Maryland Electric

Taking the Business to the Next Level: Maryland Electric Connecting with Its ”Dream” Clients

Florida PTAC at UCF Assists Company Grow Government Contracting Business

August 27, 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

                 Kara Vernon, PTAC Specialist, Florida PTAC at UCF, 407.420.4890 or Kara.Vernon@ucf.edu

Orlando, FL – For small and medium sized businesses, there is nothing better than getting in front of one or more of their “dream” clients – the ones who can award a contract or buy a service that takes their business up to new heights of success. It was exactly that goal – the desire to take her business to the next level – that prompted Rita Dancey to come to the Florida Procurement Technical Assistance Center at the University of Central Florida (Florida PTAC at UCF) for assistance with government contracting.

Dancey is the CEO of Maryland Electric Company, Inc., a commercial and industrial electrical contractor serving a wide range of customers on a variety of projects including commercial and retail construction, industrial facilities, data centers, universities, hospitals, military bases, airports and more. Headquartered in Clarksville, Tennessee, the company is licensed to do business across the Southeast and is focused on growing in Florida.

“I came to PTAC to get us from where we are – our business has sort of plateaued – to the next level,” recalls Dancey. “While we already do government contracting work, they have helped us fill in a lot of the gaps we had related to topics we hadn’t been exposed to. And they helped me brush up on some of the things we are already doing. With help from our PTAC Specialist Kara Vernon, we learned how to facilitate our proposals a little bit better, how to make sure we dotted all our i’s and crossed our t’s and really delivered a professional product.”

Dancey also took advantage of PTAC’s Government Contracting Reverse Trade Show, an annual networking event with a twist. The PTAC at UCF turns the tables and gives small businesses the opportunity to market their services and products directly to government agencies and prime contractors! At a reverse trade show, suppliers come to meet with buyers as opposed to the other way around.

“The Reverse Trade Show is probably the best event that I’ve attended yet with PTAC,” says Dancey. “Out of 28 different agencies and primes, I was able to interview with 11 of them, delivering my elevator speech and Capabilities Statement. I targeted the clients and it was a true success. Of the 11 companies or agencies I saw, 7 have contacted us to talk about doing business together.”

“The people you get to network with at PTAC’s Reverse Trade Show are amazing,” continued Dancey. If ever there was a room of people you wanted to walk into to do business, theirs was the one. I was exposed to some of my dream clients – NASA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin — thanks to PTAC at UCF.”

“‘Endless opportunity’ is what PTAC has provided Maryland Electrical Company,” concluded Dancey. “They will assist you with all the resources that you could possibly use to enhance your business and make it more successful. Since starting with them, we have seen a plethora of new quote requests come in. I’d encourage anyone to work with PTAC. The depth of resources is wonderful.”

For information about Maryland Electric Company, please visit http://www.maryland-electric.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 $9 billion in contract awards, helping to create and save almost 200,350 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

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 10 service centers across Central Florida.

In 2018, the FSBDC at UCF served over 2,500 entrepreneurs in Central Florida with consulting services, resulting in more than 6,500 jobs created, retained or saved; $749 million in sales growth; $36.1 million in capital formation; $178.3 million in government contract awards; and 277 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 2018, Florida SBDCs have provided professional business consulting to 11,500 client businesses, resulting in more than 38,400 jobs impacted; $4.4 billion in sales generated; $520 million in government contracts acquired; $201.8 million in capital accessed; and 665 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

Alenka - Your Learning Kids Academy

Seeing the Light: Alenka Your Learning Kids Academy Finds Success and Growth

Orlando’s First Russian-speaking Daycare Center Thrives with Assistance from Florida SBDC at UCF

August 5, 2019
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

                 Elly Membreno, Consultant, FSBDC at UCF, 407.847.4311 or Elly.Membreno@ucf.edu

Orlando, FL – “Mayak” is a Russian word which translates to “House of Light” in English. It is the one word that Alenka Zviarovich and husband Roman Katrychenko say they would use to describe the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (Florida SBDC at UCF) and the assistance it provided them with starting and growing their business.

Zviarovich and Katrychenko are the founders and owners of Alenka Your Learning Kids Academy. It is the first Russian-speaking daycare center in Orlando. The Academy uses the Russian language exclusively at the school and offers a setting where infants and children up to age 5 are exposed to the Russian food, curriculum and culture their parents grew up with.

“When we had our first child,” recalls Roman Katrychenko, “we searched for a daycare built around our language and traditions. When we couldn’t find one, we started our own, home-based daycare center. Word got around among the Russian émigré community in Central Florida that there was a Russian-speaking daycare center. We started getting calls right away but didn’t have the space and were turning people away.”

It was then that Zviarovich and Katrychenko turned to the Florida SBDC at UCF and its consultant Elly Membreno. They started attending classes to learn how to start a business. They took advantage of the FSBDC’s no-cost consulting from Membreno who guided them through preparing a business plan, doing their financial planning and budgeting and who answered their many questions.

“My English is not so good,” says Alenka Zviarovich. “I have trouble understanding sometimes. But I could understand everything my consultant Elly said to me. She explained everything, word for word. I would come home with lists after every meeting. Roman and I would then do every step that Elly told us. We filed every form, passed every test, passed every inspection. And we opened our doors, thanks to Elly.”

Since starting their work with the Florida SBDC, Zviarovich and Katrychenko have had a lot of successes. They have moved to a new location and into their own building; they completely renovated that building to house their daycare center; they have grown from caring for three children to more than 20 today, and are expecting as many as 35 in the fall; they have increased in size to 5 employees; and financially they have reached break-even and see profitability on the horizon. All in the 6 short months since Alenka Your Leaning Kids Academy opened in January 2019.

“Working with the FSBDC opened our eyes wide,” says Roman Katrychenko “It’s a very big difference from where I was born. You help regular people at no-cost open their business.”

“When I found Elly and the FSBDC, I was so excited,” continued Alenka Zviarovich, “because I learned so much and saw so much opportunity. Elly is like sunshine. She showed me the light and the way to go. The FSBDC is a “Mayak” for us. It shone light on our path, told us what we needed to do and how best to do it. Thank you, Elly and the FSBDC.”

For information about Alenka Your Leaning Kids Academy, please visit https://alenkakidsacademy.com/home/.

— 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 10 service centers across Central Florida.

In 2018, the FSBDC at UCF served over 2,500 entrepreneurs in Central Florida with consulting services, resulting in more than 6,500 jobs created, retained or saved; $749 million in sales growth; $36.1 million in capital formation; $178.3 million in government contract awards; and 277 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 2018, Florida SBDCs have provided professional business consulting to 11,500 client businesses, resulting in more than 38,400 jobs impacted; $4.4 billion in sales generated; $520 million in government contracts acquired; $201.8 million in capital accessed; and 665 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

Family First Firm

Change Is Good: Family First Firm Transformed for Growth

FSBDC at UCF’s Advisory Board Council Assists Elder Law Firm Founder Reinvent His Business

July 17, 2019
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:

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

Jill Kaufman, Assistant Director/ABC Program Mgr., FSBDC at UCF, 407.420.4850 or Jill.Kaufman@ucf.edu

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

Orlando, FL – “Transformative.” When an entrepreneur uses that word to describe the assistance he has received from your organization, and then goes on to say participation in one of your programs was “truly a life and business changing experience,” you take note. Especially when that entrepreneur is a practicing lawyer leading a highly successful law firm.

Geoff Hoatson, attorney, founder and owner of the Family First Firm, a leading elder law firm, used exactly those words to describe the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (Florida SBDC at UCF) and its award-winning Advisory Board Council (ABC) program.

The Family First Firm is unique in many ways. First, it prides itself in being “Your Elder Law Expert,” specializing in all aspects of legal services for seniors including guardianship, probate, estate planning, Medicaid and more. It also charges flat fees for its work. None of that hourly billing that is the legal community’s industry standard. “I don’t like giving anyone a blank check,” says Hoatson. “Why would I ask that of our clients? We’re here to help them.”

Hoatson came to the FSBDC after working with a business coach specializing in law firms. “I felt like I’d outgrown what they could do for me,” he recalls. “The issues I was running into were more corporate and not typical of a small law firm. I had always wanted to focus on the firm as a business, but I just didn’t have the tools necessary to do it. So, I applied to the FSBDC’s Advisory Board Council program by contacting its program manager Jill Kaufman.”

An Advisory Board Council is a customized, no-cost board of experts providing advice and counsel to help businesses grow.  The FSBDC acts as a matchmaker between established local businesses like the Family First Firm and area professionals who volunteer their expertise as members of an advisory board, with the volunteers selected to address the specific needs of the FSBDC client.

“My Advisory Board really helped me identify what I needed to be doing in order to take the next step in my business,” says Hoatson. “It was made up of experts from my industry, with experience in operations, marketing and communications, and finance. With their guidance, and help from my FSBDC consultant Pauline Davis, for the first time in the 10 years I’ve been in business, I’ve been able to look ahead and strategize about our growth and know how we want to get where we want to go.”

“My Advisory Board Council really changed the way I looked at my business. It allowed me to transform what we’ve been doing into what we’re becoming,” Hoatson continued. “And our business results tell the tale. Over the 18 months we worked with our ABC board, our revenues increased almost 190%; we more than doubled in size in terms of employees; and we have expanded beyond our original location to a second building and are now looking at a third.”

“I can’t think of a reason not to participate in the Advisory Board Council program,’ Hoatson concluded. “It’s all upside, no downside.”

For information about FAMILY FIRST FIRM, please visit www.familyfirstfirm.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 10 service centers across Central Florida.

In 2018, the FSBDC at UCF served over 2,500 entrepreneurs in Central Florida with consulting services, resulting in more than 6,500 jobs created, retained or saved; $749 million in sales growth; $36.1 million in capital formation; $178.3 million in government contract awards; and 277 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 2018, Florida SBDCs have provided professional business consulting to 11,500 client businesses, resulting in more than 38,400 jobs impacted; $4.4 billion in sales generated; $520 million in government contracts acquired; $201.8 million in capital accessed; and 665 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

 

Jasmarie Rosa and Brenda Rosa

¡Los Sueños Se Hacen Realidad! / Dreams Do Come True With Assistance from FSBDC at Daytona State College

July 15, 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, 407-420-4850 or Jairo.Batista@ucf.edu (Contacto En Español)
Margaret Incandela, FSBDC at DSC, 386.506.3578 or Margaret.Incandela@daytonastate.edu

¡Los Sueños Se Hacen Realidad!

El programa FSBDC en Daytona State College ayuda a las hermanas Jasmari y Brenda a realizar su sueño con la compra de El Coquí Bakery, ubicado en Deltona, que ofrece panes puertorriqueños auténticos, productos horneados y sándwiches

Orlando, FL – Comprar una pequeña empresa siempre es un desafío. Llegar a un acuerdo con un precio justo con el vendedor, negociar los términos, acceder al financiamiento y luego abrir sus puertas con el signo “Bajo Nueva Administración” son solo algunos de los obstáculos que superar. Y, cuando uno se está trasladando de Puerto Rico, fluyente en el idioma español, pero no en el inglés, el nivel de dificultad se magnifica.

Las hermanas Jasmarie Rosa y Brenda Rosa, ambas recién emigradas a Florida después de la destrucción y la devastación en Puerto Rico, causada por el huracán Maria, categoría 5, no se dejaron intimidar por la elevada complicación que tenían frente de ellas, de adquirir un negocio. Panaderos expertos con historial familiar de exitosas panaderías en Puerto Rico, tanto en los Estados Unidos como en la Isla, vieron una oportunidad cuando encontraron una panadería y una tienda de sándwiches que estaba en venta en Deltona, Florida. Con determinación y pasión, las hermanas aprovecharon la oportunidad.

Su primer paso fue localizar alguna asistencia, que encontraron en el Florida SBDC en Daytona State College (FSBDC en DSC), un sub-centro del FSBDC en la Universidad de Florida Central (FSBDC en UCF), gracias a un referido por la Cámara de Comercio de Volusia. El programa FSBDC respondió rápidamente a su solicitud de consulta,  reuniéndose  Jim Deering,  Director del Sub-Centro con Rosa y Hernández, al día siguiente. Rápidamente evaluó sus necesidades y las conectó con  la consultora de FSBDC en DSC Margaret “Maggie” Incandela y la asistente de programa Tracy Martin.

“A pesar de la barrera del idioma y de que no entendemos muy bien el inglés”, recuerda Jasmarie Rosa, “Maggie y Tracy nos ayudaron a ir paso a paso y nos hicieron parte del proceso. Utilizamos la consultoría, talleres e investigación de mercado sin costo por parte del programa FSBDC. Nos ayudaron con todo: nuestro plan de negocios, previsiones financieras, licencias, permisos y más”.

Quizás el servicio de mayor valor para las hermanas fue la asistencia que el programa FSBDC brindó para obtener un préstamo bancario. El programa FSBDC presentó a Rosa y Hernández a prestamistas prospectos; les mostró cómo crear su paquete para préstamo; las guió a trabajar con su banco, incluso reuniéndose con analistas de préstamos para explicar la valoración de negocios requerida por el banco.

La asistencia del programa FSBDC hizo una diferencia. Las hermanas comenzaron el proceso de compra del negocio en Enero de 2019, cerraron exitosamente su préstamo en Abril, y abrieron El Coquí Bakery una semana antes de la Pascua, con una línea de clientes esperando en la puerta y a lo largo de la calle. Sus fantásticos y auténticos panes y productos puertorriqueños, incluyendo Pan de Agua, Pan Sobado, Pan Mallorca y fabulosos sándwiches, han ayudado a que El Coquí Bakery tenga un “muy buen comienzo”, según Brenda Hernández. Con planes para ampliar sus días de operación y agregar productos al menú, como el famoso sándwich puertorriqueño “Tripleta”, su futuro es brillante.

“El programa FSBDC hizo todo esto posible para nosotros”, concluyó Rosa. “Trabajamos duro. Trabajaron duro. Frente a todo el estrés, ellos fueron un apoyo y se aseguraron de que todo lo hiciéramos bien”. Al final, el programa FSBDC nos ayudó a tener éxito e hizo realidad nuestro sueño de abrir un negocio”.

####

Dreams Do Come True!

FSBDC at Daytona State College Helps Sisters Realize their Dream With Purchase of Deltona, FL-based EL Coqui Bakery Featuring Authentic Puerto Rican Breads, Baked Goods and Sandwiches

Orlando, FL –  Buying a small business is always a challenge. Agreeing on a fair price with the seller, negotiating terms, accessing financing and then opening your doors with an “Under New Management” sign are just a few of the obstacles that must be overcome. And, when you are also relocating from Puerto Rico, fluent in Spanish but not English, the level of difficulty is magnified.

Sisters Jasmarie Rosa and Brenda Rosa, both recent emigres to Florida following the destruction and devastation to Puerto Rico caused by Category 5 Hurricane Maria, were undeterred by the steep climb to business ownership in front of them. Expert bakers with a family history of owning successful Puerto Rican bakeries in both the US and on the Island, they saw an opportunity when they found a bakery and sandwich shop for sale in Deltona, FL. With determination and passion, the sisters jumped at the chance.

Their first step was to locate some assistance, which they found at the Florida Small Business Development Center at Daytona State College (FSBDC at DSC), a sub-center of the FSBDC at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF), thanks to a referral by the Volusia Chamber of Commerce. The FSBDC was quick to respond to their request for consulting, with Sub-Center Director Jim Deering meeting with Rosa and Hernandez the next day. He quickly assessed their needs and connected them with FSBDC at DSC consultant Margaret “Maggie” Incandela and Program Assistant Tracy Martin.

“Despite the language barrier and our not understanding English very well,” recalls Jasmarie Rosa, “Maggie and Tracy helped us go step-by-step and made us a part of the process. We used the FSBDC’s no-cost consulting, training and market research. They helped us with everything: our business plan, financial forecasts, licenses and permits and more.”

Perhaps the service of greatest value to the sisters was the assistance that the FSBDC provided in obtaining a bank loan. The FSBDC introduced the Rosa sisters to prospective lenders; showed them how to put together their loan package; guided them in working with their bank, even meeting with loan underwriters to explain the business valuation required by the bank.

The FSBDC’s assistance made a difference. The sisters started the process of buying the business in January 2019, successfully closed their loan in April and opened El Coqui Bakery the week before Easter, with a line of customers out the door and down the street. Their fantastic and authentic Puerto Rican breads and baked goods, including Pan de Agua, Pan Sobao, Pan de Queso, and fabulous sandwiches have helped El Coqui Bakery get off to a “very good start,” according to Brenda Rosa. With plans to expand their days of operation and add menu items, like the famous Puerto Rican “Tripleta” sandwich, their future is bright.

“The FSBDC made all of this possible for us,” concluded Rosa. “We worked hard. They worked hard. In the face of all the stress, they were reassuring and made sure we got it right. In the end, the FSBDC helped us be successful and made our dream of opening a business come true.”

— 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

Kelani Kleaning

Kalani Kleaning Finds its Miracle

Clermont-based Cleaning Service Turns its Business Around with Assistance from the FSBDC at UCF – Lake County

June 20, 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

                 John Doramus, Consultant, FSBDC at UCF – Lake County, 352.602.4575 or John.Doremus@ucf.edu

Orlando, FL – When you own and run a small business, you are a “CEO” as in “Chief Everything Officer.” After all, you are responsible for all of the functional areas of the business including sales, marketing, finance and accounting, customer service, human resources, research and development, production, and distribution. And you need to be competent in at least the majority of them to be successful. Often that last part is a tall order however. It’s why many small business owners turn to the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) for assistance.

Danylle Almas and Rosie Heim are the owners and operators of Kalani Kleaning Services, a residential and commercial cleaning company in Lake County, Florida. They deliver a superior service because, as Heim says “we care for our clients’ homes the way we care for our own.” As a result, they’ve been running their business for seven years and have built a satisfied and loyal customer base. But, as good as they are at making their customers happy, they were not very good at managing their finances.

“We’re really good at cleaning, customer service and all the front end work,” says Almas. “But we’re not numbers people. We call ourselves ‘Not-business women.’ We’d gotten to the point where we were desperate. We were in a financial mess. When we suddenly found ourselves over-drafting our checking account, that was our sign. We needed help.”

Almas and Heim tried everything they could think of to straighten out the business. They read books. They hired a private, for-fee business consultant. They went online for webinars and blogs. It all helped a little, but not enough; Kalani Kleaning’s financial picture was still deteriorating.

It was then that they turned to the FSBDC at UCF – Lake County and its consultant John Doramus for no-cost, expert business consulting and seminars. “We basically cried when we found out what the FSBDC could do for us and that it was free,” Heim remembers. “We had an experienced and knowledgeable consultant who could really see our business for what it was and lead us, and all at no cost to us.”

“We don’t feel like we can take credit for where our company is now,” continued Almas. “John and the FSBDC came in and gave us a road map at a time when we were ready to call it quits.  He showed us light at the end of the tunnel. We didn’t know what step to take next, but he did. He built us a growth plan and we’ve stuck to it by meeting with him, monitoring our progress and managing our goals.”

“Since we started working with the FSBDC, we’re not bouncing checks anymore,” Danylle Almas says with a laugh. “Far from it. We’ve increased our client base by 30%, our revenues are up 80% and we’re preparing to hire our first employee. We’ve purchased a business model and rebranded, both of which will help us expand and scale the business. The FSBDC’s help has been like a miracle for us,” concluded Almas.

For information about Kalani Kleaning Services, please visit www.kalanikleaning.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

Twisted Minds Escape Rooms in Palm Coast Florida

Twisted Minds Escape Rooms Solves the Puzzle; Opens in Palm Coast

FSBDC at UCF – Palm Coast and Palm Coast BAC Help Entertainment and Training Company Successfully Navigate City Approvals

May 30, 2019
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

                 Ray Peter, Area Manager, FSBDC at UCF – Palm Coast, 386.986.4786 or Ray.Peter@ucf.edu

Orlando, FL – Building a business, particularly one that offers a unique, new, unfamiliar product or service, is the definition of a challenge, if not impossible. For a business concept that is completely novel with no precedents in place, the government regulations, permits, licenses and approvals alone can be too high a hurdle for many.

Ray Peter of the FSBDC at UCF - Palm Coast with Twisted Minds

Ray Peter of the FSBDC at UCF – Palm Coast with Twisted Minds’ Steve and Jessica Sherman

Fortunately for Palm Coast and Flagler County, Jessica and Steve Sherman are pioneers who saw an opportunity in bringing a new form of entertainment to the area, something beyond the existing movie theatre and bowling alley, that had a family development and team building element to it. But, after doing their initial market research, they realized they couldn’t do it without some help. And so they turned to the Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) office in Palm Coast and its area manager and consultant, Ray Peter.

With the help of the FSBDC, the Sherman’s set about to launch Twisted Minds Escape Rooms, an indoor entertainment facility featuring mental and physical adventure-based “escape games” in which players solve a series of puzzles and riddles using clues, hints, and strategy to unveil the secret plot which is hidden within the rooms. It’s a fun and exciting way to bring people together, a place “Where Friends become Family, and Family Become Friends” as the Twisted Minds Escape Rooms tag line goes.

The City of Palm Coast had never seen anything like it, and there was no playbook for what regulations, permits, licenses, etc. might apply. But the City does have the Palm Coast Business Assistance Center (BAC), a partner in the FSBDC at UCF and a new program called Business Navigation Services. Designed to guide new and existing businesses through the process of securing development project approvals, such as federal, state and local permitting and licensing requirements. As implemented by the FSBDC, the navigation services were exactly what the Sherman’s and Twisted Minds Escape Rooms needed.

“When we started, it seemed like it wasn’t going to work,” recalls Steve Sherman. “Then we met with Ray Peter at the FSBDC. Ray was able to coordinate with the decision makers anytime we had an issue. He was able to get the right meetings set up with the right City departments. And we worked with those folks to get the thumbs up we needed.”

“Working with the FSBDC was great. Having them there as the focal point to guide us made it so much easier,” says Jessica Sherman. “They were able to give us direction, guidance, take us through the process step-by-step. It made a huge difference for us to have someone in town who had our backs. We would absolutely recommend working with the FSBDC. It was probably the best resource we had and the best decision we made.”

“Today Twisted Minds Escape Rooms is open for business. We have two games available, one opening soon and six more planned,” concluded Steve Sherman. “It’s been fantastic since Day One. We’ve been able to double our revenues month after month, and we’re getting 5 Star ratings across the board.”

For information about Twisted Minds Escape Rooms, please visit www.TwistedMinds.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

Will Wellons of Wellons Communications

Wellons Communications: Helping More Companies Tell Their Stories

Digital Marketing and Public Relations Firm Growing with Assistance from FSBDC at UCF

May 7, 2019
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

Orlando, FL –  Will Wellons didn’t start out as a small business owner. He’d distinguished himself as a newspaper journalist, then as an advertising and public relations executive for a prominent Orlando agency. Somewhere along the line, however, he got the entrepreneurial bug and decided to launch his own communications firm; Wellons Communications.

Wellons Communications is a 13-year-old marketing and social media firm, specializing in public relations. “We’re here to help you tell your story,” Will Wellons states proudly. “Our vision is that every business, no matter the size, needs great communications. We are committed to making that happen, and have done it for startups all the way to international corporations. That mix allows us to do some very, very unique things for our clients, including keeping our rates reasonable.”

As much success as Wellons Communications has had, it wasn’t always easy. It’s a big jump from agency executive to business owner. “There’s an old saying: You don’t know what you don’t know,” recalls Wellons. “While I know my stuff on the PR and marketing fronts, and had a strong management background, nothing prepares you for running your own business, putting your own money in the game, and making the final decisions.”

“So I listened when another small business owner raved about the Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF), how good their services are and the wide variety of assistance available to someone like me who was looking to build my business, and take it to the next level.”

Wellons took advantage of a variety of the services offered by the FSBDC, including its expert, no-cost business consulting; seminars and workshops; and special programs for second stage companies. “Our business has thrived thanks to the FSBDC,” says Wellons. “The consulting has been extremely important; its brought focus, and a new and different look at our business with ways to improve and do things better. The seminars and workshops are outstanding; they’re bite-size energy pills of information that refresh and then add to what we know. And their special programs like CEO XChange and the Advisory Board Council, whether in my role as a client or a volunteer advisor, give you the chance to benefit from the expertise and different perspectives of other small business owners and professionals.”

“Owning a business is difficult,” Wellons remarked. “And there are always ups and downs. Thanks to the consistency of the FSBDC and their help putting a foundation of processes and procedures in place, we’ve been able to weather the bad times and now are moving ahead with very strong growth, seeing a 25% increase in revenues in just the last 12 months.”

“If I had to use one word to describe the FSBDC, it would be ‘Outstanding’,” concluded Wellons. “The business impact from their assistance is probably immeasurable. They are always there for you and ready to help propel the growth of your business. Every small business owner should take advantage of what they have to offer.”

For information about Wellons Communications, please visit www.wellonscommunications.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

FSBDC at UCF Celebrates 2019 National Small Business Week

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

May 1, 2019
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

Orlando, FL – In recognition of the significant contribution to a healthy economy made by the entrepreneurs and small business owners of Central Florida and the nation, the Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) is celebrating the US Small Business Administration’s (SBA) National Small Business Week with a luncheon and awards ceremony recognizing local SBA award winners.

The FSBDC at UCF’s National Small Business Week celebration will occur on Tuesday, May 21st at the 2019 Small Business Awards Luncheon, an invitation-only event being held at the Citrus Club in downtown Orlando. The luncheon will feature remarks by representatives from the Florida SBDC and the U.S. Small Business Administration who will present the following awards to the local FSBDC at UCF and state and district SBA awards recipients in attendance:

Woman-Owned Small Business Person of the Year
State of Florida and South Florida District Winner
Wendy Romeu, Founder, Owner and CEO
Alluvionic – Melbourne
www.alluvionic.com

Minority-Owned Small Business Person of the Year
State of Florida and North Florida District Winner
Courtney Powell, Founder, President and CEO
AceApplications, LLC – Orlando
www.aceapplications.com

Florida SBDC at UCF Regional Volunteer of the Year
Wayne F. Leland, Managing Partner
Nperspective – Winter Park
www.nperspective.net

“It gives the FSBDC at UCF great pleasure to honor our valued clients Wendy Romeu of Alluvionic and Courtney Powell of AceApplications as U.S. Small Business Administration Award winners as part of its Small Business Week,” remarked Eunice Choi, Regional Director of the Florida SBDC at UCF. “And we are indeed pleased to recognize Wayne Leland of Nperspective for his long and dedicated volunteer work supporting the FSBDC at UCF’s clients in our Advisory Board Council program.”

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

Alluvionic is an innovative solutions provider that services clients with any project, in any industry through project management, process improvement and engineering product design. Doing the right thing for the right reason is Alluvionic’s guiding philosophy and the cornerstone of its competitive edge.

AceApplications delivers software applications and projects for businesses and agencies. Local clients include Orlando International Airport, Central Florida Expressway Authority, Central Florida Research Park and Orange County Public Schools. Founder Courtney Powell has leveraged AceApplications success in the Orlando community with sponsorships of school programs and technical support of school technology lab additions and improvements.

Nperspective is an accounting and financial services firm of seasoned CFOs whose philosophy is to provide guidance and a hands-on approach to ensure that strategic and financial goals are achieved. They offer flexible CFO services suited to a wide variety of business needs.

“Both Alluvionic and AceApplications have built themselves from start-ups into impressive businesses by meeting the needs of their customers, employing our neighbors and serving our community, thereby contributing materially to our local economy and the wellbeing of Central Florida,” says Choi.

“And Wayne Leland of Nperspective has distinguished himself by his significant contribution to the region’s award-winning Advisory Board Council (ABC) program. As a dedicated volunteer advisor since 2007, Leland has donated 108 hours of pro-bono consulting services to small business owners across the Central Florida region. Those hours of service represent a market value of $27,000. For that and more, we are deeply grateful,” concluded Choi.

“With more than 2.5 million small businesses in Florida, we are pleased to celebrate the hard work of a few of our state’s best and brightest,” said Michael W. Myhre, CEO of the Florida SBDC Network. “We couldn’t be more proud to have so many of our clients and advocates recognized for their contributions to their local economy.”

National Small Business Week is proclaimed by the President of the United States to recognize the critical contributions made by America’s small businesses and entrepreneurs to our economy. More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business, and they create about two out of every three new jobs in the U.S. each year.

As part of National Small Business Week, the U.S. Small Business Administration takes the opportunity to highlight the impact of outstanding entrepreneurs, small business owners, and others from all 50 states and U.S. territories. Every day, they’re working to grow small businesses, create 21st century jobs, drive innovation, and increase America’s global competitiveness. This year’s week-long celebration runs May 5th – 11th with events being held in multiple cities from coast-to-coast throughout the month of May that are designed to help small businesses start, grow and succeed.

— FSBDC —

About the FSBDC at UCF

Hosted by the University of Central Florida (UCF), and with its main office in the National Entrepreneur Center located at the Fashion Square Mall in Orlando, the Florida 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

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

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

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

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