a whole mix of different backgrounds to help fit peoples needs and can technically help people anywhere. Orttenburger says he’s even helped a business in Washington. He is one of two mentors in the U.P.

“We don’t have an issue of attracting clients, but we do have a challenge in trying to get the word out,” said Orttenburger.

Orttenburger says its easy to become a mentor. Their website has details on how to become one, how to find a mentor and various business tips like running one during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Interested people can also contact Orttenburger directly through email at bruce.orttenburger@scorevolunteer.org.

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