KeyCom Technologies

KeyCom Technologies: Transitioning to an Ever Brighter Future

Peer-to-Peer Coaching by FSBDC at UCF’s CEO XChange Empowers Transformational Business Decisions

April 17, 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

Orlando, FL – Owning and running a small business isn’t easy. Certainly there are perks: you are your own boss, you reap the rewards of your work directly, you chart the course for your business and your future. But offsetting those benefits is the responsibility on your shoulders for your business, your customers, your employees and more. You have to make decisions, often with limited information and no one to advise you. It’s no wonder they say “it’s lonely at the top.”

Finding a solution to the feeling of isolation that can come with being a small business owner was the challenge that Phil Medina, President and owner of KeyCom Technologies, needed to pursue. It was within the Florida SBDC at UCF (FSBDC at UCF) and its CEO XChange program that he found the answers and support he had been seeking. CEO XChange is an executive roundtable program that offers a confidential setting for business leaders to discuss vital issues, opportunities and trends with a group of peers.

KeyCom Technologies is a full-service design, installation, and support organization for a wide spectrum of technologies tied to carrier services, phone systems, access control, surveillance, data networks, Wi-Fi, and infrastructure utilizing fiber optics in the ground and data cables in the walls. They have been particularly strong outfitting assisted living facilities, schools, and auto dealerships, but have worked in almost all environments. At the helm of a 35 year old, fast-moving technology firm having served 5,000+ business customers, Medina has a lot on his plate.

“Originally we were a pure telecom company, doing old-fashioned phone systems,” recalls Medina. “Over the years we began casting a much wider technology net, but back in 2008-9 when the world was falling apart economically, there were different decisions to be made that required more than just tech innovation.”

“I tried other CEO groups, names you’d recognize, but they were expensive and didn’t have what I wanted,” continued Medina. “Then I discovered the FSBDC’s CEO XChange. It’s a group of business leaders who’ve been there, done that. They provide feedback loops and insight into all kinds of skin-your-knee experiences without you having to go through them yourself.”

“Since we started with the CEO XChange almost 9 years ago, KeyCom is much healthier, much happier, and seeing consistent annual growth in the areas pursued,” Medina went on. “But that almost misses the point. Although we’ve seen solid top-line growth, the really big change is our business model. We’ve transitioned from a transactional sales model to a recurring revenue model. That required a full commitment to the long-game we feared undertaking, but we gained considerable courage by bouncing the plan off of my peer group at CEO XChange.”

“The CEO XChange is a safe environment with smart people who listen to your issues, offer you feedback, and leave you with action items you can execute,” concluded Medina. “It’s been a very, very good return on my investment in terms of time, money, and outcomes. Without the CEO XChange, it probably would have taken twice as long to implement this transition that has opened the door to a much brighter future for my company.”

For information about KeyCom Technologies, please visit www.keycom.net.

— 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 SBDC 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 10 service centers across Central Florida.

In 2017, the FSBDC at UCF served over 2,450 entrepreneurs in Central Florida with consulting services, resulting in more than 5,600 jobs created, retained or saved; $623 million in sales growth; $23 million in capital formation; $32 million in government contract awards; and 71 new businesses started.

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 2017, Florida SBDCs have provided professional business consulting to 11,750 client businesses, resulting in more than 28,800 jobs impacted; $3.2 billion in sales generated; $145.6 million in government contracts acquired; $135.4 million in capital accessed; and 335 new businesses started.

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

Enviro USA Manufacturing's Jennifer and Luis Vargas

Enviro-USA Knows What it Doesn’t Know: Environmental Manufacturer Finds new Success with Assistance from FSBDC at UCF

April 8, 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

                 Jill Kaufman, ABC Program Director, FSBDC at UCF, 407.420.4854 or Jill.Kaufman@ucf.edu

                Jill McLaughlin, International Trade Program Manager, 407.420.4856 or Jill.McLaughlin@ucf.edu

Enviro-USA Knows What It Doesn’t Know; 
Environmental Manufacturer Finds New Success

FSBDC at UCF Assists Company with Advisory Board Council, Export Marketing, Government Contracting and Consulting Support

Orlando, FL – “You don’t know what you don’t know.” That’s the mantra of many of the smart and successful small business clients that seek assistance from Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF). And all credit goes to those business owners; recognizing that they don’t have all the answers and that they can benefit from the FSBDC’s services, including its programs for established, second stage companies as well as its expert, confidential, no-cost consulting.

Jennifer Vargas, President, and Luis Vargas, Vice President, lead and are co-owners of Enviro-USA American Manufacturer LLC, the producer of environmental protection apparatus. It makes containment booms for the oil industry, silt or turbidity curtains for the marine construction industry, and seaweed barriers for the tourism industry. They had grown the business to more than $1 million in sales by 2016 but had hit a rough patch.

“We were at a point where we felt like we needed assistance,” recalls Jennifer Vargas. “Challenges were presenting themselves. Unfamiliar issues and problems were arising, daily it seemed. We knew we didn’t have all the answers and needed guidance. We needed professionals to help us move forward. That’s why we signed up with the FSBDC.”

Enviro-USA and the Vargases accessed multiple of the FSBDC’s services. They received in-depth marketing and financial analysis consulting from the FSBDC’s Eastern Florida State College sub-center. The local Procurement Specialist from the FSBDC’s Florida Procurement Technical Assistance Center at UCF (Florida PTAC at UCF) assisted with government contracting opportunities. And the FSBDC at UCF’s International Trade Program Manager Jill McLaughlin led in developing an export marketing plan for the company.

“The FSBDC is amazing to work with,” says Luis Vargas. “They dived deep into our issues. In the export marketing plan, we learned what countries to target and so much more. With our financials, they opened our eyes and pointed out where we needed to focus. On the marketing side, they got is down into the nitty-gritty to grow our revenues.”

If that wasn’t enough, the Vargases also joined the FSBDC’s Advisory Board Council (ABC), a no-cost board of volunteer experts, selected to address the specific needs of the FSBDC client providing advice and counsel to help businesses grow.  “Working with the ABC advisors was so important and so valuable. They shared so much knowledge; about production, sales, human resources, business-to-business marketing. It enabled us to make so many better decisions at the company. And ABC Program Manager Jill Kaufman was instrumental in making it happen,” stated Luis Vargas.

The Vargas’s work with the FSBDC has paid rich rewards. Enviro-USA has achieved remarkable results since starting with the FSBDC: the company has been able to double its factory space, its work force and its manufacturing capacity. Revenues have increased more than 90% and profits have grown by 1,000%.

“You can’t go wrong working with the FSBDC,” concluded Jennifer Vargas. “You can only improve your business. You get experts to help you with every aspect of your business and it’s at no cost. They are there for you, to help you every way that they can.”

For information about Enviro-USA American Manufacturer  please visit www.enviro-usa.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 SBDC 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 10 service centers across Central Florida.

In 2017, the FSBDC at UCF served over 2,450 entrepreneurs in Central Florida with consulting services, resulting in more than 5,600 jobs created, retained or saved; $623 million in sales growth; $23 million in capital formation; $32 million in government contract awards; and 71 new businesses started.

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 2017, Florida SBDCs have provided professional business consulting to 11,750 client businesses, resulting in more than 28,800 jobs impacted; $3.2 billion in sales generated; $145.6 million in government contracts acquired; $135.4 million in capital accessed; and 335 new businesses started.

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

PurgARTory Makeup

PurgARTory Makeup by Lynne Schaffer: Growing with Assistance from the FSBDC at UCF

Art, Makeup, Fashion Brand Features Edgy Sophistication and Affordable Luxury

March 25, 2019
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 intersection of creativity and commerce can be hard to find for entrepreneurs and small business owners. Transforming an idea into a business, then imbuing that idea with the passion and desire of an artist, takes energy and resilience and courage. Professional artist Lynne Schaffer had those qualities and more when she came to the Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) for assistance with launching and building her art, makeup and fashion brand, the House of PurgARTory, beginning with PurgARTory Makeup by Lynne Schaffer.

Schaffer’s vision for her company and her brand is clear. “We celebrate edgy sophistication, confidence and individuality, glamour and affordable extravagance.  We’re about being vintage, classy, dark, and fun! It’s for strong, independent, creative, bad-ass dames!” says Schaffer. While fashion and art are in the future, Schaffer launched with PurgARTory cosmetics that she says “brings you back to basics with the Classics, the Essentials. We are the affordable luxury, high-quality, richly pigmented, versatile, universal, skin care infused makeup for all skin colors and types.”

Schaffer came to PurgARTory with a visual arts background and more than 15 years as a professional makeup artist representing luxury brands like Dior. “My experience was all on the creative side of the world, with some sales and marketing thrown in,” recalls Schaffer. “But I had some concerns about starting and running a business without guidance about the technical and regulatory issues, as well as wanting to learn everything I need to know about marketing, finance, accounting and the like. That’s why I came to the FSBDC.”

“At the outset, it all seemed too huge and overwhelming for me to take on by myself,” Schaffer continued. “I’d heard that the FSBDC offered courses and workshops, so I signed up to get a foundation of knowledge. From the start, working with the FSBDC has been a very good experience that far exceeded my expectations.”

“First and foremost, and by far the most important and beneficial assistance I received from FSBDC, is the one-on-one, confidential, no-cost consulting I have received from Chuck Wheeler, my FSBDC consultant,” says Schaffer. “The quality of his guidance and his professionalism is what struck me. He walked me through every step of the process. It was so reassuring to work with someone who has had personal experience with the challenges I was dealing with.”

From its start more than a year ago, PurgARTory Makeup by Lynne Schaffer has grown into a successful business. Schaffer is collaborating with others in the arts community, scheduling special makeup events at boutiques and hair salons, and was featured at a fashion show in a prominent local art gallery. She is producing “Pop Up” shops where she works directly with clients introducing the advantages of PurgARTory Makeup by Lynne Schaffer.

“It’s such a relief to know you’re not alone in running your business,” concluded Schaffer. “It can be scary. I don’t feel that way anymore, though, thanks to the FSBDC and Chuck. Their main goal is for us to succeed and that’s just what’s happening for me.”

For information about PurgARTory Makeup, please visit www.purgartory.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 SBDC 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 10 service centers across Central Florida.

In 2017, the FSBDC at UCF served over 2,450 entrepreneurs in Central Florida with consulting services, resulting in more than 5,600 jobs created, retained or saved; $623 million in sales growth; $23 million in capital formation; $32 million in government contract awards; and 71 new businesses started.

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 2017, Florida SBDCs have provided professional business consulting to 11,750 client businesses, resulting in more than 28,800 jobs impacted; $3.2 billion in sales generated; $145.6 million in government contracts acquired; $135.4 million in capital accessed; and 335 new businesses started.

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 to Celebrate National SBDC Day March 20

March 19, 2019

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 (SBDC) at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) will celebrate the third annual SBDC Day Wednesday, March 20, 2019. SBDC Day is a national movement to celebrate the success and impact of America’s SBDCs, the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) largest business assistance program.

With an SBDC in every U.S. state and territory, and more than 1,000 centers across the country, SBDCs provide assistance to hundreds of thousands of aspiring and existing small businesses each year. SBDCs help entrepreneurs realize the dream of business ownership and help existing businesses remain competitive in a complex, ever-changing global marketplace.

In 2017, America’s SBDC clients experienced annual sales growth of 18.1 percent, almost 4.5 times more than the national average. SBDC assistance resulted in 93,471 jobs created; $7 billion in sales growth; $5.9 billion in capital investments; and 14,716 new businesses started.

“SBDC clients give their SBDCs 4.5 out of 5 stars and 92 percent of SBDC clients recommend their SBDC to other small businesses. With nearly 40 years of expertise, proven ROI and stellar client ratings, it’s clear that America’s SBDCs are the nation’s most trusted small business resource,” said Charles “Tee” Rowe, president and CEO of America’s SBDC.

“SBDC Day is an excellent opportunity to celebrate the collective impact and success SBDCs have across the nation and in local communities each year,” remarked Eunice Choi, Regional Director of the FSBDC at UCF. “We are proud to assist Central Florida small businesses in so many ways and contribute to the economic health and wellbeing of the region.”

The Florida SBDC at UCF is a member of the Florida SBDC Network, the state’s principal provider of small business assistance. The network has more than 40 centers from Pensacola to Key West hosted by the state’s leading universities, colleges, and economic development organizations.

To learn more about SBDC Day, and to join the celebration, please visit http://floridasbdc.org/national-sbdc-day.

— MORE —

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 SBDC 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 10 service centers across Central Florida.

In 2017, the FSBDC at UCF served over 2,450 entrepreneurs in Central Florida with consulting services, resulting in more than 5,600 jobs created, retained or saved; $623 million in sales growth; $23 million in capital formation; $32 million in government contract awards; and 71 new businesses started.

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 2017, Florida SBDCs have provided professional business consulting to 11,750 client businesses, resulting in more than 28,800 jobs impacted; $3.2 billion in sales generated; $145.6 million in government contracts acquired; $135.4 million in capital accessed; and 335 new businesses started.

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

Patriot Government Partners Succeeds; Overcomes Long Odds to Win First Contract

Florida PTAC at UCF Assists New Government Contractor

March 12, 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

Steven South, PTAC Manager, PTC at UCF, 407-420-4859 or steven.south@ucf.edu

Orlando, FL – Resolve. If there’s one trait that distinguishes successful entrepreneurs and their small businesses from the rest, it is their determination to accomplish their goals, undeterred by the obstacles they must overcome. Ashley Green, the founder and principal at Patriot Government Partners, a business specializing in government contracting, has proven she has the necessary tenacity and, when assisted by the Florida Procurement Technical Assistance Center at the University of Central Florida (Florida PTAC at UCF), the needed support to be successful.

Major Ashley Green of Patriot Government Partners with PTAC Consultant Steve South

Major Ashley Green of Patriot Government Partners with PTAC Consultant Steve South

Ashley Green has served for almost 20 years, and is a newly promoted Major and Company Commander, in the United States Army Reserve. Patriot Government Partners launched in November 2018 with a mission to leverage the founder’s military background –– and her healthcare experience and knowledge of small business ownership to provide information technology and project management services, centered primarily around healthcare, to government contracting clients.

 

“I knew I wanted to build a business, but I wasn’t sure how to formulate the plan and the steps I needed to take,“ recalls Green. “So I came to the Florida PTAC at UCF for help. I did everything – from soup to nuts – through PTAC.”

“My Procurement Specialist and the manager of the Florida PTAC at UCF, Steve South, worked with me practically weekly,” Green continued. “First on my project plan, then on pro forma financial statements and marketing plans. He gave me the checklist I needed to become a government contractor. He connected me with Jean Hill, a PTAC Coordinator, who helped set me up in Bid Match – an extensive database of federal, state, local, and international contracting opportunities – and with Kara Vernon, also a PTAC Specialist, who has guided me through utilizing the U.S. Department of Defense’s Wide Area Workflow (WAWF) system, a web-based application that allows DoD Vendors to submit and track their invoices, receipts and acceptance documents electronically.”

Once Patriot Government Partners opened in November, with the help of the Florida PTAC at UCF Green registered her company as a woman-owned and veteran-owned business within the U.S. Government Services Administration’s (GSA) System for Award Management (SAM). She began watching the daily feed of opportunities from the Bid Match system. And she found one!  But time was short.

The Florida Air National Guard had put a contract for bid to project manage a Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program event where airmen and their families are provided information and services prior to a deployment. It was scheduled for late January. Unfazed by the short time line, Green pursued the contract with assistance from the Florida PTAC at UCF. In just a few short weeks that included two major holidays and a partial government shutdown, and despite being new to government contacting, Green overcame delays, doubts and uncertainty, and Patriot Government Partners won their first contract three months after launching. If that’s not resolve in the face of long odds, then nothing is.

“Excellence is what I found at the PTAC,” concluded Green. “Everyone who works there is more helpful than the next. Their only goal is to help me grow and build my business the right way. The Florida PTAC at UCF has been so beneficial to me and my company.”

For information about Patriot Government Partners, please visit www.patriotpartnersllc.com.

— FSBDC

About the Florida Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) at UCF

Government Contracting Services offered by the Florida Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) at the University of Central Florida provide high-value, confidential one-on-one consulting at no cost to help Florida businesses prepare, research, and bid on federal, state, and local government contracts. Since 1986, Florida PTAC client businesses statewide have won $8.3 billion in contract awards, helping to create and save 187,090 jobs. This PTAC is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the Defense Logistics Agency. For more information, please visit www.fptac.org.

About the FSBDC at UCF

With its main office in the National Entrepreneur Center located at the Fashion Square Mall in Orlando, the Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) is part of the UCF Office of Research & Commercialization and the Florida SBDC Network. The FSBDC at UCF provides business seminars and no-cost, one-on-one business consultation to emerging and established businesses. The FSBDC at UCF serves an eight-county area that includes Brevard, Flagler, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Sumter, and Volusia counties and maintains 10 service centers across Central Florida.

In 2016, the FSBDC at UCF served over 2,400 entrepreneurs in Central Florida through consulting and training, resulting in nearly 6,700 jobs created, retained or saved; $980 million in sales growth; $92.7 million in capital formation; $154.6 million in government contract awards; and 120 new businesses started.

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.

Since 2011, Florida SBDCs have provided 513,107 hours of professional business consulting to 74,669 client businesses, resulting in 252,955 jobs created, retained, or saved; $33.3 billion in sales growth; $2.6 billion in government contract awarded; $1.4 billion in capital investments acquired; and 4,159 new businesses started.

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

Small Business Institute® National Honors Won by UCF Students in Florida SBDC at UCF Program

Student Teams Assist Local Small Businesses with Award Winning Consulting

March 11, 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

Alan Bashy, Sabbithry Persad, and Scott Stambaugh won 1st place in the ‘Graduate Specialized’ category

Alan Bashy, Sabbithry Persad, and Scott Stambaugh won 1st place in the ‘Graduate Specialized’ category

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 two (2) student teams from the University of Central Florida’s College of Business Administration (UCF CBA) were winners in its annual Project of the Year (POY) competition, taking 1st place in the 2019 ‘Graduate Specialized’ category and Honorable Mention in the 2019  ‘Graduate Consulting Project’ category, respectively.

In competition with MBA teams from across the country, the UCF CBA team of students on the strength of their consulting project for a local company, CE Avionics of Sanford, FL. The company, a leader in avionics repair and installation, received the team’s assistance in the form of an in-depth marketing plan which provided full industry and competitive analyses and an implementation plan for penetrating a new market, including pricing and promotional strategies.

The team of Shardeh Berry, Kasimu Greenidge and Hannah Gehring were awarded an Honorable Mention in the ‘Graduate Consulting Project’ category for their consulting work for Winter Springs, FL-based Tuskawilla Lawn Maintenance.  The team’s report included an outlook of current industry conditions, in-depth financial analysis, and recommendations for improving the organization’s systems and processes. Both teams worked with faculty advisor Dr. Carl Blencke, an instructor for the UCF CBA’s Department of Management, as part of a management class.

“Congratulations to our students who won this prestigious recognition,” said Ron Piccolo, PhD. and Galloway Professor and Chair of the Department of Management. “Our course offering utilizing the SBI® program is an important educational partnership between UCF and the FSBDC which contributes to the quality of the student educational experience at the University of Central Florida.”

Tuskawilla Lawn Maintenance earning Honorable mention at 2019 SBI Conference

Tuskawilla Lawn Maintenance earning Honorable mention at 2019 SBI Conference

“We are so pleased by the success achieved by these impressive students,” commented Eunice Choi, Regional Director for the FSBDC at UCF. “This is yet another avenue for the FSBDC at UCF and UCF itself to support small businesses in Central Florida while also introducing UCF students to the world of business consulting. 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.”

The Florida SBDC at UCF (FSBDC) 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. The FSBDC is part of the UCF Office of Partnership and Innovation.

At the UCF College of Business Administration, 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 oversaw and implemented extensive research and analysis to determine industry best practices; met 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 were 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

With its main office in the National Entrepreneur Center located at the Fashion Square Mall in Orlando, the Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) is part of the UCF Office of Research & Commercialization and the Florida SBDC Network. The FSBDC at UCF provides business seminars and no-cost, one-on-one business consultation to emerging and established businesses. The FSBDC at UCF serves an eight-county area that includes Brevard, Flagler, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Sumter, and Volusia counties and maintains 10 service centers across Central Florida.

In 2016, the FSBDC at UCF served over 2,400 entrepreneurs in Central Florida through consulting and training, resulting in nearly 6,700 jobs created, retained or saved; $980 million in sales growth; $92.7 million in capital formation; $154.6 million in government contract awards; and 120 new businesses started.

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.

Since 2011, Florida SBDCs have provided 513,107 hours of professional business consulting to 74,669 client businesses, resulting in 252,955 jobs created, retained, or saved; $33.3 billion in sales growth; $2.6 billion in government contract awarded; $1.4 billion in capital investments acquired; and 4,159 new businesses started.

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 407.420.48

SBI Student team received 2019

50 | f 407.420.4862
sbdc@ucf.edu | www.sbdcorlando.com

FSBDC Consutlant Lisa Reineck with Toni B. Springer

Toni B. Springer CPA PA Accounting Firm Positioned for Expansion in 2019 With Assistance of FSBDC at UCF

DISC Behavioral Assessment Tool and FSBDC at UCF Assistance Important Contributors

February 18, 2019
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

                 Lisa Reineck, Consultant, FSBDC at UCF, 407.420.4425 or Lisa.Reineck@ucf.edu

Orlando, FL – People. It’s always about people. Finding good ones; then finding more. Helping them be as productive as possible. Creating a constructive company culture. Human resource management is one of the single largest challenges faced by owners of small-to-medium sized businesses. That’s what we see and hear at the Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) every day and why we offer the DISC behavior assessment tool, implemented by a DISC-trained consultant, to help our clients improve work productivity, teamwork and communication.

As important as employee effectiveness and satisfaction are for all businesses, nowhere is it more important than in a service business. Toni Springer, owner and principal at Toni B. Springer CPA PA, recognized that fact. Her firm offers tax, accounting, and business consulting services to companies and individuals. They like to say, “We can service your accounting needs so you can run your business, not let your business run you.”

The key word here is “service.” High quality, personalized service is crucial to her company and Springer relies on her employees to deliver that service. So finding the right people and creating a positive work environment are crucial to her success. “I had found the right person for a key role the firm,” recalls Springer. “A colleague suggested I needed to clone her. His experience with DISC had been very positive and he recommended I see what it could tell me about this person’s personality and behavior profile for the next time I was hiring or if I needed to replace her.”

Springer contacted FSBDC at UCF consultant and DISC expert Lisa Reineck to implement the DISC tool. Focused on four behavioral traits — Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Compliance – the tool draws a picture of an individual’s behaviors and preferences that can be used to enhance collaboration, cooperation and communications.

“Lisa did a great job and DISC had amazing consequences,” continued Springer. “I have very good people, who performed and collaborated better when they started recognizing each other’s styles and where the points of conflict existed. It brought peace back into the office. We all have better insights into each other’s behavioral traits which significantly increased the morale of everyone.”

“As a manager, DISC helped me see attributes in my employees I hadn’t recognized before which enabled me to place people where they best fit, would be most productive and most fulfilled,” Springer went on. “It may have even saved me from losing a valued employee. DISC revealed that one staff member was under immense stress from increased workloads. The results of the DISC report prompted me to make a quicker decision to hire additional staff. If I hadn’t engaged in DISC, I probably wouldn’t have made the decision to hire immediately and my ability to grow my business the way I wanted would have been hindered.”

“Increased productivity, improved efficiency, expanded employee effectiveness and the opportunity to make better decisions, that’s how DISC was very helpful for my firm,” concluded Springer. “We’re on the road to a terrific 2019 with the right people in the right roles, thanks to the help of the FSBDC.”

For information about Toni B. Springer CPA PA, please visit www.tbscpa.com.

— FSBDC —

About the FSBDC at UCF

With its main office in the National Entrepreneur Center located at the Fashion Square Mall in Orlando, the Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) is part of the UCF Office of Research & Commercialization and the Florida SBDC Network. The FSBDC at UCF provides business seminars and no-cost, one-on-one business consultation to emerging and established businesses. The FSBDC at UCF serves an eight-county area that includes Brevard, Flagler, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Sumter, and Volusia counties and maintains 10 service centers across Central Florida.

In 2016, the FSBDC at UCF served over 2,400 entrepreneurs in Central Florida through consulting and training, resulting in nearly 6,700 jobs created, retained or saved; $980 million in sales growth; $92.7 million in capital formation; $154.6 million in government contract awards; and 120 new businesses started.

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.

Since 2011, Florida SBDCs have provided 513,107 hours of professional business consulting to 74,669 client businesses, resulting in 252,955 jobs created, retained, or saved; $33.3 billion in sales growth; $2.6 billion in government contract awarded; $1.4 billion in capital investments acquired; and 4,159 new businesses started.

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

Bill Payne of Drive Group, LLC with Maggie Incandela of the FSBDC at DSC

Drive Group Makes 2018 a Banner Year

Florida SBDC at Daytona State College Helps Ormond Beach, FL Digital Marketing Agency Grow

January 31, 2019
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

               Margaret Incandela, Consultant, Florida SBDC at DSC, 386.506.3579 or  Margaret.Incandela@daytonestate.edu

Orlando, FL – Going it alone is sometimes the curse of owning and running a small business. You have the idea and the passion and the drive but there are only so many hours in the day, and a small business person wears so many hats. Fortunately, the Florida SBDC at UCF (FSBDC at UCF) and its sub-center, the Florida SBDC at Daytona State College (FSBDC at DSC), are there to help.

Bill Payne, owner and chief creative of Drive Group, found himself in just such a position early on in his company’s history. Drive Group is a branding and digital marketing agency in Ormond Beach, FL that gets results for its local and national clients by building websites that work as well as delivering top-of-the line SEO/SEM, messaging and branding.

Starting out, Payne was on his own and finding more than enough clients that wanted his assistance. “I won a terrific assignment,” recalls Payne “but it would have made it impossible for me to service my other clients. I realized I needed to hire someone if I wanted to grow my business. The FSBDC helped me find my first intern through Daytona State College. He worked out great, became an employee and is still with us. And that’s how it all started with the FSBDC.”

“Working with FSBDC has been fantastic,” says Payne today. “I can confidently say my business would not be where it is without them.” Taking advantage of their no-cost, expert business consulting, seminars and workshops, and now their market research services, Drive Group has thrived with the help of the FSBDC, led by consultant and FSBDC at DSC Assistant Director Maggie Incandela.

“From the beginning, they have helped me,“ Payne continued. “Back in 2013, they laid out a roadmap for how I could grow my business. How to hire. How to build processes and procedures that would allow us to scale. There has not been a question that I have had that there hasn’t been someone at the FSBDC with the knowledge and expertise I needed.”

In addition to benefiting from the consulting and other services of the FSBDC, Payne is a member of the FSBDC at DSC’s Growth XChange. Growth XChange is a facilitated, peer-to-peer coaching roundtable program where business owners engage in collaborative thinking and problem-solving, discussing vital business issues, opportunities and challenges with a goal of leading their companies to the second stage of growth.

“The Growth XChange has been hugely helpful. Everyone brings their expertise and experience, and we talk through our trials and tribulations,” comments Payne. “2018 has been a great year for us as a result of the FSBDC, including the Growth XChange group.”

“Since starting with the FSBDC, my company has grown and grown,” concluded Bill Payne. “We have more clients. And better clients. I now have 2 full time and 2 part-time team members. Revenues have grown by 400% over the period, and by 100% in just the last year. Working with the FSBDC has been transformational for my business. I cannot stress enough how much they have helped me.”

For information about Drive Group, please visit www.drivegroupllc.com.

— FSBDC —

About the FSBDC at UCF

With its main office in the National Entrepreneur Center located at the Fashion Square Mall in Orlando, the Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) is part of the UCF Office of Research & Commercialization and the Florida SBDC Network. The FSBDC at UCF provides business seminars and no-cost, one-on-one business consultation to emerging and established businesses. The FSBDC at UCF serves an eight-county area that includes Brevard, Flagler, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Sumter, and Volusia counties and maintains 10 service centers across Central Florida.

In 2016, the FSBDC at UCF served over 2,400 entrepreneurs in Central Florida through consulting and training, resulting in nearly 6,700 jobs created, retained or saved; $980 million in sales growth; $92.7 million in capital formation; $154.6 million in government contract awards; and 120 new businesses started.

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.

Since 2011, Florida SBDCs have provided 513,107 hours of professional business consulting to 74,669 client businesses, resulting in 252,955 jobs created, retained, or saved; $33.3 billion in sales growth; $2.6 billion in government contract awarded; $1.4 billion in capital investments acquired; and 4,159 new businesses started.

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

Kern Halls of Ingenious Culinary Concepts with FSBDC at UCF Consultant Jairo Batista

Ingenious Culinary Concepts: Bringing Kids to the Table

School and Government Food Service Consultant Growing Again With Assistance from the FSBDC at UCF

January 24, 2019
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

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

Orlando, FL – Hitting a bump in the road goes with the territory when you are a small business owner. The challenge for an entrepreneur is to know what to do when you hit that bump. When Kern Halls, founder and chief innovator of Ingenious Culinary Concepts, encountered a slowdown in the growth of his company, he decided his best bet was to seek assistance from the Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF).

Ingenious Culinary Concepts (ICC) core business is helping Kindergarten through grade 12 school food service programs be successful, both in terms of satisfying their student customers and minimizing, if not eliminating, expenses for their school system. Saving children from hunger translates to them doing better academically. And, because school lunch programs rely heavily on federal funding, if they are underutilized and don’t make the most of the available federal dollars, then the excess costs fall on the local school district.

Enter Kern Halls and Ingenious Culinary Concepts. Using extensive food service experience and expertise, the company brings a process-oriented approach to building a marketing strategy focused on atmosphere, operations, menu and food quality. The goal is single minded: to persuade students to eat in the cafeteria. It’s why their tag line is “We Bring your Customers to the Table.”

As with many small businesses however, ICC’s growth had plateaued. “We hit a little bump in revenues so I went to the FSBDC,” Halls recalls. “I’d heard they had great consultants and great knowledge that could help companies like mine get over hurdles like I was facing. And, Boy, was I right.”

Halls took advantage of the FSBDC’s no-cost, expert business consulting; seminars and workshops; and market research resources. Working with FSBDC consultant Jairo Batista, who provided a website analysis and social media recommendations, Halls redesigned his marketing strategy and increased its effectiveness. Thanks to Batista, he also consulted with Steve South, Procurement Specialist and manager of the Florida Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) at the University of Central Florida (PTAC at UCF), who assisted him with pursuing government business certifications as well as identifying government contracting opportunities.

“Jairo and the FSBDC really have a command of marketing, with a real depth of understanding,” says Halls. “He made sure we got everything we needed to achieve growth for our company. And Steve opened our eyes to what’s out there. He showed us the systems available to us for finding government contracts, and he guided us through the certification process. Both have helped us win big contracts.”

“Since starting with the FSBDC, our revenues have doubled over last year,” Halls continued. “We wanted to spread our wings and diversify our revenues, and we have. We’ve grown fast and now are so busy we are hiring. Going forward, we’re looking for the FSBDC help us with a strategy to manage that growth, while staying lean but still adding clients and revenues.”

Kern Halls hit a bump in the road but he knew what to do; he got help in the form of assistance from the Florida SBDC and Florida PTAC at the University of Central Florida.

For information about Ingenious Culinary Concepts, please visit www.ingeniouscc.com .

— FSBDC —

About the FSBDC at UCF

With its main office in the National Entrepreneur Center located at the Fashion Square Mall in Orlando, the Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) is part of the UCF Office of Research & Commercialization and the Florida SBDC Network. The FSBDC at UCF provides business seminars and no-cost, one-on-one business consultation to emerging and established businesses. The FSBDC at UCF serves an eight-county area that includes Brevard, Flagler, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Sumter, and Volusia counties and maintains 10 service centers across Central Florida.

In 2016, the FSBDC at UCF served over 2,400 entrepreneurs in Central Florida through consulting and training, resulting in nearly 6,700 jobs created, retained or saved; $980 million in sales growth; $92.7 million in capital formation; $154.6 million in government contract awards; and 120 new businesses started.

About the Florida Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) at UCF

Government Contracting Services offered by the Florida Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) at the University of Central Florida provide high-value, confidential one-on-one consulting at no cost to help Florida businesses prepare, research, and bid on federal, state, and local government contracts. Since 1986, Florida PTAC client businesses statewide have won $8.3 billion in contract awards, helping to create and save 187,090 jobs. This PTAC is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the Defense Logistics Agency. For more information, please visit www.fptac.org.

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.

Since 2011, Florida SBDCs have provided 513,107 hours of professional business consulting to 74,669 client businesses, resulting in 252,955 jobs created, retained, or saved; $33.3 billion in sales growth; $2.6 billion in government contract awarded; $1.4 billion in capital investments acquired; and 4,159 new businesses started.

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

Floating Bungalows with FSBDC at SSC Director Moses Ayiku

Floating Bungalows Named 2018 Seminole Success Story of the Year

Floating Tiny Home Manufacturer Growing Fast; FSBDC at SSC Providing Assistance

January 17, 2019
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

                 Moses Ayiku, Sub-Center Manager, FSBDC at SSC, 407.321.3495 or ayikum@seminolestate.edu

Orlando, FL – Great ideas for successful businesses can come from unexpected places. Cynthia and Warren Billings were surprised when their dream home project caught the attention of a huge audience. Then they had the good judgment to seek help with their new found opportunity from the Florida SBDC at Seminole State College (FSBDC at SSC), a sub-center of the FSBDC at the University of Central Florida.

The Billings are owners of Floating Bungalows LLC in Sanford, Florida, a manufacturer of luxurious, attractive and ground-breaking floating homes at the cutting edge of the Tiny House Movement. Their homes were recently featured on HGTV’s Tiny House Hunters television show.

Built on a thermal plastic hull, these approximately 500 sq. ft. fully-appointed floating homes are technologically advanced, handcrafted using only the finest components and materials, and held to exacting standards. The result? A luxury home on the water built for simplifying life with hardwood floors, granite counter tops, full size kitchens and bathrooms, not to mention the porch at the water’s edge. Some say it’s better than a boat and needs less maintenance.

“In 2016 we were building a floating bungalow for ourselves, with no thoughts of making it a business. It was going to be our personal home,” recalls Cynthia Billings. “We put a Facebook page up for our friends to follow our progress and suddenly we had 49,000 hits. We realized we needed to think this through differently. Enter Moses Ayiku and the FSBDC at Seminole State College.”

Ayiku, a consultant and the manager of the FSBDC at SSC, met with Billings and provided her with no-cost consulting, business training and market research support customized to the specific needs of Floating Bungalows. “I cannot say enough about how much the FSBDC has impacted our business,” Cynthia Billings says today. “Moses has always been there to help me think things through and provided consulting on all areas of the business. He’s provided facilitated strategy discussions, offered training around marketing and finance, and found me the FSBDC experts I needed for issues like media relations, digital marketing and target market analysis.”

It wasn’t a cookie cutter approach by the FSBDC,” Cynthia Billings continued. “It was a collaborative process in which I got what I needed to grow the company.”

And grow the company has. In 2017, after deciding to go into business for themselves, the Billings sought assistance from the FSBDC. They started slowly with one person working half time, built one bungalow outdoors and earned revenues of just over $200,000. As of 2018, they have grown to three full time employees, moved into a 6000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility, built two bungalows and more than doubled revenues to over $500,000. Looking ahead in 2019, the company is currently building its 4th Floating Bungalow with the 5th set to begin production February 2019, and positioned to build 6 – 8 bungalows annually. It’s that kind of success that has earned Floating Bungalows recognition as the FSBDC at SSC’s 2108 Seminole Success Story of the Year.

“The FSBDC has been an amazing support for us. Their assistance is what has made it possible to grow our business.” concluded Cynthia Billings. ”The fact that we are now taking pre-orders/deposits is an example of the enthusiasm surrounding Floating Bungalows and the floating lifestyle trend.”

For information about Floating Bungalows, please visit www.floatingbungalows.com .

— FSBDC —

About the FSBDC at UCF

With its main office in the National Entrepreneur Center located at the Fashion Square Mall in Orlando, the Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) is part of the UCF Office of Research & Commercialization and the Florida SBDC Network. The FSBDC at UCF provides business seminars and no-cost, one-on-one business consultation to emerging and established businesses. The FSBDC at UCF serves an eight-county area that includes Brevard, Flagler, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Sumter, and Volusia counties and maintains 10 service centers across Central Florida.

In 2016, the FSBDC at UCF served over 2,400 entrepreneurs in Central Florida through consulting and training, resulting in nearly 6,700 jobs created, retained or saved; $980 million in sales growth; $92.7 million in capital formation; $154.6 million in government contract awards; and 120 new businesses started.

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.

Since 2011, Florida SBDCs have provided 513,107 hours of professional business consulting to 74,669 client businesses, resulting in 252,955 jobs created, retained, or saved; $33.3 billion in sales growth; $2.6 billion in government contract awarded; $1.4 billion in capital investments acquired; and 4,159 new businesses started.

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