Company Leader Leverages FSBDC at UCF’s CEO XChange Executive Roundtable Program to Drive Growth
November 8, 2022
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Hal Thayer, Communications Director, FSBDC at UCF, 407.420.4850 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Orlando, FL – Exhilaration, accomplishment, and financial success are some of the rewards enjoyed by entrepreneurs and small business owners as they chart their course and navigate their companies from pre-venture to start-up and on to becoming an established, growing, and profitable second-stage company. The downside is that this process is often a solitary and lonely quest without the benefit of other perspectives and experiences to call upon. It’s true when they say ‘It’s lonely at the top,’ after all. Dean Caravelis, founder and CEO of Orlando marketing promotions innovator Blezoo, solved this problem when he discovered the community of business leaders and peers found at the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida’s (FSBDC at UCF) CEO XChange executive roundtable program.
Founded in 2008, Blezoo distinguishes itself through imagination, innovation, and the ability to deliver on its promises. The firm proudly states, “We exist to inspire meaningful connections through fun & creativity. We help busy professionals create remarkable promotions so they can save time & look good.” “We’re a marketing company that produces branded products that turn into experiences in the real world,” Caravelis says, ”so brands can connect with people and other brands authentically. Blezoo is really obsessed with process that delivers things as expected; with creativity so that we can create unexpected and delightful experiences; and with progress as we work to be a little bit better every day – all so we can surpass client expectations,” Caravelis explains.
When it comes to starting and running his business, Caravelis is honest. “Being a founder can be a very lonely experience,” he shares. “Sometimes it feels like you’re alone on an island. Working with the Florida SBDC, it takes you off that island and puts you in a community. I originally reached out to the FSBDC and the CEO XChange because I heard it was an opportunity for me to interact with other CEOs, perhaps shine a light on things I don’t know and really have a kinship with peers. The CEO XChange has surpassed all those expectations and that’s why I have been a member for so many years.”
CEO XChange is an executive roundtable program serving progressive chief executives and business owners in Central Florida. Facilitated by FSBDC consultant Hal Thayer, it is designed specifically for second-stage companies and offers a confidential setting for top executives to discuss vital business issues, opportunities, and trends with a group of peers. CEO XChange presents top executives with the opportunity to broaden their business perspectives and gain new knowledge by engaging in collaborative thinking and problem-solving – giving them the ability to lead their companies more effectively.
“In the last six years, we’ve averaged about 20 – 30% growth every year at Blezoo which has been great. The CEO XChange has really helped me in a lot of areas such as thinking in the future, preparing myself for the unexpected, and given me the confidence to take the business in a new direction,” Caravelis concludes. “It’s helped me propel my growth but also sustained my thirst to lean more. It’s an experience that helps you understand what it takes to get to the next level but also validates and challenges some of your ideas.” And, as a member of the CEO XChange, you don’t have to do it alone.
For information about Blezoo, please visit https://blezoo.com/.
— FSBDC —
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 2021, the FSBDC at UCF served more than 2,700 entrepreneurs in Central Florida with consulting services, resulting in more than 8,200 jobs created, retained or saved; $1.5 billion in sales growth; $88.8 million in capital formation; $72.4 million in government contract awards; and 137 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 2021, 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 38,000 jobs impacted; $7.4 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.