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

2023 Small Business Excellence Awards Nominees Announced by Florida SBDC at UCF

October 10, 2023


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) is pleased to announce the fifteen (15) Nominees for the second annual FSBDC at UCF Small Business Excellence Awards program which celebrates the success, growth, business acumen, and community involvement of FSBDC at UCF’s clients from across its 8-county region.

The fifteen esteemed and remarkable Small Business Excellence Awards Entrepreneur of the Year Nominees are:

Jennifer Herrera & Pablo Prahl

A&G Marketing Group

Danny Sorondo

HRS Construction

Derrious Robinson, W. Tre Idlette & Lavell Monger

RTW Photography, LLC

Gillie Acosta Rivera

Beha.Vio Inc.

Ervin LeMand

Lost Returns

Barb McKeever

SureClean Solutions, LLC

Mara Abraham

Certified Translations dba ClariVita

Chris Wagner

MacroCap Labs, Inc.

Julie Shipley

The Soup Shop

Rich Santo

Culture Studio

Mike & Teresa Crofts

Maple Street, Inc.

Gladys Salicrup

Trapline Pest Solutions

Geoff Hoatson

Family First Firm

Cassandra Daniel


Lizbeth Walker

Qwalifize Staffing & Consulting

The FSBDC at UCF Small Business Excellence Award program recognizes local small business owners for their innovation, determination and resilience as demonstrated in the growth of their business and in their contributions to their communities, culminating in one nominee being named the FSBDC at UCF’s 2023 Entrepreneur of the Year.

Nominations from across Central Florida were made by FSBDC at UCF consultants to acknowledge their clients’ significant growth; their resourcefulness in overcoming the challenges presented by small business ownership; and their involvement in their communities.

Small businesses are the engine that drives the Florida economy. According to the SBA, there are roughly 2.8 million small businesses in Florida. They make up 99.8% of all businesses in the state and employ 3.6 million workers, about 41.1% of the state’s private-sector workforce.

As the list illustrates, the nominees for the FSBDC at UCF Small Business Excellence Awards represent a broad cross section of Central Florida small businesses operating in multiple industries. Fully 60% of the nominees are women- and/or minority-owned businesses. All are valued clients of the FSBDC at UCF who have benefited in some way from its no-cost, expert consulting; business training; and/or market research resources.

The finalists and award winner will be selected by the FSBDC at UCF’s Executive Board which is made up of local small business leaders, educators, and stakeholders committed to supporting the FSBDC’s mission to help small businesses launch, grow, and thrive through expertise, resources and advocacy. The nominees and Entrepreneur of the Year award winner will be honored at an invitation-only Awards Luncheon on November 1, 2023, at the Citrus Club in Orlando, FL. This will be the second time this award will be given as the FSBDC at UCF Small Business Excellence Award program becomes an annual event moving forward. The awards ceremony is made possible through the generous support of sponsors Orange County Government, Florida APEX Accelerator at UCF, and CHASE for Business.

“The FSBDC at UCF is proud to recognize these fifteen deserving nominees for their achievements through our second-annual Small Business Excellence Award program,” said Eunice Choi, FSBDC at UCF Regional Director. “Small businesses are the key drivers of our local economy, creating prosperity, generating jobs, and improving the quality of life in our communities. It is an honor to be able to celebrate these Central Florida standouts.”


About the FSBDC at UCF

Hosted by the University of Central Florida (UCF), and with its main office in the National Entrepreneur Center located at the Fashion Square Mall in Orlando, the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) is part of UCF’s Office of the President and the Florida SBDC Network.

The Florida SBDC at UCF provides aspiring and existing small businesses 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. The FSBDC at UCF serves an eight-county area that includes Brevard, Flagler, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Sumter, and Volusia counties and maintains 9 service centers across Central Florida.

In 2022, the FSBDC at UCF served more than 2,700 entrepreneurs in Central Florida with consulting services, resulting in more than 10,600 jobs created, retained or saved; $793.9 million in sales growth; $66.7 million in capital formation; $103.8 million in government contract awards; and 160 new businesses started. For more information, please visit www.sbdcorlando.com .

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.

In 2022, Florida SBDCs provided 157,841 hours of professional business consulting to more than 18,379 client businesses. Based on the results from the network’s latest economic impact analysis, the FSBDC’s services resulted in almost 29,000 jobs impacted; $4.8 billion in sales generated; $381.6 million in government contracts acquired; and $528.4 million in capital accessed.

A statewide network of over 40 offices, the Florida SBDC is funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration, U.S. Department of Defense, 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