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

2024 National Small Business Week Celebrated by FSBDC at UCF

FSBDC at UCF Clients, Community Partners and Advocates Honored as U.S. Small Business Administration Award Winners


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 celebrating the US Small Business Administration’s (SBA) National Small Business Week with a luncheon and awards ceremony honoring local SBA award winners.

Florida SBDC at UCF clients, partners and advocates are being recognized by the SBA and FSBDC for their significant contributions to the economic health and wellbeing of Central Florida, the State of Florida and the nation as a whole. The 2024 state and district level SBA award winners being celebrated at the luncheon are:


Small Business Person of the Year

State of Florida and North Florida District

Yanet Herrero, Kings Service Solutions (Orlando, FL)

Woman Business Owner of the Year

South Florida District

Lizbeth Walker, CEO, Qwalifize, LLC (Kissimmee, FL)


Minority Business Owner of the Year

North Florida District

Naresh “Nanu” Manek, CEO, Worldwide Sportswear (Port Orange, FL)

Community Partner of the Year

State of Florida and North Florida District

Rafael Caamano, Veterans Entrepreneurship Initiative (Orlando, FL)

In addition, at the luncheon the SBA and Florida SBDC at UCF recognized leading supporters and lenders who contributed to the success and growth of Florida entrepreneurs and small businesses :

FSBDC at UCF Regional Volunteer of the Year

Albert Anderson, CFO, Nperspectives

SBA Fiscal Year 2022 Top Lenders for North Florida

Top Certified Development Company by Dollar Amount & Number of Loans

Florida First Capital Finance Corporation, Inc.

John Hanrahan, Vice President

Top Community Credit Union

Orlando Credit Union

Suzanne Weinstein, CEO

Top Micro-Lender

Black Business Investment Fund

Trey Alston, Director of Lending

The FSBDC at UCF’s National Small Business Week celebration will occur on Tuesday, May 14th at the 2024 Small Business Awards Luncheon, which will be held at the Citrus Club in downtown Orlando. The luncheon will feature remarks by representatives from the Florida SBDC and the U.S. Small Business Administration who will present the awards to the local FSBDC at UCF and state and district SBA awards recipients in attendance. The luncheon is generously sponsored by Orange County (Gold Sponsor), Bank of America and Florida First Capital Finance Corporation (Silver Sponsors).

“It is a privilege to be able to honor these amazing small business owners,” said Eunice Choi, Regional Director of the Florida SBDC at UCF. “Their vision, determination and commitment have made them stand out among our many, many successful clients and we applaud them as 2024 U.S. Small Business Administration Award winners. The FSBDC at UCF provides consulting, business training, and access to market research that enables companies like these to excel. We are gratified to have assisted them in their achievement in some small way.”

“We are also indeed pleased to be able to acknowledge our partners for the important roles they play in our community and in helping the FSBDC support our clients. It is especially gratifying to commemorate the SBA North District’s Fiscal Year 2022  Top Lenders,” Choi continues. “Access to capital is a major challenge for small businesses and critical to their success. These lenders have truly distinguished themselves by their willingness to support small businesses in Florida.”

“In sum, we are proud to be able to celebrate the success of some of our highest achievers – clients, partners and advocates alike – while also acknowledging all that our small businesses do to help make Florida the best state in the nation to work, live and play,” Choi concluded.

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. More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business, and they create about two of every three new jobs in the U.S. each year.

During National Small Business Week, the U.S. Small Business Administration highlights the impact of outstanding entrepreneurs, small business owners, and others from all 50 states and U.S. territories. Every day, they’re working to grow small businesses, create 21st Century jobs, drive innovation, and increase America’s global competitiveness. This year’s week-long celebration ran from April 28 to May 4 with events being held in multiple cities from coast-to-coast throughout the month of May that are designed to help small businesses start, grow, and succeed.



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 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 more than 45 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, the Florida SBDC Network delivered 117,750 hours of consulting to 14,758 small business clients – resulting in business owners securing $446 million in capital, $445 million in government contracting, impacting 23,515 jobs, increasing sales by over $4.5 billion, and creating 825 businesses.

With over 40 offices statewide, the Florida SBDC is funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration, 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 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