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

Becca's Sweet Tooth

How Sweet It Is! Becca’s Sweet Tooth Opens in Bunnell

Bakery and Café Is a Dream Come True. Launches with Assistance from the FSBDC at UCF

January 6, 2022

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

                 Michael Oppenheim, Consultant, FSBDC at UCF, 610.662.5757 or michael.oppenheim@ucf.edu  

Orlando, FL – No matter how much confidence you have in your work, an extra pair of eyes is always a good thing. Rebecca Johnson, founder and owner of Becca’s Sweet Tooth in Bunnell, FL, is a firm believer that two heads are better than one, and that’s why she turned to the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) for assistance.

Becca’s Sweet Tooth is a bakery and café, offering cupcakes, cookies, pastries and biscotti, and featuring Caribou Coffee, a beloved and rare premium coffee brand. Their motto is “Making life a little sweeter, one cupcake at a time.” “Here at Becca’s Sweet Tooth, I make everything here in house, all made from scratch, and all made with love,” Johnson says proudly. “I feel like that really makes a big difference.”

“The reason I sought out help from the FSBDC was that, although I have a background in restaurant and retail management, I felt like I was missing a few things, maybe a few details” recalls Johnson. “I wanted to make sure I wasn’t missing any steps or forgetting to file any paperwork. It was great to have a second set of eyes looking over everything and reminding me of anything I might have forgotten.”

The services offered by the FSBDC to entrepreneurs and business owners include no-cost, expert consulting, business training and workshops, and access to extensive market research resources. In Johnson’s case, she turned to Michael Oppenheim, an FSBDC consultant located locally in Palm Coast, for assistance with turning her dream of owning and operating a retail bakery into a reality. Over the course of nine months in 2021, Oppenheim assisted with building code and permitting issues; build out, equipment and food expense planning; financial pro forma creation and forecasting; and marketing.

“It was really helpful to have consulting from Mike Oppenheim of the FSBDC,” states Johnson. “For instance, we used the pro forma process to make sure that all my numbers were in order, like was I going to be profitable, were my food costs and pricing in line. I didn’t want anything to be inaccurate and wanted to account for everything, all the expenses I needed to plan on. It was really helpful to have all of that.”

“Working with the SBDC was great because I had another person in my corner checking in and seeing how things were going,” Johnson continued. “Mike would reach out and say ‘What can I do? Where are we at?’ and that definitely kept things on target.”

“When I first started with the FSBDC, I just had a concept. I wasn’t sure it was even feasible,” Johnson concluded. “To go from a dream I have had for over a decade to putting together real numbers; to finding a store front and getting all the renovations and construction done; to sourcing my own supplies and equipment; to go from there to opening a business.”

“Now I’ve been open a month. Customers are actually coming in. I even have repeat customers. It’s just been a super experience.” And the FSBDC is proud to have assisted Becca in making her dream come true.

For information about Becca’s Sweet Tooth, please visit https://www.beccassweettooth.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

Skyline Attractions

Skyline Attractions: The Thrill is Back!

Amusement Ride Designer and Builder Thriving After COVID Shutdown with Assistance from the Florida SBDC at UCF

December 16, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

                 John Finnegan, Consultant, FSBDC Ay UCF, 407.579.2111 or John.Finnegan@ucf.edu

Orlando, FL – Entrepreneurs and small business owners do not have a lot of time and resources to waste – in good times or bad – but especially when times are challenging. When COVID-19 brought the theme park industry to its knees, Jeff Pike, President of Skyline Attractions, his partners, and the whole team wanted to determine the best available options to push forward and where to find critical resources to help the company get to the other side of the pandemic. They turned to the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) and its CARES Act-funded Business Recovery Team initiative for assistance.

“Skyline Attractions designs and builds fun things,” Pike is pleased to say. “We build roller coasters; we design and consult for amusement parks and their manufacturing representatives around the world. In fact, we’ve implemented or designed more than 25 major amusement attractions around the globe through Skyline and some of our partners. What makes us different is that we commit in our charter to bring something new to the amusement industry every year. And we actually achieve that goal, every year bringing a new attraction, something interesting, something fun; sometimes something huge, sometimes not, but always something remarkable and memorable.” Skyline’s promise to its clients is to take entertainment rides from imagination to innovation, and the company delivers on this pledge annually.

“We sought assistance from the FSBDC when we realized that, even with our strategy of producing something new every year, there would be times when we’d need to pivot or better use our talents when things weren’t running so well in the amusement industry,” recalls Pike. “When there’s a slowdown, especially like at the beginning of COVID, we needed to understand what our options were for marketing, for finance, for outreach. When we started working with the FSBDC, I was personally shocked at the breadth of knowledge there. We’d get on a call and there would be up to seven people all dedicated to just helping us with their unique knowledge. And we weren’t paying a cent for it.”

“This wasn’t a group of suits staring down their noses at you,” Pike continues. “It was a cooperative discussion that was really helping us figure things out. It was great.” Specific areas of FSBDC assistance included how to do business internationally; developing a marketing plan to reach industrial customers; and even producing a pitch for potential investors. “What was so refreshing was these were not ‘sit down and be lectured to’ type things. Our meetings were truly interactive and useful.”

“There was a period when, truth be told, it was a really difficult time for us both financially and as a small business owner because it affects you personally,” Pike went on. “But we got through that. We took the advice of the FSBDC on how to pivot, how to outreach and it brought us through. And today there’s good news! In the past month, we have booked another $3.5 million in contracts. We went from ‘not sure if we’re going to make payroll’ to bringing in the kind of business we know we’re capable of. The FSBDC helped us all along that way. It’s a free resource that was and is tremendously valuable to us. All I can say is it’s an extraordinary benefit,” Pike concludes.

For information about Skyline Attractions, please visit https://skylineattractions.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

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

Florida SBDC at UCF Successfully Helps Central Florida Companies Through Pandemic Get Back to Business and Get Back to Growth

FSBDC’s Business Recovery Team Initiative Delivers Impressive Economic Impact for Diverse Businesses

Orlando, FL – The Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) today announced impressive results coming out of its CARES Act-funded Business Recovery Team (BRT) Initiative.

The FSBDC revealed the following economic development achievements resulting from its BRT Initiative:

  • 47 Companies from a Broad Range of Industries Assisted
  • $ 22.6 Million of New Capital Accessed
  • $ 42.0 Million of New Government Contracts Acquired
  • Companies from Six (6) Central Florida Counties Served: Brevard, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Volusia
  • 47% of the Businesses Assisted were Minority Owned
  • 23% of the Business Assisted were Women Owned
  • 11% of the Business Assisted were Veteran Owned

The significant economic impact produced, and the wide diversity of historically underserved communities assisted, by the BRT Initiative demonstrates that the aggressive and effective actions taken by the Florida SBDC at UCF to address the damage from the COVID-19 pandemic achieved results. Thanks to funding from the Federal Government’s CARES Act, the FSBDC was able to help almost 50 Central Florida small businesses get back to business and get back to growth.

Client expressed considerable appreciation for the contribution to their businesses by the FSBDC’s Business Recovery Team initiative:

“Excellent Service!!! Best Business Consulting Team I have encountered in 25 years of business.” – William Wydra, Partner, Skyline Attractions, LLC

“Thank you again for all your help and support as we turn the corner to profitability with NEW SYSTEMS in place. We appreciate all the guidance and ideas to help our business grow.” – Mark Wagner, Founder, WISE Building EcoSystems from Pack-A-Drum

“We value and appreciate the professionalism of the leadership at FSBDC BRT and the professionals that committed to joining our ‘BRT Board’. They helped us focus our marketing efforts, showed us what we didn’t know and provided us with a number of positive and creative recommendations for sourcing personnel.” – Karyn Barker, Business Development, RUSH Facilities, LLC

Designed to help established Central Florida businesses navigate challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and guide them as they rebuild for long term success, the FSBDC at UCF invented and launched a new, focused, robust, and heavily resourced business assistance program in August of 2020 for small- to medium-sized businesses. This effort was built around providing Recovery, Resiliency, and Continuity support – all strengthened by additional staff and funding available as a result of the CARES Act.

The Business Recovery Team (BRT) program was specifically created by the FSBDC at UCF to help companies develop and implement customized business strategies designed to assist in recovery after the unexpected disruptions of COVID-19 and to build sustainability thereafter, including through realigning their business model and adapting to a new environment. This was a new and distinctive service offered by the FSBDC, available for a limited time dictated by CARES Act funding that has now ended.

Depending on the needs of the company, included in the process could be identification and articulation of company goals aligned with the COVID-19 ‘new normal’; enumeration of a recovery-focused business plan; and definition and deployment of critical business functions and resources. A BRT’s contributions ranged across financial, marketing, and operational areas of an organization and could comprise:

  • Post-COVID-19 Management Plans and Protocols
  • Financial Analysis, including streamlining and cost analysis
  • Digital Marketing Outlines and Services
  • Industry Market Research & Analysis
  • Business Resiliency Plans for the Future

For more information about the FSBDC at UCF, please visit www.sbdcorlando.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

MamaBareSugaring

How Sweet It Is! MamaBare Sugaring Studio Successfully Managing Business Growth.

FSBDC at Daytona State College Assists Local Small Business

December 13, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

               Tom Daly, Sub-Center Director, FSBDC at DSC, 386.506.3317 or Thomas.Daly@daytonastate.edu 

Orlando, FL – For a small business owner, managing explosive growth can be as big of a challenge as finding ways to survive in a pandemic. For Amanda Yarborough, founder and owner of MamaBare Sugaring Studio LLC, her business was enjoying an exceptionally positive reception from customers and was succeeding beyond her expectations. How to best manage that growth was her biggest problem, and that’s why she turned to the Florida Small Business Development Center at Daytona State College (FSBDC at DSC), a sub-center of the Florida SBDC at UCF (FSBDC at UCF), for assistance.

MamaBare Sugaring Studio, with locations in Lake Mary, Oviedo, Ormand Beach and Port Orange, offers an all-natural hair removal process called hand method ‘sugaring’, similar to waxing but better. MamaBare’s sugaring specialists apply a honey-colored sugar-paste gel to the skin and remove unwanted body and facial hair. They specialize in sugaring, and sugaring only, while creating a welcoming environment designed to remove not just hair, but also the insecurities and anxieties that often accompany it. “It’s all about helping our clients feel their best,” says Yarborough.

All-natural hair removal as practiced by MamaBare has become hugely popular, so much so that Yarborough quickly wanted assistance. “I reached out to the FSBDC because I was experiencing a period of growth that I needed help with,” she recalls. “I really needed someone to guide me and walk me through what the next steps for my business looked like.”

“The FSBDC definitely helped me focus on the big picture,” continues Yarborough. “It helped me by exploring the market and connect with people inside and outside my industry. The group I am part of – the Growth XChange – has been so helpful to my business. I get insights from other business owners, feedback on issues, ideas for business processes and financing. It’s really great to be able to be around others who are doing what I am doing, working through the same problems I am.” (Growth XChange is a facilitated peer-to-peer coaching program offered exclusively by the FSBDC at Daytona State to qualified small business owners.)

In addition to participating in the Growth XChange, Yarborough takes advantage of the FSBDC’s no-cost, expert business consulting and access to market research resources. “I especially love the one-on-one consulting that I get with FSBDC at DSC director Tom Daly,” Yarborough states. “He’s someone you can always go to. I went to cosmetology school. I didn’t get a lot of formal business training. I’ve had to figure it out on my own. Having people to go to, to ask questions of, get feedback from, to know what the next step should be, has been a gamechanger for us.”

“I have experienced tremendous growth within the company and really learned so much about how to run my business and how to grow my business since starting to work with the FSBDC,” Yarbrough explains. “Our company has grown by two more locations and doubled our staffing to almost 30. And that is all due to the consulting I have received from Tom at the FSBDC. If you are an entrepreneur or business owner and you haven’t reached out to the FSBDC, I suggest you do so immediately. I only wish I had known about them sooner.”

For information about MamaBare Sugaring Studio, please visit https://mamabaresugaring.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

Bug Brigade Logo

Nice Guys Finish First. Bug Brigade, Inc. Grows Thanks to Extreme Customer Service

Termite and Pest Control Company Succeeds with Assistance from Florida SBDC at Seminole State College

November 29, 2021

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 SSC, 407.321.3495 or williamsmm@seminolestate.edu 

Orlando, FL – Despite what the old saying might be, sometimes nice guys don’t finish last – they finish first. And very often they don’t finish alone. In the case of Scott Milliron and his wife Patty, founders and owners of Sanford, FL-based Bug Brigade, Inc., they are “nice guys” who have a “finished-first” success story to tell thanks to their loyal clients, valued employees, and assistance from the Florida Small Business Development Center at Seminole State College (FSBDC at SSC).

Bug Brigade, Inc. is a termite and pest control company offering protection services to residential customers primarily, as well as some commercial clients. They also offer wildlife services, including specialty installation exclusion work to seal vermin out. What sets Bug Brigade apart is its commitment to providing rewarding work to its employees and outstanding customer service to its clients.

“When I created the company, I wanted to give other people an opportunity for success,” recalls Scott Milliron. “It was about bringing like-minded people into a culture that thrived on customer service. And that’s what we did. We applied extreme customer service skills to just taking care of our customers. We all wanted to help people and that’s what we went out there and did.”

By being both customer-centric and employee-oriented – particularly in the field to help the latter be successful – Bug Brigade was able to grow its business. There was always an opportunity for additional growth however, and Milliron sought assistance from the FSBDC at SSC at SSC’s Center for Business Development because “it was a good fit for what I was looking for.” Working with FSBDC consultant and SSC Sub-Center Director Monica Williams and others, he took advantage of its no-cost, expert, one-on-one consulting; workshops and seminars; and access to market research, as well as affordable office space and other business resources.

“The expertise that was provided, and certainly the market data, was very helpful,” says Milliron. “It was information I didn’t have access to, especially getting details on financials. It brought focus to what I was doing and was a tremendous help to me.”

“After getting back on my feet following the Great Recession and thereafter, I came back to the SBDC in 2016,” Milliron remarked. “We were at a little less than $400,000 in revenues then and in five years have been able to grow the business to better than $1.1 million, trending close to $1.3 million this year. So, better than 30% growth a year and I can partially attribute that to the help I got from the FSBDC.”

“For anyone looking to work with the SBDC, it’s a great place to start,” Milliron continued. “I refer people there all the time. They are there to help you. They’re there to provide support. You can get as much out of it as you could possibly want. I highly recommend going to the FSBDC and taking advantage.”

Nice guy stories also often have happy endings. Thanks to their extraordinary business results and, built on the strength of their extreme customer service, Milliron successfully sold his company at a record valuation and is off to his next challenge.

For information about Bug Brigade, Inc, please visit www.bugbrigade.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

Tech Rage IT Logo

Tech Rage IT Climbs to the Next Level

Managed Service Provider that Makes Technology ‘Rage Free’

Achieving Growth Goals with Assistance from Florida SBDC at UCF

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

Jill McLaughlin, Program Manager, FSBDC at UCF, 407.420.4856 or Jill.McLaughlin@ucf.edu 

Orlando, FL – Taking a business to the ‘next level’ of revenues and success is the goal of all growth-minded small business owners. Finding the assistance and resources to help accomplish these aspirations is another matter entirely -that is, unless they are Erica Martinez-Rose and Matt Rose, founders and owners of Tech Rage IT, an information technology managed services provider (MSP). They had the good sense to turn to the UCF Business Incubator and the Florida Small Business Development Center at UCF (FSBDC at UCF) and their joint program: the UCF Incubator Board of Advisors.

Tech Rage IT isn’t your ordinary MSP. With relentless enthusiasm, they proactively shield their clients from IT problems and – with 24/7 unbeatable responsiveness – they quickly resolve any issues that may arise. Tech Rage IT’s differentiator is its emphasis on customer service and blocking the aggravation that so often comes with technology. “We prevent Tech Rage” is their slogan and making IT “Rage Free” is their credo. “We understand your IT frustration and how important it is that we get it fixed fast,” says Matt Rose, Tech Rage’s Director of Technology Services. “Ours is a customer service first focus. We make that central for our entire team.”

Being customer-centric made Tech Rage IT successful in serving small-to-medium business clients, but the firm wanted to further leverage its competitive advantage and accelerate its growth. “We reached out to the FSBDC because we felt like we were lacking in internal accountability, like we needed to be challenged,” recalls Erica Martinez-Rose, CEO of Tech Rage IT. “And since we started, it has dramatically changed how our leadership team interacts. Now we have that accountability partner that we needed.”

Led by Jill McLaughlin, an FSBDC consultant, and comprised of a team of other FSBDC consultants with expertise in diverse functional areas, the Board of Advisors provided Tech Rage IT with no-cost consulting related to the company’s business development, financial management, and general leadership development. Together, they developed and applied multiple important business strategies and tools, including a digital marketing plan, a sales plan, a financial dashboard with key performance indicators, and Tech Rage’s executive team undertook hands-on leadership training and financial mentoring.

“A lot of the services that have been made available to us have been invaluable,” Erica explains, “starting with the financial coaching and leadership training for the team.” An outcome of particular note is the book that Matt wrote and published after brainstorming with the FSBDC team entitled ‘Kiss Tech Rage Goodbye’. A guide for business owners, COOs and CFOs, it addresses the 8 common pitfalls one can fall into when making IT decisions and how to overcome them. It’s been very well received in the marketplace.

As was hoped, all of this hard work has manifested in impressive results. “Over the last 12 months, our business has seen dramatic growth and improvement from working with the FSBDC,” concludes Erica. “Despite a global pandemic, our company ended last year with 58% revenue growth. We also had the opportunity to grow our team. And we’ve been recognized as a top technology company and business of the year. 2021 has been really successful for us too. I am thankful for the opportunity to be part of the FSBDC’s Incubator Board of Advisors program and would recommend the FSBDC to any business owner needing accountability or a sounding board to take their business to the next level.”

For more information about Tech Rage IT, please visit https://www.techrageit.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.

Amanda Neil

Ultimate Health Direct Primary Care: A New Approach to Medical Care Management

Multi-Service Primary Care Clinic Launches in Leesburg with Assistance from Florida SBDC at UCF – Lake County

October 7, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

                 Jamie Mead, Area Manager/Consultant, FSBDC at UCF – Sumter County, 352.689.4449 or Jamie.Mead@ucf.edu

Orlando, FL – Successful entrepreneurs typically have a spirit, an energy, a kind of determination that drives them to meet and overcome the many challenges faced when starting a new business. For Amanda Neil, now the owner and operator of Ultimate Health Direct Primary Care, LLC, it was the conviction that she had a great idea for improving the delivery of healthcare in Lake County, Florida that inspired her to pursue a new venture. With assistance from the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF), Neil was able to turn her idea into reality.

At Ultimate Health Direct Primary Care, Neil and her team do healthcare a little differently. Direct Primary Care (DPC) is a new and innovative personalized approach to medical care management. This affordable, patient-centric model gives members access to unlimited primary care. The focus is to provide every patient with individualized attention to meet his or her specific healthcare needs; 24/7; days, nights, weekends; and in whatever manner they choose: phone, telehealth, email, in office. And it’s all covered by a single, monthly fee.

Ultimate Health DPC’s monthly direct pay, flat fee is likely to cover 80-90% of the issues for which patients need to seek medical care, including: routine and preventative care; sick visits, weight loss management, and chronic disease management. Gone are the high costs of standard health insurance with traditional pay-per-visit doctor’s appointment co-pays, and expensive and often unnecessary visits to urgent care centers or emergency rooms. This model works well for patients and their employers alike, resulting in lower expenses and fewer sick days.

“At Ultimate Health DPC, we put the patient back in the center of care,” Neil explains. “Personal attention is what we offer. Our billing model supports that focus; it’s set up as a monthly membership model that offers patients unlimited, 24-hour access to me as their primary care provider.”

“When the idea for Ultimate Health DPC came to me, I approached my credit union for advice,” recalls Neil. “And they referred me to the FSBDC. I am a health care professional, not a businesswoman. At least I wasn’t a businesswoman until I started working with the FSBDC. With their help, today I am.”

“I just know I had an idea. With my FSBDC consultant Jamie Mead, she took my idea and helped me write my business plan,” continued Neil. “Then together we went after an SBA loan. The FSBDC helped me with everything the bank needed. We checked every box. Jamie made sure we presented a strong loan application and helped me educate our banker and answer his questions about our new cash-based, membership health care model. My consultant ensured we had the data, and that our story was iron clad. And we got the loan!”

“If I had to use one word to describe the FSBDC, it would be ‘partner’” said Neil. “The SBDC and my consultant Jamie took on my dream and made it her dream. And now it’s come true. We got the loan and now Ultimate Health DPC is off to a great start. We have only been open for 30 days, and we are already halfway to our first-year patient goal,” Neil shared proudly. “I think they like us” she concluded with a smile.

For information about Ultimate Health Direct Primary Care, please visit https://leesburgprimarycare.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

Kissimmee Produce

Grocer Kissimmee Produce La Chiquita Beats Pandemic and Is Growing Again

Florida SBDC at UCF Assistance Helps Company Survive COVID-19 Interruption

September 28, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

                 Pauline Davis, Assistant Director/Consultant, FSBDC at UCF, 407.420.4850 or Pauline.Davis@ucf.edu 

Orlando, FL – Businesses across the country were put to the test when the COVID-19 pandemic struck, and Kissimmee Produce La Chiquita was no exception. Fortunately, company president and CEO Vitor Cortes had the good sense and determination to act quickly and seek help, which he found at the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) in the form of its Business Recovery Team service.

Kissimmee Produce La Chiquita is a neighborhood meat and produce store specializing in Latin foods located in the Greater Orlando hospitality corridor. The company prides itself in offering high quality products without the high prices and is always striving to make the customer experience as easy and pleasant as possible. “Every morning we wake up early and work hard so that you have a clean, tidy, organized store with fresh produce, quality brands, lower prices, wide variety and the best service to earn your loyalty” is what Vitor Cortes promises his customers.

Business was good until the pandemic put a halt to normal life. “Our business was hit by the downturn caused by COVID,” Cortes explains, “and especially hard because we are located in Orlando’s tourist corridor. Almost immediately, we started looking for help to keep our business open.”

Cortes found that assistance at the FSBDC where he benefitted from its no-cost consulting services, business training, market research support, and by participating in its Business Recovery Team (BRT) service. Designed by the FSBDC at UCF to help companies develop and implement customized business strategies to assist in their recovery after the disruptions of COVID-19 and to build sustainability thereafter, the BRT service was created to help clients realign their business models and adapt to a new environment.

In the case of Kissimmee Produce La Chiquita, a team of FSBDC consultants led by consultant Pauline Davis collaborated with Cortes to launch a customer advisory board, rebrand his business, enhance his website, expand his social media presence and redesign and renovate his store. On the finance side, the BRT conducted a financial analysis and created a plan to negotiate lower rent for his location. Most importantly, with the help of the FSBDC’s government contracting affiliate, the Florida PTAC at UCF, the company won a major contract with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“Once we established our connection with the FSBDC, the Business Recovery Team helped us a lot with their consulting, thinking about how to pivot our business and finding different ways to generate income, including government contracts,” Cortes states. “We had to think outside the box, and they helped us do that. We created a new venture inside our existing business and are now a federal government provider and that’s going to generate 25 new positions at our company and in our community.”

“The FSBDC – their consultants, their team – not only helped us to recover but they are now helping us maintain and grow our business,” concludes Cortes. “I am very grateful. They have different people from different cultures that bring different perspectives. They helped us see what we were not seeing.”

For information about Kissimmee Produce La Chiquita, please visit La Chiquita Kissimmee Produce | Los Mejores Precios (kissimmee-produce.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 2,800 entrepreneurs in Central Florida with consulting services, resulting in more than 10,000 jobs created, retained or saved; $1.2 billion in sales growth; $92.4 million in capital formation; $92.7 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 162,476 hours of professional business consulting to almost 23,900 client businesses, resulting in almost 38,000 jobs impacted; $4.4 billion in sales generated; $335 million in government contracts acquired; and $385.8 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

Dr. Mimi Hull

Dr. Mimi Hull of Hull & Associates Named Florida SBDC Network and FSBDC at UCF 2021 State and Regional Volunteer of the Year

September 21, 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 the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) and the state-wide Florida SBDC Network have named Dr. Mimi Hull, PhD, psychologist and the president Hull & Associates, as the 2021 State and Regional Volunteer of the Year. Dr. Mimi, as she is known, has distinguished herself by her long and committed service as a volunteer expert since 2005 in the FSBDC’s award-winning Advisory Board Council (ABC) program. She has donated over 140 hours of pro-bono consulting services to small business owners across the Central Florida region which represents a total market value of almost $40,000.

Sponsored by the Florida SBDC Network, the Regional Volunteer of the Year Award recognizes one volunteer from each region of the FSBDC Network that has provided significant, direct contributions with respect to advocacy, consulting, training, program development or special projects during calendar year 2020. From that group of nine regional winners, a single State Winner is selected.

“It gives the FSBDC at UCF and the Florida SBDC Network great pleasure to recognize Dr. Mimi Hull of Hull and Associates for her long and dedicated volunteer work supporting the FSBDC at UCF’s clients in our Advisory Board Council program” remarked Eunice Choi, Regional Director of the Florida SBDC at UCF. “It is experts like Dr. Mimi who make our ABC program transformative for small business owners and so valuable to them.”

The Advisory Board Council is a next-level, business support service assisting established Central Florida businesses by matching them with experienced professionals with a diverse range of skills who work together on a carefully selected, “custom-fit” advisory board. The program provides dynamic talent and expertise specially selected to address the needs of the client company to help it solve problems and create opportunities.  Notably, this service is provided  at no-cost to the client, giving small business owners access to expertise and guidance that is sometimes financially inaccessible to them. Each of the advisors are volunteers who are interested in building relationships and improving the economic community in Central Florida. The operation of the program is funded primarily by Orange County and supported by the generosity of our sponsors.

A steadfast ally of the FSBDC, Dr. Hull has remained highly involved with the Advisory Board Council program throughout her nearly sixteen years of service. When asked what led her to become a volunteer advisor, she remarked, “The easy answer is that I was asked! Having said that, I said, “yes” because I believe in volunteer service and small businesses. While I work professionally with organizations, serving on an advisory board to a business leader sounded new and challenging. I was also aware that often owners know a tremendous amount about their product or service that they offer, but as they grow, many owners realize that they are not prepared for the people issues that arise. I knew that I could help in that arena…and I wanted to.  In addition, I was told that I would be serving on a board with other professionals with different backgrounds. Working with other professionals with different skill sets was also intriguing and I wanted to be a part of that experience.”

As a licensed psychologist, consultant, trainer, and speaker running her own successful firm for over 30 years, Dr. Hull brings widely recognized and significant human relations, strategic planning, training, leadership development, performance management, and organizational development experience to her professional engagements. She has actively applied this expertise with each of the ABC clients she has served. These clients cover a wide spectrum of industries including a landscaping service contractor, a water treatment manufacturer, a civil landscape design/planning firm, and a caregiver referral service.

One of the ABC boards that Dr. Hull has served on includes a producer and wholesale supplier of artisan frozen desserts including gelato, sorbet, and ice cream – Muse Gelato. When asked to reflect on his time working with Dr. Hull, CEO and Co-Founder of Muse Gelato, Brandon Moss, stated, “We were extremely fortunate to have Dr. Mimi Hull serve on our advisory board through the FSBDC, as she was a tremendous resource to advise on HR, employee relations, training, management, and the complicated dynamics of running a family business. She got to the heart of the issues and offered numerous helpful insights aimed at helping us grow not only our business, but ourselves as business owners.”

“Dr. Mimi’s extensive and tireless dedication to giving back in numerous ways and the expertise that she lends to positively impact the Central Florida business community and drive economic growth make her a highly respected and very valuable resource to the ABC program and her peers alike,” concluded Jill Kaufman, Assistant Director and ABC Program Manager at the FSBDC at UCF.

For further information about Dr. Mimi Hull and Hull & Associates, please visit http://www.hullonline.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 2,800 entrepreneurs in Central Florida with consulting services, resulting in more than 10,000 jobs created, retained or saved; $1.2 billion in sales growth; $92.4 million in capital formation; $92.7 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 162,476 hours of professional business consulting to almost 23,900 client businesses, resulting in almost 38,000 jobs impacted; $4.4 billion in sales generated; $335 million in government contracts acquired; and $385.8 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