Gina Wightman of Wightman & Associates

Wightman & Associates: Finding Success with Government Contracting Services Offered by Florida PTAC at UCF’s Bid Match System

University of Central Florida’s PTAC, FSBDC, and Business Incubator Support Growth of Lake County Company.

May 15, 2018
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Hal Thayer, Communications Director, FSBDC at UCF, 407.420.4850 or hthayer@ucf.edu

              Steven South, PTAC Manager, FSBDC at UCF, 407.420-4859 or steven.south@ucf.edu

Orlando, FL – For Gina Wightman, being the founder and now president of Wightman & Associates, LLC (W&A) was only the start. Under her leadership, her company was a success with a broad client base. With the assistance of the University of Central Florida’s (UCF) entrepreneurial support ecosystem, including the Florida SBDC at UCF, the UCF Business Incubator and the Florida Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) at UCF, W&A was established and looking to grow.

Wightman & Associates is in the business of helping government, public service and other organizations optimize their effectiveness. “Workforce Excellence through Innovation and Technology” is its mission. W&A helps those enterprises analyze training needs and provides mission-focused training development and consulting services. They specialize in assisting public and private entities focused on natural hazard mitigation, emergency preparedness, disaster response and recovery, environmental health, epidemiology, safety, & environmental and radiological protection.

Doing business with the government is an especially significant opportunity for small- and medium-sized businesses, but is too often overlooked. For Gina Wightman, because of a long and successful career working in that arena, it was her sweet spot. And she pursued it aggressively using the Government Contracting Services offered by the Florida PTAC at UCF.

“The training seminars, consulting and business tools made available to me through the Florida PTAC at UCF have been invaluable,” Wightman says today. “I can’t emphasize enough how important working with the Florida PTAC has been. At the start, they helped us obtain certification as a Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) which makes us more competitive for government contracts. We were turned down initially but our Procurement Specialist coached us through our appeal and we were approved!”

From there, the Florida PTAC at UCF introduced Wightman and W&A to the PTAC Bid Match database. Built to help clients like W&A find government contracting opportunities with just one click, the PTAC Electronic Bid-Match system enables companies to receive targeted federal, state, and local solicitations via e-mail daily. To populate this exclusive database, the Bid Match service monitors hundreds of procurement Web sites around the clock.

“Florida PTAC has been the source of consistent and solid support and help” continued Wightman. “They have reviewed and contributed to our capabilities statement and contract proposals. They have taught us how to access and use the PTAC Bid Match database – and we have won a contract thanks to it! I am so much more knowledgeable about all things government contracting, like GSA schedules, DUNS numbers and so much more. All thanks to the guidance of the Florida PTAC at UCF and its specialists.”

“Since starting with UCF’s programs, we have developed a broader range of services and a more focused pursuit of business development, especially thanks to being part of the PTAC Bid Match system” concluded Wightman. “It’s enabled us to increase our contracts by 20% year over year. If I had to use one word to describe all that we have gained from the UCF Business Incubator, Florida SBDC and Florida PTAC, it would be ‘Helpful’. Not the most dynamic description, but exactly what every small business needs: help.”

For information about Wightman & Associates, please visit http://wightman-associates.com.

FSBDC —

About the Florida Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) at UCF

Government Contracting Services offered by the Florida Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) at the University of Central Florida provide high-value, confidential one-on-one consulting at no cost to help Florida businesses prepare, research, and bid on federal, state, and local government contracts. Since 1986, Florida PTAC client businesses statewide have won $8.3 billion in contract awards, helping to create and save 187,090 jobs. This PTAC is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the Defense Logistics Agency. For more information, please visit www.fptac.org.

About the FSBDC at UCF

With its main office in the National Entrepreneur Center located at the Fashion Square Mall in Orlando, the Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) is part of the UCF Office of Research & Commercialization and the Florida SBDC Network. The FSBDC at UCF provides business seminars and no-cost, one-on-one business consultation to emerging and established businesses. The FSBDC at UCF serves an eight-county area that includes Brevard, Flagler, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Sumter, and Volusia counties and maintains 10 service centers across Central Florida.

In 2016, the FSBDC at UCF served over 2,400 entrepreneurs in Central Florida through consulting and training, resulting in nearly 6,700 jobs created, retained or saved; $980 million in sales growth; $92.7 million in capital formation; $154.6 million in government contract awards; and 120 new businesses started.

About the Florida SBDC Network

For over forty years, the Florida SBDC Network, the state’s principal provider of business assistance [Fl. Stat. 288.001], has nourished a statewide partnership between higher education and economic development to provide existing and emerging small and medium-sized business owners with management and knowledge resources that enable overall growth, increased profitability, and economic prosperity for Florida’s economy.

Since 2011, Florida SBDCs have provided 513,107 hours of professional business consulting to 74,669 client businesses, resulting in 252,955 jobs created, retained, or saved; $33.3 billion in sales growth; $2.6 billion in government contract awarded; $1.4 billion in capital investments acquired; and 4,159 new businesses started.

A statewide network of over 40 offices, the Florida SBDC is funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration, Defense Logistics Agency, State of Florida and other private and public partners. The Florida SBDC Network, headquartered at the University of West Florida, is nationally accredited by the Association of SBDCs and is a 2016 recipient of the President’s E Award for Export Service. Florida SBDC services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Language assistance services are available for individuals with limited English proficiency. For more information, please visit www.FloridaSBDC.org.

FSBDC at UCF | 3201 E. Colonial Drive | Orlando, FL 32801 | p 407.420.4850 | f 407.420.4862
sbdc@ucf.edu | www.sbdcorlando.com

 

Florida SBDC at UCF

National Small Business Week Celebrated by FSBDC at UCF

FSBDC at UCF to Honor Client SeaDek
National SBA 2018 Small Business Exporter of the Year

May 2, 2018
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Hal Thayer, Communications Director, FSBDC at UCF, 407.420.4850 or hthayer@ucf.edu

Orlando, FL – In recognition of the significant contribution to a healthy economy made by the entrepreneurs and small business owners of Central Florida and the nation, the Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) is celebrating the US Small Business Administration’s (SBA) National Small Business Week with a luncheon and awards ceremony recognizing local SBA award winners.

The FSBDC at UCF’s National Small Business Week celebration will occur on Tuesday, May 15th at the 2018 Small Business Awards Luncheon, an invitation-only event being held at the Citrus Club in downtown Orlando. The luncheon will feature remarks by representatives from the Florida SBDC Network, the Small Business Resource Network (SBRN) and the Small Business Administration who will present the following awards to the local, state, district and national SBA awards recipients in attendance:

  • Small Business Exporter of the Year

National, Regional, State and South Florida District Winner
Serenity Gardner, Chief Operating Officer
Jason Gardner, Vice President
SeaDek Marine Products — Rockledge

 

  • Florida SBDC at UCF Regional Volunteer of the Year

Rich Becerra, Senior Business Consultant
TriNet – Lake Mary
 

“We at the FSBDC at UCF are so proud that our valued client SeaDek Marine Products has been honored as the National Small Business Exporter of the Year by the Small Business Administration as part of its Small Business Week,” remarked Eunice Choi, Regional Director of the Florida SBDC at UCF. “And we are indeed pleased to recognize Rich Becerra for his outstanding volunteer work supporting the FSBDC at UCF’s clients in our Advisory Board Council program.”

“These individuals and their companies are premier examples of small business success stories, “continued Choi. “SeaDek has built itself from a start-up into an impressive business in the US, and now taken the next step by entering and succeeding in multiple foreign markets. They are meeting the needs of their customers, employing our neighbors and serving our community, thereby contributing materially to our local economy and the wellbeing of central Florida.  We at the FSBDC at UCF are gratified to have assisted them in their achievement in some small way. “

“We couldn’t be more proud to recognize the accomplishments of our extraordinary clients and advocates,” said Michael W. Myhre, CEO of the Florida SBDC Network. “The National Small Business Week Awards are one of the most prestigious in the country. We are honored to have our clients and advocates recognized for their contributions to their local and state economy.”

National Small Business Week is proclaimed by the President of the United States to recognize the critical contributions made by America’s small businesses and entrepreneurs to our economy. This year’s week-long celebration is scheduled to run April 29 – May 5 with events being held in multiple cities from coast-to-coast that are designed to help small businesses start, grow and succeed. The week’s events commence at the U.S. Institute for Peace in Washington, DC, where SBA Administrator Linda McMahon will announce the National Small Business Person of the Year, SBA’s highest honor.

— FSBDC —

About the FSBDC at UCF

With its main office in the National Entrepreneur Center located at the Fashion Square Mall in Orlando, the Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) is part of the UCF Office of Research & Commercialization and the Florida SBDC Network (FSBDC Network). The FSBDC at UCF provides business seminars and no-cost, one-on-one business consultation to emerging and established businesses. The FSBDC at UCF serves an eight-county area that includes Brevard, Flagler, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Sumter, and Volusia counties and maintains 10 service centers across Central Florida.

In 2016, the FSBDC at UCF served over 2,400 entrepreneurs in Central Florida through consulting and training, resulting in nearly 6,700 jobs created, retained or saved; $980 million in sales growth; $92.7 million in capital formation; $154.6 million in government contract awards; and 120 new businesses started.

About the FSBDC Network

The FSBDC at UCF is a member of the Florida SBDC Network, a statewide partnership program nationally accredited by the Association of America’s SBDCs and funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration, Defense Logistics Agency, State of Florida and other private and public partners, with the University of West Florida serving as the network’s lead host institution. Florida SBDC services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Language assistance services are available for limited English proficient individuals. All opinions, conclusions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA or other funding partners.

For over 35 years, the FSBDC Network has nourished a statewide partnership between higher education and economic development organizations, dedicated to providing emerging and established business owners with management and technical assistance, enabling overall growth and increased profitability for the businesses and economic prosperity for the state. The FSBDC Network is a statewide service system of 41 centers with 60 outreach locations, including the FSBDC at UCF.

Since 2011, Florida SBDCs served almost 75,000 entrepreneurs and small business owners through consulting and training, resulting in 252,955 jobs created, retained or saved; $33.3 billion in sales growth; $1.4 billion in capital accessed; $2.6 billion in government contract awards; and 4,159 new businesses started.

FSBDC at UCF | 3201 E. Colonial Drive | Orlando, FL 32801 | p 407.420.4850 | f 407.420.4862
sbdc@ucf.edu | www.sbdcorlando.com

Crossfit, FSBDC, Palm Coast

CrossFit BearCat Unleashes Its Potential: Opens New Fitness Facility in Bunnell

FSBDC at UCF – Palm Coast Assists Local Business Win Funding

Contact: Hal Thayer, Communications Director, FSBDC at UCF, 407.420.4850 or hthayer@ucf.edu /

Michael Oppenheim, Consultant, FSBDC at UCF – Palm Coast, 386.986.4763 or Michael.Oppenheim@ucf.edu

CrossFit BearCat Unleashes Its Potential: Opens New Fitness Facility in Bunnell

Jody Prince, Michael Oppenheim, Cathy Mittelstadt

Orlando, FL – Jody Prince and Cathy Mittelstadt have a mission: to “Unleash Your Potential”. It comes from a passion for physical fitness, skills and abilities that they strive to share with their Flagler County, FL community. And this isn’t even their day job; Prince works in disaster recovery for a large insurance company and Mittelstadt manages operations for a county school district.

But it’s their passion for fitness – theirs and yours — that prompted them to become co-owners and founders of CrossFit BearCat five years ago, featuring the CrossFit fitness regimen. Built upon constantly varied functional movements performed at high intensity designed to improve fitness and health, it’s not just for the top athletes who have embraced it worldwide; CrossFit works for the average individual looking to become healthier in a short time.

CrossFit BearCat built a loyal following early on. But Prince and Mittelstadt wanted more for their members and coaches. It drove them to look for ways to improve the CrossFit workout experience they offered. “We were looking to expand, to put us in the right space,” says Prince. “We called a local community bank for help with financing. While welcoming, their first question was: ‘Do you have a business plan? And three year financial projections?’ I didn’t have either and I was stumped.”

“Fortunately, that very same banker referred us to the Florida SBDC at UCF (FSBDC at UCF) in Palm Coast,” added Cathy Mittelstadt. “And that’s where we met with Michael Oppenheim, one of the FSBDC at UCF’s consultants,” continued Prince. “I was so energized by our first meeting. He showed me so much. How to start my business plan…how to approach my 3 year projections. He gave me templates and ideas and guidance. From then on, the FSBDC was there for us and making sure we got it right every step of the way.”

“Going into this venture, it all seemed so daunting,” remarked Mittelstadt. “We wondered if we would ever get to the finish line. Having the FSBDC there to help was incredibly powerful and made so much possible.”

With assistance and coaching from their FSBDC consultant, the CrossFit BearCat co-owners prepared their business plan and developed their financial projections. “Working with the FSBDC has been phenomenal,” Prince says. “Now we better understand our forecasts and our business model, and what we need to do to sustain and grow our business so we are here for our members and coaches for a long time.”

Not surprisingly, given their determination and hard work, and some help from the FSBDC at UCF – Palm Coast, Prince and Mittelstadt and CrossFit Bearcat applied for and got their loan. They have built an exciting new facility on East Moody Boulevard in Bunnell that will enable them to better serve their current members, as well as new ones. “We did it,” concluded Mittelstadt. “The FSBDC gave us a path and the confidence to proceed. Now we have what we need to help realize our dream for CrossFit Bearcat: to “Unleash Your Potential.”

For information about CrossFit BearCat, please see www.crossfitbearcat.com.

— FSBDC —

About the FSBDC at UCF

With its main office in the National Entrepreneur Center located at the Fashion Square Mall in Orlando, the Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) is part of the UCF Office of Research & Commercialization and the Florida SBDC Network (FSBDC Network). The FSBDC at UCF provides business seminars and no-cost, one-on-one business consultation to emerging and established businesses. The FSBDC at UCF serves an eight-county area that includes Brevard, Flagler, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Sumter, and Volusia counties and maintains 10 service centers across Central Florida.

In 2016, the FSBDC at UCF served over 2,400 entrepreneurs in Central Florida through consulting and training, resulting in nearly 6,700 jobs created, retained or saved; $980 million in sales growth; $92.7 million in capital formation; $154.6 million in government contract awards; and 120 new businesses started.

About the FSBDC Network

The FSBDC at UCF is a member of the Florida SBDC Network, a statewide partnership program nationally accredited by the Association of America’s SBDCs and funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration, Defense Logistics Agency, State of Florida and other private and public partners, with the University of West Florida serving as the network’s lead host institution. Florida SBDC services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Language assistance services are available for limited English proficient individuals. All opinions, conclusions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA or other funding partners.

For over 35 years, the FSBDC Network has nourished a statewide partnership between higher education and economic development organizations, dedicated to providing emerging and established business owners with management and technical assistance, enabling overall growth and increased profitability for the businesses and economic prosperity for the state. The FSBDC Network is a statewide service system of 41 centers with 60 outreach locations, including the FSBDC at UCF.

Since 2011, Florida SBDCs served almost 75,000 entrepreneurs and small business owners through consulting and training, resulting in 252,955 jobs created, retained or saved; $33.3 billion in sales growth; $1.4 billion in capital accessed; $2.6 billion in government contract awards; and 4,159 new businesses started.

FSBDC at UCF | 3201 E. Colonial Drive | Orlando, FL 32801 | p 407.420.4850 | f 407.420.4862
sbdc@ucf.edu | www.sbdcorlando.com

SeaDek, Hyperform, Jill McLaughlin, Jason Gardner, Serenity Gardner

FSBDC at UCF Client SeaDek Named SBA 2018 Small Business Exporter of the Year

Rockledge, FL-based Marine Products Manufacturer Recognized Nationally

April 11, 2018
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Hal Thayer, Communications Director, FSBDC at UCF, 407.420.4850 or hthayer@ucf.edu

Orlando, FL – The Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) is pleased to announce that its Brevard County client SeaDek has been named the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 2018 National Small Business Exporter of the Year, in addition to winning SBA Region IV, State of Florida and South Florida District Exporter of the Year honors.

The company, represented by Serenity Gardner, chief operating officer, and Jason Gardner, vice president of marketing, has been invited to travel to Washington, D.C. to receive their award during the 2018 National Small Business Awards events and ceremonies on April 29-30, the kickoff to the SBA’s National Small Business Week.

Each year since 1963, the president has issued a proclamation calling for the celebration of National Small Business Week. This year it is being held from April 29-May 5. It is an annual event hosted by the U.S. Small Business Administration to recognize the nation’s top small businesses, entrepreneurs, small business advocates and champions. Every day they’re working to grow small businesses, create 21st century jobs, drive innovation, and increase America’s global competitiveness.

“We are so proud that our client SeaDek has been recognized as the SBA’s 2018 National Small Business Exporter of the Year,” said Eunice Choi, Regional Director of the FSBDC at UCF. “Building a successful small business is not easy, and to then undertake expansion into international markets is a tall order. We at the FSBDC are glad we could help, but the real credit goes to the company, its leadership and its team. They did the hard work and are tremendously deriving of this prestigious national recognition by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

As part of the National Small Business Week celebrations, the FSBDC at UCF will host its 2018 Small Business Awards Luncheon and awards ceremony on May 15th at the Citrus Club in downtown Orlando to recognize

SeaDek as 2018 National Small Business Exporter of the Year as well as its regional Florida SBDC Volunteer of the Year.

For information about SeaDek, please see http://www.seadek.com/.

— FSBDC —

About the FSBDC at UCF

With its main office in the National Entrepreneur Center located at the Fashion Square Mall in Orlando, the Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) is part of the UCF Office of Research & Commercialization and the Florida SBDC Network (FSBDC Network). The FSBDC at UCF provides business seminars and no-cost, one-on-one business consultation to emerging and established businesses. The FSBDC at UCF serves an eight-county area that includes Brevard, Flagler, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Sumter, and Volusia counties and maintains 10 service centers across Central Florida.

In 2016, the FSBDC at UCF served over 2,400 entrepreneurs in Central Florida through consulting and training, resulting in nearly 6,700 jobs created, retained or saved; $980 million in sales growth; $92.7 million in capital formation; $154.6 million in government contract awards; and 120 new businesses started.

About the FSBDC Network

The FSBDC at UCF is a member of the Florida SBDC Network, a statewide partnership program nationally accredited by the Association of America’s SBDCs and funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration, Defense Logistics Agency, State of Florida and other private and public partners, with the University of West Florida serving as the network’s lead host institution. Florida SBDC services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Language assistance services are available for limited English proficient individuals. All opinions, conclusions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA or other funding partners.

For over 35 years, the FSBDC Network has nourished a statewide partnership between higher education and economic development organizations, dedicated to providing emerging and established business owners with management and technical assistance, enabling overall growth and increased profitability for the businesses and economic prosperity for the state. The FSBDC Network is a statewide service system of 41 centers with 60 outreach locations, including the FSBDC at UCF.

Since 2011, Florida SBDCs served almost 75,000 entrepreneurs and small business owners through consulting and training, resulting in 252,955 jobs created, retained or saved; $33.3 billion in sales growth; $1.4 billion in capital accessed; $2.6 billion in government contract awards; and 4,159 new businesses started.

FSBDC at UCF | 3201 E. Colonial Drive | Orlando, FL 32801 | p 407.420.4850 | f 407.420.4862
sbdc@ucf.edu | www.sbdcorlando.com

Owner of Common Sense Office Furniture Craig Caswell

Common Sense Office Furniture: FSBDC at UCF’s SBDC Day “Company of the Year”

March 21, 2018
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Hal Thayer, Communications Director, FSBDC at UCF, 407.420.4850 or hthayer@ucf.edu

Orlando, FL – Craig Caswell and the company he founded and has built into a Central Florida success story – Common Sense Office Furniture — exemplify the best of what it means to be an entrepreneur and small business owner. And this is a special time for Caswell as he celebrates Common Sense’s 20th Anniversary in business.

Common Sense Office Furniture: FSBDC at UCF’s SBDC Day “Company of the Year”

Owner of Common Sense Office Furniture Craig Caswell with FSBDC Consultant Hal Thayer (L-R)

Success as a small business like that deserves special recognition. And so it is that the Florida SBDC at UCF (FSBDC at UCF) has chosen Caswell and Common Sense Office Furniture as its SBDC Day Company of the Year.  Wednesday March 21, 2018 is the second annual SBDC Day, a national movement to help raise awareness about the service offerings and impact of America’s SBDCs –- the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) largest business assistance program.

“For entrepreneurs considering working with the Florida SBDC, I’d say ‘do it faster than I did,” Caswell remarked. “The sooner you can get in and learn the lessons that the FSBDC can teach you, from their services and programs, their consulting and in their classrooms, the sooner you’ll be on firm footing. Their assistance can make a huge difference.”

Like many small business founders, Caswell started his business on his own and grew it on the strength of his determination and skills. But as the business became larger, new, unfamiliar challenges arose. “Fifteen years ago, the business was growing but I was faced with a whole new set of business requirements and needs that I was unfamiliar with, issues like worker’s compensation, warehousing, delivery vehicle investments,” Caswell says. “Help from the FSBDC was the logical solution. They gave me the answers I needed.”

“Once I started working with the FSBDC, my eyes were opened and I understood that for me to continue to grow this business, I couldn’t do it alone, that there were lots of things to consider, to plan for, to prepare for. The Florida SBDC helped me with that, and with recognizing how important it is to share the glory with the people who helped you make it happen because you certainly didn’t do it alone” Caswell went on. “It’s why we have profit sharing and a 401(k) matching program for our employees, because they are the ones who make it happen every day.”

Caswell will tell you that he “took advantage of virtually every service at the FSBDC I could,” starting with its Advisory Board Council program. The Advisory Board Council is a next-level, business support service, assisting established Central Florida businesses by matching them with experienced professionals with a diverse range of skills who work together on a “custom-fit” advisory board.

“My Advisory Board was invaluable,” Caswell states. “The volunteers on my Board were amazing. The FSBDC did a great job matching their background and skills with my company’s needs. Their assistance and insights changed my business.”

A second Florida SBDC service Caswell says has been beneficial is the FSBDC’s CEO XChange, an executive roundtable program that offers a confidential setting for top executives to discuss vital business issues, opportunities and trends with a group of peers. “The CEO XChange has been great,” Caswell claims. “You think you are out there alone, that your problems are uniquely yours. Then you sit down with other business owners at the CEO XChange who have had the same issues and you get ideas, solutions and support. It’s a confidence builder.”

When callers reach out to the company, the response is apt: “Thank you for using Common Sense. How can we help you?” And using common sense is what their clients have been doing. From being located in a modest warehouse, Common Sense Office Furniture has grown into a fabulous showroom downtown. From a handful of employees 20 years ago, the company has grown to more than 20. And from revenues in the thousands, Common Sense has become a multi-million dollar enterprise.

“It’s great knowing that the Florida SBDC at UCF is there to help. I’m pleased to be part of SBDC Day and to be the FSBDC at UCF’s SBDC Day Company of the Year. It’s too bad that the services of the FSBDC aren’t better known. Like me and my company, a lot of businesses could benefit from working with them” Caswell concluded.

— FSBDC —

About the FSBDC at UCF

With its main office in the National Entrepreneur Center located at the Fashion Square Mall in Orlando, the Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) is part of the UCF Office of Research & Commercialization and the Florida SBDC Network (FSBDC Network). The FSBDC at UCF provides business seminars and no-cost, one-on-one business consultation to emerging and established businesses. The FSBDC at UCF serves an eight-county area that includes Brevard, Flagler, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Sumter, and Volusia counties and maintains 10 service centers across Central Florida.

In 2016, the FSBDC at UCF served over 2,400 entrepreneurs in Central Florida through consulting and training, resulting in nearly 6,700 jobs created, retained or saved; $980 million in sales growth; $92.7 million in capital formation; $154.6 million in government contract awards; and 120 new businesses started.

About the FSBDC Network

The FSBDC at UCF is a member of the Florida SBDC Network, a statewide partnership program nationally accredited by the Association of America’s SBDCs and funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration, Defense Logistics Agency, State of Florida and other private and public partners, with the University of West Florida serving as the network’s lead host institution. Florida SBDC services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Language assistance services are available for limited English proficient individuals. All opinions, conclusions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the she SBA or other funding partners.

For over 35 years, the FSBDC Network has nourished a statewide partnership between higher education and economic development organizations, dedicated to providing emerging and established business owners with management and technical assistance, enabling overall growth and increased profitability for the businesses and economic prosperity for the state. The FSBDC Network is a statewide service system of 41 centers with 60 outreach locations, including the FSBDC at UCF.

Since 2011, Florida SBDCs served almost 75,000 entrepreneurs and small business owners through consulting and training, resulting in 252,955 jobs created, retained or saved; $33.3 billion in sales growth; $1.4 billion in capital accessed; $2.6 billion in government contract awards; and 4,159 new businesses started.

FSBDC at UCF | 3201 E. Colonial Drive | Orlando, FL 32801 | p 407.420.4850 | f 407.420.4862
sbdc@ucf.edu | www.sbdcorlando.com

FSBDC at UCF, University of Central Florida, Small Business Assistance

Florida SBDC at UCF to Celebrate National SBDC Day March 21

Focuses Attention on SBDC’s Small Business Services and Economic Impact

March 20, 2018
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Hal Thayer, Communications Director, FSBDC at UCF, 407.420.4850 or hthayer@ucf.edu

Orlando, FL – The Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) will celebrate the second annual SBDC Day Wednesday, March 21, 2018. SBDC Day is a national movement to help raise awareness about the service offering and impact of America’s SBDCs – the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) largest business assistance program.

With more than 1,000 centers across the country, SBDCs provide assistance to small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs throughout the United States and its territories. SBDCs help entrepreneurs realize the dream of business ownership and help existing businesses remain competitive in a complex, ever-changing global marketplace.

In 2016, America’s SBDCs provided 1.24 million hours of consulting to 188,602 client businesses, resulting in 96,095 jobs created; $6.4 billion in sales growth; $5.16 billion in capital investments; and 17,174 new businesses started.

“It’s great to see SBDCs, their clients and supporters come together to celebrate SBDCs and their amazing clients. With SBDC support small businesses around the country raised over $5 billion in capital and created nearly 100,000 jobs,” said Charles “Tee” Rowe, President & CEO of America’s SBDC.

The Florida SBDC at UCF is a member of the Florida SBDC Network, a statewide service network of more than 40 centers hosted by the state’s leading universities, colleges, and economic development organizations.

Hosted by the University of Central Florida, the Florida SBDC at UCF provides aspiring and existing small businesses in Brevard, Flagler, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Sumter, and Volusia counties with no-cost consulting, low-cost training, and access to business data and research resources. In addition to its core service offering, the Florida SBDC at UCF also offers specialized services to qualifying companies, including capital access, market growth, government contracting, international trade, business continuation, cybersecurity, disaster planning and recovery, and more.

For 2016, the most recent year for which data is available, the FSBDC at UCF contributed materially to the economic health of Central Florida, including assisting in the creation, retention and saving of almost 6,700 jobs; generating sales of more than $980 million; acquiring government contracts worth more than $154 million; accessing investment capital of almost $93 million; and starting 120 new businesses.

“SBDC Day is a great opportunity to demonstrate the contribution that the FSBDC at UCF and all SBDC’s make to the economic health and wellbeing of our communities,” remarked Eunice Choi, Regional Director at the FSBDC at UCF. “We are proud to serve the entrepreneurs and business owners of Central Florida, and to help our region prosper.”

“Too often SBDCs are referred to as the ‘best kept secret’,” said Michael W. Myhre, CEO of the Florida SBDC Network. “SBDC Day represents a prime opportunity to celebrate our clients and raise awareness about the impact of the Florida SBDC Network and SBDCs nationally.”

— FSBDC —

About the FSBDC at UCF

With its main office in the National Entrepreneur Center located at the Fashion Square Mall in Orlando, the Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) is part of the UCF Office of Research & Commercialization and the Florida SBDC Network (FSBDC Network). The FSBDC at UCF provides business seminars and no-cost, one-on-one business consultation to emerging and established businesses. The FSBDC at UCF serves an eight-county area that includes Brevard, Flagler, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Sumter, and Volusia counties and maintains 10 service centers across Central Florida.

In 2016, the FSBDC at UCF served over 2,400 entrepreneurs in Central Florida through consulting and training, resulting in nearly 6,700 jobs created, retained or saved; $980 million in sales growth; $92.7 million in capital formation; $154.6 million in government contract awards; and 120 new businesses started.

About the FSBDC Network

The FSBDC at UCF is a member of the Florida SBDC Network, a statewide partnership program nationally accredited by the Association of America’s SBDCs and funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration, Defense Logistics Agency, State of Florida and other private and public partners, with the University of West Florida serving as the network’s lead host institution. Florida SBDC services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Language assistance services are available for limited English proficient individuals. All opinions, conclusions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the she SBA or other funding partners.

For over 35 years, the FSBDC Network has nourished a statewide partnership between higher education and economic development organizations, dedicated to providing emerging and established business owners with management and technical assistance, enabling overall growth and increased profitability for the businesses and economic prosperity for the state. The FSBDC Network is a statewide service system of 41 centers with 60 outreach locations, including the FSBDC at UCF.

Since 2011, Florida SBDCs served almost 75,000 entrepreneurs and small business owners through consulting and training, resulting in 252,955 jobs created, retained or saved; $33.3 billion in sales growth; $1.4 billion in capital accessed; $2.6 billion in government contract awards; and 4,159 new businesses started.

FSBDC at UCF | 3201 E. Colonial Drive | Orlando, FL 32801 | p 407.420.4850 | f 407.420.4862
sbdc@ucf.edu | www.sbdcorlando.com

FSBDC at UCF, University of Central Florida, Small Business Assistance

Florida SBDC Network Client Honored on Capitol Hill

Orlando-based Dignitas Technologies Recognized Among Select Clients Nationwide at National Showcase Reception

Florida SBDC Network Headquarters (Pensacola, Fla.) – The Florida Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network, the state’s principal provider of business assistance, is pleased to announce that Dignitas Technologies, an Orlando-based modeling and simulation company led by President and CEO Elizabeth Burch and client of the Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida (UCF), was recently recognized among select SBDC clients from across the country at a special reception on Capitol Hill. America’s SBDC, the association representing SBDCs nationally, SBDC leaders, consultants, clients, partners and stakeholders gathered for the fourth annual 2018 Client Showcase and Reception on Tuesday, February 13th. Representative Steve Chabot of Ohio, Chairman of the Committee on Small Business, and Representative Nydia Velazquez of New York and Ranking Member of the Committee on Small Business addressed the reception guests. Dignitas Technologies was one of 11 clients from across the country recognized at the event.

Florida SBDC Network Client Honored on Capitol Hill

L-R: Michael Myhre, CEO of the Florida SBDC Network; U.S. Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy; and Elizabeth and Bob Burch at the 2018 Client Showcase and Reception

Founded in 2004, Dignitas Technologies is a certified woman-owned small business that provides support to the Modeling, Simulation, and Training industry across a diverse customer set. The company conducts cutting-edge research and develops innovative technology to build systems to train soldiers before they are deployed. These risk-free simulations save government resources and better prepare soldiers to face combat situations through synthetic training environments.

After purchasing the majority ownership of the company in 2010, Burch took steps to accelerate the company’s growth. She sought help from the Florida SBDC and its Advisory Board Council, a special program of the Florida SBDC at UCF, which pairs clients with an advisory board to address the company’s needs.

“The Advisory Board Council represents knowledgeable business resources that provided us with invaluableexperience and guidance for our company,” said Burch. “This has greatly aided our business because the Advisory Board enabled us to formalize our goals and then assisted us in developing plans to achieve those goals. Their support and guidance has helped mature our business and make it more resilient in our tough budget environment.”

 When Dignitas Technologies became a client of the Florida SBDC at UCF in 2011, the firm had a staff of 30 employees and annual revenue of $4.5 million. Under Burch’s leadership and with assistance from the Florida SBDC at UCF, Dignitas Technologies has grown to 135 employees and $16 million in revenue in 2017.

In honor of her accomplishments, Burch was named the State of Florida Woman-Owned Small Business Person of the Year in 2013 by the U.S. Small Business Administration. In 2016, the Orlando Business Journal (OBJ)featured the company as a Fast 50 honoree and named them one of Central Florida’s Largest Minority-Owned Businesses. Dignitas won the Association for Corporate Growth’s SMART Award for Technology & Simulation in 2017 and was selected by the OBJ as an Innovations in Technology Award honoree and Best Places to Work finalist.  Dignitas was honored by Military Training Technology for six years in a row as one of their Top Simulation and Training Companies.

With nearly 1,000 centers across the country, SBDCs provide assistance to small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs throughout the United States and its territories. Job growth for SBDC clients nationally is nearly 10 times greater than job growth for average businesses, and SBDC clients’ sales growth is nearly four times greater than sales growth for businesses in general.

Unlimited Employee Benefit Center (UEBSC); FSBDC; Seminole State College; Cedric Lancaster, Moses Ayiku

New-to-Area Company Benefits from Aid by Florida SBDC at Seminole State College

Unlimited Employee Benefit Service Center (UEBSC) Growing After Relocation to Central Florida

January 30, 2018
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: 

Hal Thayer, Communications Director, FSBDC at UCF, 407.420.4850 or hthayer@ucf.edu

Moses Ayiku, Sub-Center Manager, FSBDC at SSC, 407.321.3495 or ayikum@seminolestate.edu

Orlando, FL – In addition to assisting existing local small-to-medium sized businesses, the Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) works with new-to-the-area companies seeking to establish themselves in our region. Unlimited Employee Benefit Services Center (UEBSC) is one of those companies. After relocating from Mississippi in 2016 and incorporating in Florida in early 2017, it has taken advantage of the support and resources offered by the FSBDC at Seminole State College (FSBDC at SSC), an FSBDC at UCF sub-center.

UEBSC specializes in providing retirement and health & wellness guidance to federal and state employees. Their motto: We Inform, Help and Direct. It is a premier national marketing organization representing a large group of top-rated companies in the financial and insurance industries and features professional, highly qualified Benefits Counselors from all over the country. UEBSC recently extended its services by offering Employer Health & Wellness Benefits programs.

“We were new in town,” recalls Cedric Lancaster, founder and CEO of Unlimited Employee Benefit Service Center. “We connected with the consultant and sub-center manager at the FSBDC at SSC Moses Aikyu. It has been a wonderful relationship.”

“With the FSBDC’s help, we have identified ways to become known in this area and built a game plan to get our business on the right track,” Lancaster continued. “Now we have the right strategies to take our business to the next level.”

In addition to benefiting from the FSBDC’s no-cost, expert business consulting, UEBSC has received significant support in the area of market research. By accessing the broad and deep information databases available from the FSBDC, UEBSC has been able to identify new business prospects and opportunities. And they’ve connected with multiple resource partners, including various Chambers of Commerce and other community groups.

They have also utilized the seminars and training available from the FSBDC, some of which guided UEBSC in becoming verified as a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) by the U.S. Small Business Administration, a designation that can be useful in winning government contracts.

“As a small business, we know that our success is tied directly to the effort we put into the business,” Lancaster remarked. “By combining our work ethic with the resources of the FSBDC, we have been able to grow. It is great to know we have someone there if we need assistance. And the FSBDC has been there for us every step of the way.”

And grow UEBSC has. Since arriving in Central Florida, it has created 19 jobs, invested more than $120,000 in the local economy and generated more than $1.5 million in sales. It is working with multiple federal, state and local governmental agencies, as well as a growing number of local businesses gained from their Health & Wellness services.

“Coming to Central Florida was the right choice for UEBSC. And choosing to work with the FSBDC was the right decision,” concluded Lancaster. “It’s the small things that make the big things happen. From the beginning, the FSBDC was willing to do whatever they could to help us. We’re glad to be working with them. They have been a vital part of our success.”

For more information about Unlimited Employee Benefit Service Center, please visit www.thinkuebsc.org.

— FSBDC —

About the FSBDC at UCF

With its main office in the National Entrepreneur Center located at the Fashion Square Mall in Orlando, the Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) is part of the UCF Office of Research & Commercialization and the Florida SBDC Network (FSBDC Network). The FSBDC at UCF provides business seminars and no-cost, one-on-one business consultation to emerging and established businesses. The FSBDC at UCF serves an eight-county area that includes Brevard, Flagler, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Sumter, and Volusia counties and maintains 10 service centers across Central Florida.

In 2016, the FSBDC at UCF served over 2,400 entrepreneurs in Central Florida through consulting and training, resulting in nearly 6,700 jobs created, retained or saved; $980 million in sales growth; $92.7 million in capital formation; $154.6 million in government contract awards; and 120 new businesses started.

About the FSBDC Network

The FSBDC at UCF is a member of the Florida SBDC Network, a statewide partnership program nationally accredited by the Association of America’s SBDCs and funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration, Defense Logistics Agency, State of Florida and other private and public partners, with the University of West Florida serving as the network’s lead host institution. Florida SBDC services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Language assistance services are available for limited English proficient individuals. All opinions, conclusions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the she SBA or other funding partners.

For over 35 years, the FSBDC Network has nourished a statewide partnership between higher education and economic development organizations, dedicated to providing emerging and established business owners with management and technical assistance, enabling overall growth and increased profitability for the businesses and economic prosperity for the state. The FSBDC Network is a statewide service system of 41 centers with 60 outreach locations, including the FSBDC at UCF.

Since 2011, Florida SBDCs served almost 75,000 entrepreneurs and small business owners through consulting and training, resulting in 252,955 jobs created, retained or saved; $33.3 billion in sales growth; $1.4 billion in capital accessed; $2.6 billion in government contract awards; and 4,159 new businesses started.

FSBDC at UCF | 3201 E. Colonial Drive | Orlando, FL 32801 | p 407.420.4850 | f 407.420.4862
sbdc@ucf.edu | www.sbdcorlando.com

SeaDek, Hyperform, Jill McLaughlin, Jason Gardner, Serenity Gardner

Hyperform Inc. Growing Internationally With Assistance from FSBDC at UCF

Rockledge, FL Manufacturer of SeaDek Marine Products Implementing Export Marketing Plan for Strong Results 

January 23, 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Hal Thayer, Communications Director, FSBDC at UCF, 407.420.4850 or HThayer@ucf.edu

              Jill McLaughlin, International Trade Specialist, FSBDC at UCF, 407.480-4850 or Jill.McLaughlin@ucf.edu

Orlando, FL – Hyperform Inc. is an All-American success story. What started out as a maker of products for the surfing industry like surfboard fins and traction pads has transformed itself into a hugely successful manufacturer supplying, as its primary business, the marine industry with innovative, functional, and aesthetically pleasing PE/EVA non-skid decking products.

PE/EVA (Polyethylene/Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate) is a closed-cell blended foam material that is soft yet durable, and SeaDek has developed a unique formula that is resistant to UV rays and the harsh conditions of the marine environment. Hyperform utilizes PE/EVA as decking (and a variety of other applications) in its SeaDek Marine Products line, its SwimDek aquatic surfaces line for the pool and spa market, and coming soon, the EndeavourDek line for automotive, off road, and multiple other applications. All are alternatives to fiberglass molded-in non-skid, painted-on textures, and other traction products currently available.

Hyperform benefits from a strong group of seven principal owners and a dedicated workforce. At the helm guiding the company through its dramatic growth and playing key roles among the principals are President Kurt Wilson, Chief Operating Officer Serenity Gardner, Vice President of Marketing Jason Gardner, and Vice President of Sales Chuck Yates. In 2015, the principals of SeaDek extended ownership to over eighty full-time employees through the implementation of an Employee Stock Ownership Program (ESOP). It’s that team that’s making success happen at the company, say the Gardners.

As unprecedented consumer acceptance throughout the United States placed the company on the forefront of the marine decking industry, word spread overseas. “There was definite demand in the international marketplace,” Serenity Gardner recalls. “We decided we wanted assistance from an outside organization rather than taking a reactionary approach and working with whichever customer came to us.”

Hyperform turned to the Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) and its International Trade Services consultant Jill McLaughlin for assistance. The company applied for and was accepted into the FSBDC’s Export Marketing Plan service. Provided in partnership with Enterprise Florida and the U.S. Commercial Service, the program is focused on assisting qualified new-to-export manufacturers and service providers with overseas growth strategies through the development of customized Export Marketing Plans. These customized Export Marketing Plans provide comprehensive industry and market analyses, with target market recommendations and country specific market entry strategies.

“Thanks to the Export Marketing Plan,” Serenity Gardner remarked, “we didn’t take a shotgun approach. We looked at markets one-by-one and decided which areas we wanted to target and which ones we didn’t. It allowed us to go into new markets with a good plan and a strong understanding of what we would be dealing with.”

“Working with the FSBDC couldn’t have been easier,” continued Jason Gardner. “Communication was great. It was a positive experience across the board.”

“It’s interesting to look back now at the decisions we made with the help of the report and see that we were really pretty successful,” Serenity Gardner concluded. “Even with taking a measured approach, in just the past year and a half our export revenues have climbed from 1 – 2 % to over 10% now. We’ve gone from being in one country to more than 15 today. If you’re contemplating selling internationally, you absolutely want to use the FSBDC and get an Export Marketing Plan. It’s a really valuable resource.”

For more information about Hyperform Inc., please visit its website at http://www.hyperforminc.com.

— FSBDC —

About the FSBDC at UCF

With its main office in the National Entrepreneur Center located at the Fashion Square Mall in Orlando, the Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) is part of the UCF Office of Research & Commercialization and the Florida SBDC Network (FSBDC Network). The FSBDC at UCF provides business seminars and no-cost, one-on-one business consultation to emerging and established businesses. The FSBDC at UCF serves an eight-county area that includes Brevard, Flagler, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Sumter, and Volusia counties and maintains 10 service centers across Central Florida.

In 2016, the FSBDC at UCF served over 2,400 entrepreneurs in Central Florida through consulting and training, resulting in nearly 6,700 jobs created, retained or saved; $980 million in sales growth; $92.7 million in capital formation; $154.6 million in government contract awards; and 120 new businesses started.

About the FSBDC Network

The FSBDC at UCF is a member of the Florida SBDC Network, a statewide partnership program nationally accredited by the Association of America’s SBDCs and funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration, Defense Logistics Agency, State of Florida and other private and public partners, with the University of West Florida serving as the network’s lead host institution. Florida SBDC services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Language assistance services are available for limited English proficient individuals. All opinions, conclusions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the she SBA or other funding partners.

For over 35 years, the FSBDC Network has nourished a statewide partnership between higher education and economic development organizations, dedicated to providing emerging and established business owners with management and technical assistance, enabling overall growth and increased profitability for the businesses and economic prosperity for the state. The FSBDC Network is a statewide service system of 41 centers with 60 outreach locations, including the FSBDC at UCF.

Since 2011, Florida SBDCs served almost 75,000 entrepreneurs and small business owners through consulting and training, resulting in 252,955 jobs created, retained or saved; $33.3 billion in sales growth; $1.4 billion in capital accessed; $2.6 billion in government contract awards; and 4,159 new businesses started.

FSBDC at UCF | 3201 E. Colonial Drive | Orlando, FL 32801 | p 407.420.4850 | f 407.420.4862
sbdc@ucf.edu | www.sbdcorlando.com

Florida SBDC at UCF

Sumter County Businesses Benefiting from Florida SBDC at UCF Assistance

Local Business Owners and Entrepreneurs Praise Expert Business Consulting and Other Available Resources

Contact:
Hal Thayer, Communications Director, FSBDC at UCF, 407.420.4850 or hthayer@ucf.edu
Neal Kimball, Area Manager, FSBDC at UCF – Sumter County, 352-689-4449 or neal.kimball@ucf.edu

Orlando, FL – Sumter County business owners and entrepreneurs are raving about the assistance and resources they have found at the local office of the Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF). Since opening its doors in October 2016 to help local businesses grow and succeed, the FSBDC – in partnership with the Sumter County Office of Economic Development – has been providing no cost, one-on-one professional business consulting, value-added training and business information resources to its clients. And they are appreciating it!

Led by Neal Kimball, the FSBDC’s Sumter County Area Manager and an expert business consultant, local small business development center clients have come forward to recommend the assistance available from the FSBDC:

“Tremendously helpful to us and our business,” says Ellen Bachmeyer, LCSW founder of Aging with Heart, offering programs for people who want to live life whole-heartedly as they age.

“Has made significant impact on my business” says Kathleen Bogolin, President of Financial Legacy Builders LLC, a consulting firm focused on strategic growth and profitability.

“Proven to be a valuable business advisor helping me improve my processes and firm up my foundation for growth” says John McAuley, President of McAuley LLC, a healthcare safety and security firm.

Experiences like these are the rule at the Sumter County FSBDC office.  The new sub-center, the FSBDC at UCF’s eighth, is located on the first floor in Suite 140 of The Villages Sumter County Service Center at 7375 Powell Road, Wildwood, FL 34785. The FSBDC at UCF – Sumter County’s direct line is 352-689-4449.

The FSBDC and its consultants provide confidential and customized consulting services in such areas as business planning, financial analysis, sales/marketing and many others. In addition, it conducts training seminars and workshops covering the basics of starting a business, marketing, financing, legal issues and writing a business plan. Finally, the FSBDC has access to major market research databases that provide information on customers (including prospecting data), competitors, and industries.

Kimball brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to his role in Sumter County. He has extensive sales and marketing and small business experience. After an accomplished career in sales, marketing and business development for major consumer products companies including PepsiCo, McDonald’s Corporation and Miller Brewing, he most recently was founder, president and owner of a highly successful small business holding company with four separate operating units built around student and family educational services. His strong background as an entrepreneur and business strategist has made him ideally suited to consult with and assist clients in Sumter County as they navigate the challenges and opportunities faced by small businesses seeking profitable long-term growth.

++++++++++++++

FSBDC at UCF – Sumter County

Client Testimonials

John McAuley, President of McAuley LLC

As a small businesses owner dealing with daily challenges and long hours, it is difficult to find the time to devote to strategic planning. I am the president of two small businesses focused in healthcare but very different products and business models. When I heard of Neal Kimball and our local SBDC office I reached out to learn how Neal may be able to help me manage and grow my businesses. I made the time to go meet with Neal and tell him about my businesses and my struggles.

Our first session ended with Neal handing me a book and information on another book that he highly recommended. I purchased the book and read it. I was in the middle of designing a new website and new marketing message and after reading this book it changed my direction and I quickly made adjustments to my website and marketing materials to better relay my message. This one gesture of guidance allowed me to see through the fog and create a more clear message to my potential customers.

The next time we met, we tackled topics like hiring/firing, finding strategic partners, product videos and marketing opportunities. Neal continues to bring me ideas and research information that can help me with both businesses. I had an interested buyer who presented a letter of intent to purchase part of my business and I immediately called Neal and asked that he review the structure of the deal. He helped by pulling from some of his own experiences and ran the agreement by some legal and business experts that gave very important input that helped me reshape some language for my protection.

Again, as a small business owner it’s hard to find the necessary time for strategic planning. Neal has proven to be a valuable business advisor helping me improve my processes and firm up my foundation for growth over the next several years. We have created new jobs and new opportunities in the area and our growth will continue. I am very thankful for the SBDC and the service it has provided to me as a small business owner.

Ellen Bachmeyer, founder of Aging With Heart

Neal has been tremendously helpful to us and our business. We sought out help from the SBDC several months ago for 2 reasons:  1) to create a better, stronger, viable, profitable business and 2) to craft a strong marketing message.

In anticipation of changes to our existing business my husband, Tim and I had started another business in order to create other streams of income. Three years ago we founded The Windhorse Center. The WHC offers programs-seminars, courses and retreats for people in their 50’s, 60’s and beyond to discover meaning in a culture that believes you’re “done.” We also help people gain more insight on moving through the many challenges of aging. It has been a slow process because the name of the business and the message were not clear, and the ways I sought to get the message out was cost prohibitive.

This is where Neal came in.

The first task he had us do was to create a business plan using the Business Canvas Model. That experience was life changing. It challenged us to get more specific and clear. It has becoming our foundation for moving forward.

At Neal’s suggestion, we have renamed the business “Aging With Heart.” Now, a new web site is currently being developed. Text for the website has come directly from the Canvas Business Model.  We are also creating a flyer for broader distribution in the community. Social media is not favored by many people of this age, so different avenues for developing a client base must be explored.

Neal’s approach is all about building relationships. He has shared articles to read that were excellent on the “why” of our product and relationship building. He is currently exploring where, how and who we need to build relationships in The Villages and on a larger national scale with online classes and other products. He is a great connector to people and community resources that might be of help.

All in all, we enjoy working with Neal. He works with us. He meets us where we are and gives us a larger context to understand the nature of business itself and how we increase our reach to the community in a profitable way.

Thank you, Neal.

Kathleen Bogolin, Principal at Financial Legacy Builders LLC

I first met with Neal because I was interested in growing my business.

I am grateful for the connection because he has made a significant impact on my business.  He introduced me to the Business Model Canvas system and I am using it on my business as well as working with clients.  One of my clients is using it to develop key partners in building her business.  Another is taking a strategic approach to marketing, reducing expenses, and employee management.

More importantly, referrals from Neal have opened new doors to expand my business.  Two of his referrals have led to additional referrals and the introduction to major opportunities. One of them is especially important because it links my passion for making a difference in the fight against cancer to my expertise in technology and helping clients take a strategic approach to increased profitability. I have come to enjoy the time spent with Neal and truly appreciate his valuable insights and great sense of humor.

Neal has been very helpful to me.

— FSBDC —

About the FSBDC at UCF

With its main office in the National Entrepreneur Center located at the Fashion Square Mall in Orlando, the Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) is part of the UCF Office of Research & Commercialization and the Florida SBDC Network (FSBDC Network). The FSBDC at UCF provides business seminars and no-cost, one-on-one business consultation to emerging and established businesses. The FSBDC at UCF serves an eight-county area that includes Brevard, Flagler, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Sumter, and Volusia counties and maintains 10 service centers across Central Florida.

In 2016, the FSBDC at UCF served over 2,400 entrepreneurs in Central Florida through consulting and training, resulting in nearly 6,700 jobs created, retained or saved; $980 million in sales growth; $92.7 million in capital formation; $154.6 million in government contract awards; and 120 new businesses started.

About the FSBDC Network

The FSBDC at UCF is a member of the Florida SBDC Network, a statewide partnership program nationally accredited by the Association of America’s SBDCs and funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration, Defense Logistics Agency, State of Florida and other private and public partners, with the University of West Florida serving as the network’s lead host institution. Florida SBDC services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Language assistance services are available for limited English proficient individuals. All opinions, conclusions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the she SBA or other funding partners.

For over 35 years, the FSBDC Network has nourished a statewide partnership between higher education and economic development organizations, dedicated to providing emerging and established business owners with management and technical assistance, enabling overall growth and increased profitability for the businesses and economic prosperity for the state. The FSBDC Network is a statewide service system of 41 centers with 60 outreach locations, including the FSBDC at UCF.

Since 2011, Florida SBDCs served almost 75,000 entrepreneurs and small business owners through consulting and training, resulting in 252,955 jobs created, retained or saved; $33.3 billion in sales growth; $1.4 billion in capital accessed; $2.6 billion in government contract awards; and 4,159 new businesses started.

FSBDC at UCF | 3201 E. Colonial Drive | Orlando, FL 32801 | p 407.420.4850 | f 407.420.4862
sbdc@ucf.edu | www.sbdcorlando.com