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

FSBDC at UCF Celebrates 2022 National Small Business Week

FSBDC at UCF to Honor Clients as U.S. Small Business Administration Award Winners and Local Advisor as Regional Volunteer of the Year

May 11, 2022
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 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 recognizing local SBA award winners.

The FSBDC at UCF’s National Small Business Week celebration will occur on Tuesday, May 17th at the 2022 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 and the U.S. Small Business Administration who will present the following awards to the local FSBDC at UCF and state and district SBA awards recipients in attendance:

  • Woman Business Owner of the Year
    2022 North Florida District Winner
    Ms. Chaitali Prajapati, Member/Owner
    PI Consulting Services, LLC – Longwood
    www.pics-llc.com
  • Minority Business Owner of the Year
    2022 State of Florida and North Florida District Winner
    Ms. Indira Vega, President and CEO
    Indy Interpreting Inc DBA CCI Group – Orlando
    www.myccigroup.com
  • Regional Volunteer of the Year
    2022 Central Florida / Florida SBDC at UCF Winner
    Kurt E. Thalwitzer, Esq., Shareholder
    Mateer Harbert, Attorneys at Law — Orlando
    www.mateerharbert.com
     
  • Small Business Advocate of the Year
    2022 State of Florida and North Florida District Winner
    Mr. Jerry Ross, President
    National Entrepreneur Center – Orlando
    www.nationalec.org

“It gives the FSBDC at UCF great pleasure to honor our valued clients Chaitali Prajapati of PI Consulting Services and Indira ‘Indy’ Vega of CCI Group as U.S. Small Business Administration Award winners as part of its Small Business Week,” remarked Eunice Choi, Regional Director of the Florida SBDC at UCF. “We are also indeed pleased to congratulate and applaud Kurt Thalwitzer as the Central Florida / FSBDC at UCF Regional Volunteer of the Year for his longstanding support and dedicated volunteer work supporting the FSBDC at UCF’s clients in our Advisory Board Council program. Finally, we take great pride in recognizing our colleague Jerry Ross of the National Entrepreneur Center as Small Business Advocate of the Year for his tireless activism on behalf of the entrepreneurs and small businesses of Central Florida.”

“PI Consulting Services and CCI Group are outstanding examples of small business success stories, each one built upon the vision, energy and determination of their entrepreneurial founders,” shared Choi. “The FSBDC at UCF works to provide consulting, business training, and access to market research that allows companies like these to excel. We are gratified to have assisted them in their achievement in some small way,” Choi continued.

PI Consulting Services (PICS), LLC is an engineering consulting firm serving Central Florida and surrounding areas. It offers significant experience in multiple areas of construction engineering from contract administration through inspection including consulting from pre-construction through project closeout.  At PICS they practice Honor, Integrity, & Respect and stand by their motto “Teamwork Makes the Dream Work!”

As an interpretation and translation services company, CCI Group provides linguistic solutions for businesses in a globalized world. Originally founded to offer certified legal interpreters for the court system, today it offers its services to the government; schools, colleges and universities; collection agencies; meetings and conventions; and many more. CCI Group is an SBA certified 8(a) small business and a Minority / Woman Owned Business Enterprise (M/WBE)  that believes breaking barriers across languages and cultures is possible every day.

Mateer Harbert is a full-service law firm offering counsel on a wide range of legal matters. Passionate about the law and relentlessly committed to client service since its founding in 1960, the firm serves clients across the entire spectrum of law with a particular focus on litigation, real estate, construction and tort law. They pride themselves in responding with agility  and acting decisively to deliver solutions that best meet their clients’ needs.

The National Entrepreneur Center (NEC) is a world leader in active and effective economic development and is dedicated to the growth and success of small business. Through a cooperative effort of a diverse group of service organizations including the FSBDC at UCF, it offers easy access to professional business assistance, quality educational programming and practical industry expertise that has kept Orlando as one of the best places in America for starting and growing a small business for over a decade.

“Both PI Consulting and CCI Group have built themselves from start-ups into impressive businesses by 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,” said Choi.

“Kurt Thalwitzer of Mateer Harbert has distinguished himself through his significant contribution to the FSBDC’s award-winning Advisory Board Council (ABC) program. As a dedicated volunteer advisor since 2004, Kurt generously served as an invaluable subject matter expert for each of the FSBDC clients he worked with, sharing best practices from his specialized construction law background that is not typically affordable or accessible for small business owners. For that and more, we are deeply grateful,” stated Choi.

“As one of the National Entrepreneur Center’s founding business support organizations and a primary contributor to the NEC’s mission and economic impact, the FSBDC at UCF is keenly aware of the leadership and contribution that Jerry Ross has provided while establishing Orlando and Central Florida as a mecca for small businesses. He is highly deserving of recognition as the SBA’s State of Florida and North Florida District Small Business Advocate of the Year,” Choi concluded.

“Florida’s 2.8 million small business owners work tirelessly everyday to launch and grow their businesses, and the Florida SBDC Network is proud to stand alongside them to help make their dreams a reality,” said Greg Britton, state director of the Florida SBDC Network. “We are proud to be able to celebrate the success of some of our highest achievers, and acknowledge all our small businesses do to help make Florida the best state in the nation to work, live and play.”

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 out of every three new jobs in the U.S. each year.

As part of National Small Business Week, the U.S. Small Business Administration takes the opportunity to highlight 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 May 1 – 7 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.

— 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 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 2020, the FSBDC at UCF served more than 2,700 entrepreneurs in Central Florida with consulting services, resulting in more than 10,000 jobs created, retained or saved; $1.2 billion in sales growth; $59.1 million in capital formation; $53.4

million in government contract awards; and 86 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 2020, Florida SBDCs provided 162,519 hours of professional business consulting to more than 24,100 client businesses, resulting in almost 38,000 jobs impacted; $4.4 billion in sales generated; $488 million in government contracts acquired; and $553.5 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, 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

Mickey Finn's Irish Pub

Mickey Finn’s Irish Pub is Back!

Clermont Pub Navigates Pandemic with Assistance from Florida SBDC at UCF – Lake County

May 10, 2022

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

                 John Doramus, Consultant,  FSBDC at UCF – Lake County, 352.404.7338 or john.doramus@ucf.edu

Orlando, FL – Imagine the excitement. You’re a small business owner and restauranteur who has returned to your roots, having bought a bar/restaurant after taking extended R&R in the Florida Keys. Your new place in Clermont, FL – Mickey Finn’s Irish Pub – has been open exactly one week, the customers are coming in, life is good. And then “Wham!” The Pandemic explodes and your business is shut down completely, for weeks. The excitement goes out the door and survival becomes the number one priority. Those were the cards dealt to Micky Finn’s new owners, Ron Greeley and his wife Pat. Fortunately for them, they turned to the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida’s (FSBDC at UCF) in Lake County and FSBDC consultant John Doramus, and that made all the difference.

Mickey Finn’s Irish Pub is the genuine article, right down to the bar itself. All of the furnishings and interior and exterior finishes, including the bar, cabinets, furniture, and décor are authentically Irish, imported from Derry, Ireland itself. The imported beers on tap and the old country menu further showcase the authenticity of the experience. “People come in here and have a real feeling of a pub rather than just a bar,” says Pat Greeley. “We serve the local community as well as international customers, including from the UK and Canada,” continued Ron Greeley. “Our slogan is ‘An Irish Pub with a Key West Attitude.’”

A great concept with a loyal following isn’t enough in the face of a pandemic. “We had first opened the pub in March 2020 and a week later we were shut down because of the COVID virus,” relates Ron Greeley. “They shut us down for six weeks and we lost just about all of our supplies and beer and food. We had to put an extraordinary amount of our own money into the pub just to stay afloat. Our funds were quickly depleted, and we turned to the FSBDC for advice. That’s when we met John Doramus. He is above all the reason we’re still in business.”

After meeting with the Greeley’s and assessing the challenging situation, the FSBDC’s Doramus got to work on finding and connecting them with resources and assistance. After limping through 2020 earning barely 25% of pre-Covid revenues, they started to see slight growth in 2021. Meanwhile, Doramus helped the Greeley’s receive funds from the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program and its Restaurant Revitalization Fund. Then he went a step further, showing them the way to receiving Employee Retention Credit funds as well as how to implement a new financial management system.

“If it weren’t for John Doramus and his cohorts at the FSBDC, we would not be where we are today. I cannot thank them enough,” shares Ron Greeley. “John provided us expert advice as to what to do, how to proceed, how to get through the myriad of alphabet agencies that were providing economic disaster funding. John was the one glowing light in this whole dark episode of the Pandemic.” Concluded Pat Greeley: “I wouldn’t hesitate to tell anyone to go ahead and work with the FSBDC. We are successful now because we did.”

For information about Mickey Finn’s Irish Pub, please visit www.mickeyfinnsirishpub.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 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 2020, the FSBDC at UCF served more than 2,700 entrepreneurs in Central Florida with consulting services, resulting in more than 10,000 jobs created, retained or saved; $1.2 billion in sales growth; $59.1 million in capital formation; $53.4

million in government contract awards; and 86 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 2020, Florida SBDCs provided 162,519 hours of professional business consulting to more than 24,100 client businesses, resulting in almost 38,000 jobs impacted; $4.4 billion in sales generated; $488 million in government contracts acquired; and $553.5 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, 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

Florida SBDC at UCF Names Jose Molfino Lake County Area Manager

Expert Business Assistance Available to Local Businesses         

May 9, 2021

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 University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) today announced that it has named Jose Molfino as Area Manager of the FSBDC at UCF’s office in Lake County. He will oversee the FSBDC’s client service activities across the county and be responsible for providing consulting services, seminars and workshops and access to market research data aimed at assisting FSBDC at UCF clients start new businesses and then grow them into successful small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

In partnership with the Lake County Economic Growth Department, the FSBDC’s sub-center in Lake County helps local businesses grow and succeed, and contributes significantly to business start-ups and expansions in the area. It is housed in The Suites at Hunt Industrial Park at 15430 County Road 565A, Suite F, Groveland, FL 34736. The FSBDC at UCF – Lake County’s direct line is 352-404-7624.

Jose Molfino joins the Florida SBDC at UCF after an accomplished 20-year career as a financial executive with experience in the US, Latin America and the Middle East working for small, medium and Fortune 500 companies, most recently as an executive at Eli Lilly and Company and as the owner of Pacific Windtree LLC, a real estate investment firm. Since 2016, he has also been a volunteer advisor for the FSBDC’s award-winning Advisory Board Council program where he has helped businesses solve problems and create opportunities.

Mr. Molfino specializes in business finance, strategic planning and budgeting, business development and process improvement and assisted pre-venture,  start-ups and established business across a wide spectrum of industries.  He is a Certified Six Sigma Black Belt, earned an MBA in Finance from Virginia Tech and has a BS in Industrial Engineering from the University of Lima – Lima, Peru.

For more information about the Florida SBDC at UCF or to answer any questions, please contact Hal Thayer at hthayer@ucf.edu or call 407.420.4850.                

— 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 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 2020, the FSBDC at UCF served more than 2,700 entrepreneurs in Central Florida with consulting services, resulting in more than 10,000 jobs created, retained or saved; $1.2 billion in sales growth; $59.1 million in capital formation; $53.4

million in government contract awards; and 86 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 2020, Florida SBDCs provided 162,519 hours of professional business consulting to more than 24,100 client businesses, resulting in almost 38,000 jobs impacted; $4.4 billion in sales generated; $488 million in government contracts acquired; and $553.5 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, 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

The Flooring Spot

The Flooring Spot: New Opportunities Driving Growth

Locally Owned and Operated Flooring Company Thriving with Assistance from FSBDC at UCF

April 20, 2022

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:  Hal Thayer, Communications Director, FSBDC at UCF, 407.420.4879 or HThayer@ucf.edu

                  Jairo Batista, Consultant, FSBDC at UCF, 407.420.4853 or Jairo.Batista@ucf.edu

Orlando, FL – Growing and expanding a small business can be challenging in any economy, only more so during a pandemic. A crucial key to success for many entrepreneurs and business owners striving to reach the next level is and always has been accessing assistance and resources, preferably at no cost. Elizabeth and Juan Lugo, founders and owners of The Flooring Spot, sought the support they needed to grow their business at the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) and they are grateful they did.

The Flooring Spot, with stores in Ocoee and now Winter Garden, call themselves ‘your local flooring experts since 2005’. Specializing in the sale and installation of all types of flooring material for residential and commercial customers, they are family-owned and locally operated. The Flooring Spot prides itself in offering superior customer service and highest quality installation from a team with over 50 years of combined experience, and all at competitive prices. Top that off with a total satisfaction guarantee.

“What makes us different,” says Elizabeth Lugo, “is that Juan started as a subcontractor. From his years of experience, and his hands-on background and knowledge, we are able, and are dedicated to, providing each and every customer with the very best in service, quality, value and workmanship.”

“In the beginning, I went to look for training and information about how to expand our business and make it better,” recalls Ms. Lugo. “I found what I needed at and have utilized a lot of different services from the FSBDC. Our consultant, Jairo Batista, helped us in a lot of ways. I think we became almost like friends.”

The Lugos and their company took advantage of the FSBDC’s expert, no-cost consulting; business training and workshops; and access to extensive market research databases. The FSBDC presented them with multiple opportunities for funding to survive the pandemic, with the company eventually receiving financial support in the form of a State of Florida Bridge Loan, and from the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program loan and later forgiveness, and an Economic Injury Disaster Loan. Says Elizabeth Lugo: “The assistance they provided with capital resources and the many other things they were telling us really helped us keep our doors open and continue our business before everything started to pick up again.”

Beyond enabling The Floor Spot’s access to capital, the FSBDC has offered guidance and counsel focused on growing the company. “When we started seeking support from the FSBDC, our business was very small. We hadn’t even opened our first showroom location,” remarks Ms. Lugo. “Since then, we have come across so many different opportunities that they shared with us. From that point on and with the FSBDC’s help, our business has grown a lot. We have been able to open our new location, hire new employees, and expand our warehouse. We were able to continue to grow and get over the hump of the COVID times.”

“We have grown and continue to grow; our second store is doing great,” Ms. Lugo concludes. “All the support we have received from the FSBDC really helped us get there. It was excellent for our small business; it really gave us the push we needed.”

For information about The Flooring Spot, please visit www.theflooringspot.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 the UCF Office of Partnership & Innovation 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 2020, the FSBDC at UCF served more than 2,700 entrepreneurs in Central Florida with consulting services, resulting in more than 10,000 jobs created, retained or saved; $1.2 billion in sales growth; $59.1 million in capital formation; $53.4 million in government contract awards; and 86 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 2020, Florida SBDCs provided 162,519 hours of professional business consulting to more than 24,100 client businesses, resulting in almost 38,000 jobs impacted; $4.4 billion in sales generated; $488 million in government contracts acquired; and $553.5 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, 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

Small Business Institute, SBI

UCF Students in Florida SBDC at UCF Program Win Small Business Institute® National 1st Place Honors

Student Team Assists Local Small Business with Award Winning Consulting

March 30, 2022

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

Orlando, FL – The Small Business Institute® (SBI®), the premier provider of professional development for those engaged in experiential student team consulting and related entrepreneurship education, research and activities and the link between business, education and community, recently announced that a student team from the University of Central Florida’s (UCF) College of Business Administration and College of Engineering was a winner in its annual Experiential Learning Project of the Year (POY) competition, taking 1st Place in the 2021-22 ‘Graduate Comprehensive’ category.

In competition with MBA teams from across the country, the UCF student team of Ben Park, Christopher Gray Miller, and Tarrik Harb won 1st Place in the ‘Graduate Comprehensive’ category on the strength of their consulting project for Dovi Window Designs, Inc., a Volusia County-based windows and doors contractor and installer.

Sponsored by the Florida Small Business Development Center at UCF (FSBDC at UCF), this is the 17th time that a UCF student team has won an award in the 12 years that UCF and the FSBDC have participated in the SBI® national competition.

The Small Business Institute® is featured in a graduate level class in the UCF College of Business (UCF CBA): ENT 5946 – Small Business Consulting. The class is led by faculty advisor Dr. Carl Blencke, an instructor for the UCF CBA’s Department of Management, as part of a management class. Ms. Jill Kaufman, Assistant Director, and Program Manager, with assistance from Ms. Jessica Ali, Program Coordinator and Associate Consultant, oversees and manages the program for the FSBDC which recruits clients and carefully evaluates the students’ skills to create an ideal match with the clients’ needs in order to produce meaningful consulting engagement. In the case of Dovi Window Designs, the student team was guided through the process by its Case Supervisor, Jose Molfino, an FSBDC Consultant with both a business and engineering background as a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt.

“It is truly gratifying to recognize these UCF students for winning this prestigious award,” said Rebecca Bennett, PhD., Professor of Management and Interim Chair of the Department of Management. “Utilizing the SBI® program as part of our course offering is a valuable experiential learning platform which contributes to the quality of the student educational opportunity at the University of Central Florida and an important educational partnership between UCF and the FSBDC.”

“The SBI® and this 1st Place honor are a win-win-win: for our UCF students, for our FSBDC client, and for UCF itself,” commented Eunice Choi, Regional Director for the FSBDC at UCF. “Congratulations to the students who have contributed to a small business’s growth, to our client Adam Dovi and Dovi Window Designs for his future opportunities, and to UCF for offering a class that so admirably serves its students and its Central Florida business community.”

“The FSBDC at UCF and UCF partnership supporting the SBI® is indicative of our shared commitment to the small businesses in Central Florida while also offering experiential learning opportunities to UCF students. It demonstrates UCF’s commitment to our community and to growing the local economy, and the FSBDC’s contribution to furthering UCF’s educational mission” continues Choi.

“A team of three graduate level students from UCF out classed, outperformed, and out hustled each and every consultation team I have hired over the past 20 years. It was an absolute breath of fresh air to deal with a team so well organized and focused. They have made a greater impact on our company than they will ever know,” said Adam Dovi, the owner of Dovi Windows Designs, Inc and FSBDC client.

The student team’s contribution to Dovi Windows & Doors was substantial. During the initial discovery meeting, the team met with the client to probe for his pain points and determined that they could have the greatest impact by developing strategies to enhance project workflow processes and workflow mapping, better aligning roles and responsibilities, and identifying and supporting implementation of productivity enhancement tools – all with the goal of increasing production capacity and streamlining operations. Utilizing their backgrounds in industrial engineering and especially in the era of pandemic and supply chain limitations, the team was able to create efficiencies that helped the client meet his short-term needs while preparing the business for greater success in the future.

About the Small Business Institute® Program in Central Florida

The Florida SBDC at UCF (FSBDC at UCF) sponsors the Small Business Institute® in Central Florida and, in conjunction with the Department of Management at the UCF College of Business Administration, manages the SBI® program locally. It recruits and evaluates FSBDC clients for the program, lends FSBDC consultants as SBI® case supervisors, and provides a range of guidance and support.

At the UCF College of Business Administration (UCF CBA), SBI® is a graduate‐level elective course. Students enrolled in the class provide management consulting services to local small businesses. Each student team has direct contact with the client and produces a professional case report. The report is the ultimate product of the program and is tailored to each business. Case study reports have included market research, marketing plans, competitive analysis, advertising strategy, customer surveys, strategic plans, financial analysis, human resource manuals, and business plans.

The SBI® Program is offered as a full-semester credit course through the CBA’s Department of Management. During the semester, the student teams oversee and implement extensive research and analysis to determine industry best practices; meet regularly to understand company processes and procedures; and performed wide-ranging analysis of business and industry strategies and performance. As a result of their efforts, the students are able to provide a comprehensive analysis and set of recommendations.

SBI® is a nation‐wide program that provides high‐quality business assistance to companies in need while providing an extraordinary opportunity for university students to learn through field case studies. Each project is led and conducted by a group of students under the supervision of an SBI® Director or faculty member. The experience is often cited by students as being one of the most rewarding of their academic careers. In today’s collegiate environment there is a strong emphasis on experiential learning, and the SBI® has been at the forefront of this movement for over thirty years.

— 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 the UCF Office of Partnership & Innovation 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 2020, the FSBDC at UCF served more than 2,700 entrepreneurs in Central Florida with consulting services, resulting in more than 10,000 jobs created, retained or saved; $1.2 billion in sales growth; $59.1 million in capital formation; $53.4 million in government contract awards; and 86 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 2020, Florida SBDCs provided 162,519 hours of professional business consulting to more than 24,100 client businesses, resulting in almost 38,000 jobs impacted; $4.4 billion in sales generated; $488 million in government contracts acquired; and $553.5 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, 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

A&G Marketing Group Powered by PROforma

A & G Marketing Group Powered by PROforma Offering Promotional Products and Services with the Personal Touch

Marketing and Branding Agency Excels with Assistance from Florida SBDC at Seminole State College

Mar 28, 2022

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

                 Monica Williams, Sub-Center Director, FSBDC at Seminole State College,  407.321.3495 or williamsmm@seminolestre.edu

Orlando, FL – Top line revenue growth is typically the highest priority for growing a small business but increasing productivity or reducing expenses can be crucial second and third choices as well. For wife and husband team Jennifer Herrera and Pablo Prahl, owners and directors of A & G Marketing Group Powered by PROforma in Lake Mary, Florida, the goal was to grow their sales and their business by improving their processes, increasing the efficiency of their operations, and enhancing the effectiveness of their internal and external communications. For guidance, they turned to the Florida Small Business Development Center at Seminole State College (FSBDC at SSC), its Advisory Board Council program, and its local consultant Monica Williams.

A & G Marketing is a full-service marketing agency providing innovative and cutting-edge promotional products and solutions to individual consumers as well as a broad range of commercial customers. Offering branding & graphic design; direct mail and digital services; printing and tradeshow displays; and branded merchandise and apparel, A & G Marketing takes clients from concept to delivery, all with a noticeable emphasis on customer service.

“Our name is A & G Marketing Group Powered by PROforma,” says Prahl. “What that means is we are a family-owned business that has the support of PROforma, a marketing and promotion company with more than 700 offices in the U.S. and Canada. It helps us be very competitive with our products and our services without losing the personal touch when consulting with our clients.”

“We sought assistance from the FSBDC because we wanted to know how to improve our internal processes and work together better to take the next step to growing our business,” continues Herrera. “Working with the FSBDC has been an amazing experience. It’s been incredible. As a small business owner, we can get too involved in our daily tasks and we do not take the time to work on our business. With the support of the FSBDC, you’re going to find the time and you’re going to see positive results.”

In the case of A & G, it was taking advantage of the FSBDC at SSC’s no-cost consulting services and its Center for Business Development’s Advisory Board Council program. In addition to general business consulting to help improve processes and procedures, consultant Williams introduced the DISC methodology, a personal assessment tool used by more than one million people every year to help improve teamwork, communication, and productivity in the workplace. The FSBDC’s Advisory Board Council provided a no-cost, customized board of volunteer experts selected to address A & G Marketing’s specific needs by providing advice and counsel to help the business grow.

“The improvement we have seen in our business since we started working with the FSBDC has been great,” Prahl concludes. “Our first year with them was 2020 and we did the same numbers that year despite COVID as we did in 2019, which was amazing. And in 2021 we had an increase of 30% which was a huge number compared to other PROforma offices. We even added a team member from Seminole State College who is working and growing with us. Working with the FSBDC and the advisory board has been just plain great for us.”

For information about A & G Marketing Group Powered by PROForma, please visit https://marketingbyproforma.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 the UCF Office of Partnership & Innovation 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 2020, the FSBDC at UCF served more than 2,700 entrepreneurs in Central Florida with consulting services, resulting in more than 10,000 jobs created, retained or saved; $1.2 billion in sales growth; $59.1 million in capital formation; $53.4 million in government contract awards; and 86 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 2020, Florida SBDCs provided 162,519 hours of professional business consulting to more than 24,100 client businesses, resulting in almost 38,000 jobs impacted; $4.4 billion in sales generated; $488 million in government contracts acquired; and $553.5 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, 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

CCI Group

CCI Group Growing Through Pandemic with FSBDC at UCF Help. Client Focus, Technology and Community Service Making the Difference.

FSBDC at UCF Assists Translation and Interpretation Company with Consulting Team, Workshops and Market Research

January 20, 2022

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

The beauty of entrepreneurship is often in the creation it involves. The creation of building a company, of meeting customer needs in a new way, of creating new jobs, of contributing to the community. Indira (Indy) Vega, CEO of the CCI Group, an interpretation and translation company, has made all of that happen and credits the Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florda (FSBDC at UCF) with helping her.

The CCI Group provides interpretation and translation services with a difference. Offering in-person and remote service in over 200 languages, the company has used the quality of its team and today’s technology to transform itself and the immediacy of the results its clients can achieve. CCI Groups clients span the private and public sector, serving law firms, medical providers, and school districts across Florida. Recently, they have gone nationwide with new clients in Georgia and Texas.

“We do more than replacing words,” Vega says. “We enable true communications across languages and cultures. We can do so much. For example, we offer over-the-phone interpretations that allows clients access to an interpreter in as little as 48 seconds,” Vega is proud to state. “And with our remote simultaneous interpretation, you can make an event or webinar truly inclusive with a multi-language presentation, in English, in Spanish, in Creole, in Portuguese, all at the same time.”

Vega came to the FSBDC at UCF to take her company to the next level of growth. Offering no-cost consulting, business training and workshops, and access to expansive market research resources, she took advantage of them all. “I have used so many services from the FSBDC” Vega continued. “One of the programs was the Business Recovery Team (a CARES Act-funded consulting service) which was fantastic. They were with us six months. I think we had almost weekly meetings. They helped us with budgeting, with planning, with marketing. You name it. Every aspect of my company was touched by the FSBDC at some point. They were a game changer for us.”

“I can’t even describe the impact the FSBDC has had on the growth of our business,” Vega states. “I was a solo practitioner with one part-time employee when I started with the FSBDC. Now we are up to 10. Not just here in Central Florida but overseas. Its something I never thought I was going to be able to do. Recently, the company went on a company retreat to show our appreciation. It all wouldn’t have been possible without help from the FSBDC.”

“Th SBDC also opened my eyes to community involvement,” Vega went on. “I always thought that was only for the big boys.” But today CCI Group is involved with THE CENTER, a non-profit assisting the LGBTQ community, as well as the Orlando Center for Justice which helps immigrants here in Central Florida. “I think this is thanks to my involvement with the FSBDC.”

“My experience working with the FSBDC has been amazing,” Vega concluded. “If you ask me in 10 years, I will say the same thing: the FSBDC was part of CCI Group and we wouldn’t be here without them, that’s for sure.”

For more information about The CCI Group, please visit https://myccigroup.com/.

Puretopiah

Let the Entrepreneurial Spirit Rule: Puretopiah Turning Heads

Multicultural Hair Care System for Children Launches with FSBDC at UCF Assistance

January 18, 2022

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

                  Charles Wheeler, Consultant, FSBDC at UCF, 407.420.4846 or Charles.Wheeler@ucf.edu 

Orlando, FL – The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in Alicia Sangster, CEO, founder, and product co- creator at Puretopiah, the maker of a unique, multicultural hair care system for children. Sangster encountered a problem, invented a solution, put the pieces together and then turned to the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) for assistance with starting up and launching her new business.

Alicia Sangster, a Jamaican immigrant, often found it difficult caring for her daughter’s thick, curly, multi-textured hair, made even more challenging by her child’s ultra-sensitive skin. With the help of her brother, a chemist for over 12 years, she began her quest for a natural, gentle, safe product that made it easier for children’s hair to look great longer, without frizz and with silky-smooth curls, all from a product made from nourishing, vegan ingredients. The result is a 4-step hair care system comprised of shampoo, conditioner, detangler and curling cream that is an easy to use, wash-and-go answer for intense hydration and longer lasting curls.

“Puretopiah is the first plant powered multicultural brand to give your kids up to four days of moisture and curl definition without the use of damaging chemicals or having to convince your kids to wear satin bonnets,” says Sangster proudly. “It makes it so much easier for us parents to care for our kid’s hair and make it look great longer. It’s why we like to say ‘Puretopiah. Your Beauty. Your Way. Naturally.’”

Sangster the entrepreneur had found the solution, but now wanted to share it and make a business out of it. That’s when she turned to the FSBDC at UCF. “I had seen articles where people shared their success stories from working with the FSBDC,” she recalls. “I decided to reach out for assistance because I didn’t want to navigate alone this landscape of starting a new business in a whole new industry that I wasn’t familiar with.”

“In working with the FSBDC, I have really experienced a lot of support,” continued Sangster. “As entrepreneurs, of course we rely on family and friends, but it helps to take it to another level where you’re getting support from someone who has been there and done that.” In fact, the FSBDC helped Sangster in multiple ways: setting up the business; developing packaging/labels/sales/website development. “What I really appreciated was that I could be myself in my interactions with my consultant Chuck Wheeler,” says Sangster. “Even if that day was a horrible day and I didn’t know if I was going to move forward, I was able to feel uplifted at the end of those sessions and keep going.”

“What I have achieved since working with the FSBDC is going from a mere idea to fully launching my business, which I did last week,” Sangster concluded. “There are so many things that you just don’t realize that you have to do as a business in order to launch and I definitely could not have done it without the help of the FSBDC, so I say: ‘Thank You.’”

For more information about Puretopiah, please visit: https://puretopiah.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 the UCF Office of Partnership & Innovation 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 2020, the FSBDC at UCF served more than 2,700 entrepreneurs in Central Florida with consulting services, resulting in more than 10,000 jobs created, retained or saved; $1.2 billion in sales growth; $59.1 million in capital formation; $53.4 million in government contract awards; and 86 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 2020, Florida SBDCs provided 162,519 hours of professional business consulting to more than 24,100 client businesses, resulting in almost 38,000 jobs impacted; $4.4 billion in sales generated; $488 million in government contracts acquired; and $553.5 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, 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

Lewis Home & Bridal; Lewis Home and Bridal

Lewis Home & Bridal Meets the Challenge. Achieves New Levels of Growth.

Lake County Sewing Company Overcomes Adversity and Recasts Business with Assistance from Florida SBDC at UCF

January 13, 2022

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

Orlando, FL – Dealing with adversity is a familiar challenge for all small business owners. Obstacles and setbacks can come from many places, at varying levels of intensity, and be expected or unexpected. For Debbie Lewis, the owner of sewing company Lewis Home & Bridal, trouble came suddenly, and she needed to make changes quickly. It was then that she turned to the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) for assistance.

Lewis Home & Bridal has been serving Lake County and Central Florida since 2009 with professional seamstress services, specializing in bridal and other formal wear as well as home décor and upholstery. Comprised of a team of seamstresses with decades of sewing experience, Lewis Home & Bridal offers a mix of old-school technique, skill, and quality assurance blended with a command of contemporary tastes and trends. Lewis Home & Bridal also partnered with several local companies to help design and manufacture the products they sell and has worked with most of the major theme parks in Central Florida.

“Our company is unique because we really take a personal interest in everyone we serve,” says Lewis. “We are focused on quality and excellence and integrity in everything we do. In the home, we help you bring the whole décor together, from window treatments to upholstery to accessories. On the bridal side, brides love coming to us. They love the personal, one-on-one attention. They’ll come to us with dresses that do not fit; we take care of every detail and make sure that when they come to pick up their gowns, they feel fantastic.”

In June 2020, Lewis needed help. “I contacted the FSBDC because I suddenly found myself as the sole provider for my family,” Lewis recalls. “I needed to take my sewing business from a side hobby to something that could support my family. The FSBDC helped me do just that. They were just this amazing group that helped me with every aspect of my business, from marketing to sales to the finances to the hiring, and firing, of subcontractors. I can’t believe how much they helped me.”

The FSBDC applied a team consulting approach, bringing in its own consultants – several of whom joined the FSBDC thanks to funding from the CARES Act – to address Lewis’s specific challenges. Subject matter experts in their respective fields, FSBDC consultants such as Steven South and Michael Townes brought their expertise in strategy, sales and marketing to bear. Other consultants, including Jose Molfino and Eric Moneyham, did the same, assisting with improving the financial picture by creating a budget and P&L as well as educating about cashflow management.

“I guess the biggest thing was that I felt very comfortable to talk to them, even though sometimes I didn’t know what I was doing, and they probably knew I didn’t know what I was doing, but they came alongside me anyway so I could grow,” Lewis remarks.

Since starting with the FSBDC, Lewis Home & Bridal has been on a winning streak and has achieved significant growth. It has added seven new employees, expanded its workspace and shop, and seen revenues almost double. Profits are up almost 60%. “I don’t think I would have taken the steps I did if the FSBDC hadn’t been there and encouraged me along the way. It’s just been amazing. It’s been great,” concludes Lewis.

For more information about Lewis Home & Bridal, please visit https://www.lewishomeandbridal.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 the UCF Office of Partnership & Innovation 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 2020, the FSBDC at UCF served more than 2,700 entrepreneurs in Central Florida with consulting services, resulting in more than 10,000 jobs created, retained or saved; $1.2 billion in sales growth; $59.1 million in capital formation; $53.4 million in government contract awards; and 86 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 2020, Florida SBDCs provided 162,519 hours of professional business consulting to more than 24,100 client businesses, resulting in almost 38,000 jobs impacted; $4.4 billion in sales generated; $488 million in government contracts acquired; and $553.5 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, 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

Board & Brush - Kissimmee

Inspiring your Inner D-I-Y: Board & Brush Creative Studio, Kissimmee and Ocoee Continuing to Grow

Do-It-Yourself Wood Sign Art Studio Company Thriving with Assistance from FSBDC at UCF – Osceola County/Kissimmee

January 10, 2022

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

                 Rafael E. M. Pratts, Consultant, FSBDC at UCF – Kissimmee/Osceola County, 407.847.2458 or rpratts@ucf.edu 

Orlando, FL – Going it alone is an easy mistake for a small business owner to make, especially if they have purchased an existing business or franchise and are leveraging the processes, procedures and tools provided by the previous owner or franchisor. Often, however, greater success and faster growth can be achieved with external help. It’s that opportunity that persuaded Kim Campanie, owner of Board & Brush Creative Studio, Kissimmee and Ocoee to seek additional assistance and turn to the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) – Osceola County/Kissimmee for its no-cost, expert consulting; business training and workshops; and access to extensive market research resources.

Board & Brush Creative Studio, Kissimmee offers three-hour, do-it-yourself wood sign workshops where guests can create any of 500 projects available in their online gallery. Catering to individuals; private, community and corporate events; and teen and kid’s parties, the emphasis is on creating, connecting with friends – new and old – and having a good time. As their website says: “Instead of do-it-yourself, let’s do-it-together. Experience not needed. Just bring your creativity and personality. We will provide the education, materials, and fun.“

“I originally sought out assistance from the FSBDC after I met my business coach Rafael (Rafael E.M. Pratts, consultant at the FSBDC at UCF’s Osceola County/Kissimmee satellite office) and he mentioned his role and the services he provides,” recalls Campanie. “From the moment we started talking, I knew he was going to be instrumental in taking me from novice business owner to an extremely successful one with his guidance and encouragement.”

“Over the last three years, I have taken advantage of so many of the amazing programs offered by the FSBDC, starting with my business coach Rafael who meets with me every month,” enthused Campanie. “He supports my marketing goals, provides resources, sets benchmarks for me. He holds me accountable, which no one wants done in business, but everybody needs,” she laughed. “It has taken me from start to finish in growing my business into the success we are today.”

“One of the areas where the FSBDC really has helped is with my online and social media presence, by diversifying beyond Facebook and making sure we have a strategy with Google, a presence on Instagram, and that I am utilizing my internal text and email resources,” Campanie stated. “Now we’re not just doing what’s easy. We’re encompassing an entire approach to make sure we cover all our bases with our customers.”

“The success that I’ve had since working with the FSBDC and Rafael has been immense. We have seen increases of 20% in revenue since we started working together – and that is through a Pandemic – which Rafeal was instrumental in guiding me through,” continued Campanie. “We certainly would not be here today having the success that we do, increasing the staff as we have, looking to grow to more locations as we are, without the support of the FSBDC.”

“If you are a business owner considering working with the SBDC, I say ‘Don’t wait. The Sooner the better.’” concluded Campanie. “The sooner you get someone in your corner who supports your goals, who understands where you are and where you want to go, the better off you are going to be.”

For information about Board & Brush Creative Studio, Kissimmee, please visit https://boardandbrush.com/kissimmee/.

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 the UCF Office of Partnership & Innovation 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 2020, the FSBDC at UCF served more than 2,700 entrepreneurs in Central Florida with consulting services, resulting in more than 10,000 jobs created, retained or saved; $1.2 billion in sales growth; $59.1 million in capital formation; $53.4 million in government contract awards; and 86 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 2020, Florida SBDCs provided 162,519 hours of professional business consulting to more than 24,100 client businesses, resulting in almost 38,000 jobs impacted; $4.4 billion in sales generated; $488 million in government contracts acquired; and $553.5 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, 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