Starting a business – any business – can easily become a formidable endeavor. Doing it alone only increases the degree of difficulty. Make it a behavioral health clinic and the challenge can seem monumental. Gillie Acosta, founder and owner of Beha.Vio, Inc. – an applied behavior analysis (ABA) treatment facility in Davenport, FL – faced all of this and more when she decided to launch her company, leading her to connect with the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) for guidance.

Beha.Vio is an ABA therapy clinic that applies scientifically-verified, systematic behavior-change interventions that resolve problems to allow for a more fulfilling and meaningful life. Its team of therapists offer intensive ABA services focusing on all areas of development, social interactions, motor skills, and management of problem behaviors, mostly through early intervention with children aged three to five. “What makes us different and special is that we provide individualized behavioral treatment to our clients, the majority of whom have autism spectrum disorders. In both school and clinic settings, we help them find ways to be independently functional in their environments,” explains Acosta.

As she contemplated starting her treatment enterprise, Acosta surveyed the landscape for assistance and decided upon the FSBDC at UCF satellite office in Kissimmee, FL. “I was looking and searching for help, tools, ideas and I found the FSBDC,” Acosta recalls. “I was able to get in contact with FSBDC consultant Elly Membreno and she was so helpful. She supported me, empowered me to continue, not to give up and I will be grateful forever.”

The myriad areas of assistance provided by Membreno and the FSBDC was broad and deep, including its no-cost consulting, business training, and access to market research. From state, county, and local registrations and permits to professional licensing, Membreno and Acosta worked together to put the business on a firm footing from the beginning. Additional support included helping Acosta to prepare her business plan, with drawing up a budget with the necessary financial forecast, and in creating a comprehensive marketing plan. Especially valuable was the time spent on human resource matters like preparation of an employee handbook; job descriptions; salary and benefits planning; hiring, onboarding & orientation for new employees; and performance management processes.

All of their hard work has paid off. “Since I started working with the FSBDC, my revenue has grown 100%. From having no staff when we began, now two years later I have 26 employees and just a month ago we were able to move to a bigger location because we are growing so fast,” Acosta shares proudly.

“If you’re a business owner and you’re thinking of using the resources that the FSBDC provides, I highly recommend it,” concludes Acosta. “They provide consultation, training and webinars, and other resources at no-cost and always available. Working with them, you will feel supported and empowered. I always did.”

For information about Beha.Vio, Inc., please visit