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

Shannon and Janice Talty of Olde Hearth Bread Company Named 2022 Entrepreneurs of the Year

Florida SBDC at UCF Announces 2022 Small Business Excellence Award Program Winners and First Runners-Up

November 16, 2022

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) today announced  its2022 Entrepreneurs of the Year and two First Runner-Ups in the culmination of the inaugural FSBDC at UCF Small Business Excellence Awards program which celebrate the success, growth, business acumen, and community involvement of FSBDC at UCF’s clients from across its 8-county region.

Named as the 2022 FSBDC at UCF Entrepreneurs of the Year were:

Shannon and Janice Talty Olde Hearth Bread Company

In a tie, two (2) companies were named First Runners-Up:

Tonya and Tony Oxford Global Technology Integrators, LLC
Yanet Herrero Kings Service Solutions, LLC

The FSBDC at UCF’s Small Business Excellence Award program recognizes local small business owners for their innovation, determination, and resilience as demonstrated in the growth of their businesses and in their contributions to their  communities with the designation as the FSBDC at UCF’s 2022 Entrepreneur of the Year. Nominations from across Central Florida were made by FSBDC at UCF consultants to acknowledge their clients’ significant growth; their resourcefulness in overcoming the challenges presented by small business ownership; and their involvement in their communities.

In total, 15 distinguished and remarkable small business owners were nominated for the award.  The 15 honorees were selected from a pool of more than 2700 entrepreneurs served by the FSBDC at UCF in 2021.

The 13 other honorees included:

Darrell Williams, Dexter Williams and     Donovan Williams 3D Tire Company, Inc.
Gary and Judy Lemay Bedtops, LLC dba Bedtops Mattress Clearance Center
Dean Caravelis Blezoo
Serge Sorese Florida’s Finest French Bakery Inc, dba Mon Delice French Bakery
Nate Thornton IQ Painters
Kelly and Scott Seidl Kelly’s Homemade Ice Cream
Balouch “Aleem” Muhammad and Tariq Iqbal Kissimmee Granite and Marble, Inc
Vitor de Oliveira Cortes Kissimmee Produce, Inc
Chris Baeten Knight Federal Solutions
Amanda Yarbrough MamaBare Sugaring Studio, LLC
Victoria Messina Messina & Associates, Inc
Pam Rothenberg Tuckaway Shores Resort

Small businesses are the engine that drives the Florida economy. According to the SBA, there are roughly 2.8 million small businesses in Florida. They make up 99.8% of all businesses in the state and employ 3.6 million workers, about 41.1% of the state’s private-sector workforce.

As the list illustrates, the nominees for the FSBDC at UCF Small Business Excellence Awards represent a broad cross section of Central Florida small businesses operating in multiple industries. Fully 60% of the nominees are women- and/or minority-owned businesses. Their qualitative and quantitative results are impressive, as well. For the group, average annual sales were about $3.6 million, with average sales growth of 36% compared to the Florida average of 6.8% for the same period. Their average employee count was 52 with a 42% growth rate.  All are valued clients of the FSBDC at UCF who have benefited in some way from its no-cost, expert consulting; business training; and/or market research resources.

The award winners were selected by the FSBDC at UCF’s Executive Board which is made up of local small business leaders and stakeholders committed to supporting the FSBDC’s mission to help small businesses launch, grow, and thrive through expertise, resources, and advocacy. The announcement of the award winners took place during an invitation-only Awards Luncheon today at the Citrus Club in Orlando, FL. This was the first time this award has been given and the FSBDC at UCF Small Business Excellence Award program will become an annual event moving forward. The awards ceremony was made possible through the generous support of the event’s sponsors: Orange County, Lake County, the Osceola Chamber of Commerce, and TriNet.

“We are pleased to recognize the award winners and the nominees for their accomplishments and success through our new Small Business Excellence Award program,” said Eunice Choi, FSBDC at UCF Regional Director. “Small businesses are the key drivers of our local economy, creating prosperity, generating jobs, and improving the quality of life in our communities. It is an honor to be able to celebrate them.”

About the Florida SBDC Network

For over forty years, the Florida SBDC Network, the state’s principal provider of business assistance [Fl. Stat. 288.001], has nourished a statewide partnership between higher education and economic development to provide existing and emerging small and medium-sized business owners with management and knowledge resources that enable overall growth, increased profitability, and economic prosperity for Florida’s economy.

In 2021, Florida SBDCs provided 157,841 hours of professional business consulting to more than 18,379 client businesses. Based on the results from the network’s latest economic impact analysis, the FSBDC’s services resulted in almost 38,000 jobs impacted; $7.4 billion in sales generated; $381.6 million in government contracts acquired; and $528.4 million in capital accessed.

A statewide network of over 40 offices, the Florida SBDC is funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration, U.S. Department of Defense, State of Florida and other private and public partners. The Florida SBDC Network, headquartered at the University of West Florida, is nationally accredited by the Association of SBDCs and is a 2016 recipient of the President’s E Award for Export Service. Florida SBDC services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Language assistance services are available for individuals with limited English proficiency. For more information, please visit www.FloridaSBDC.org.

FSBDC at UCF | 3201 E. Colonial Drive | Orlando, FL 32801 | p 407.420.4850 | f 407.420.4862
sbdc@ucf.edu | www.sbdcorlando.com

Blezoo marketing solutions

Blezoo: Marketing Company Marries A Little Bit More Strategy with a Lot More Magic

Company Leader Leverages FSBDC at UCF’s CEO XChange Executive Roundtable Program to Drive Growth

November 8, 2022

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

Orlando, FL – Exhilaration, accomplishment, and financial success are some of the rewards enjoyed by entrepreneurs and small business owners as they chart their course and navigate their companies from pre-venture to start-up and on to becoming an established, growing, and profitable second-stage company. The downside is that this process is often a solitary and lonely quest without the benefit of other perspectives and experiences to call upon. It’s true when they say ‘It’s lonely at the top,’ after all. Dean Caravelis, founder and CEO of Orlando marketing promotions innovator Blezoo, solved this problem when he discovered the community of business leaders and peers found at the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida’s (FSBDC at UCF) CEO XChange executive roundtable program.

Founded in 2008, Blezoo distinguishes itself through imagination, innovation, and the ability to deliver on its promises. The firm proudly states, “We exist to inspire meaningful connections through fun & creativity. We help busy professionals create remarkable promotions so they can save time & look good.” “We’re a marketing company that produces branded products that turn into experiences in the real world,” Caravelis says, ”so brands can connect with people and other brands authentically. Blezoo is really obsessed with process that delivers things as expected; with creativity so that we can create unexpected and delightful experiences; and with progress as we work to be a little bit better every day – all so we can surpass client expectations,” Caravelis explains.

When it comes to starting and running his business, Caravelis is honest. “Being a founder can be a very lonely experience,” he shares. “Sometimes it feels like you’re alone on an island. Working with the Florida SBDC, it takes you off that island and puts you in a community. I originally reached out to the FSBDC and the CEO XChange because I heard it was an opportunity for me to interact with other CEOs, perhaps shine a light on things I don’t know and really have a kinship with peers. The CEO XChange has surpassed all those expectations and that’s why I have been a member for so many years.”

CEO XChange is an executive roundtable program serving progressive chief executives and business owners in Central Florida. Facilitated by FSBDC consultant Hal Thayer, it is designed specifically for second-stage companies and offers a confidential setting for top executives to discuss vital business issues, opportunities, and trends with a group of peers. CEO XChange presents top executives with the opportunity to broaden their business perspectives and gain new knowledge by engaging in collaborative thinking and problem-solving – giving them the ability to lead their companies more effectively.

“In the last six years, we’ve averaged about 20 – 30% growth every year at Blezoo which has been great. The CEO XChange has really helped me in a lot of areas such as thinking in the future, preparing myself for the unexpected, and given me the confidence to take the business in a new direction,” Caravelis concludes. “It’s helped me propel my growth but also sustained my thirst to lean more. It’s an experience that helps you understand what it takes to get to the next level but also validates and challenges some of your ideas.” And, as a member of the CEO XChange, you don’t have to do it alone.

For information about Blezoo,  please visit https://blezoo.com/.

— FSBDC —

About the FSBDC at UCF

Hosted by the University of Central Florida (UCF), and with its main office in the National Entrepreneur Center located at the Fashion Square Mall in Orlando, the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) is part of part of UCF’s Office of the President and the Florida SBDC Network.

The Florida SBDC at UCF provides aspiring and existing small businesses with no-cost consulting, low-cost training, and access to business data and research resources. In addition to its core service offering, the Florida SBDC at UCF also offers specialized services to qualifying companies, including capital access, market growth, government contracting, international trade, business continuation, cybersecurity, disaster planning and recovery, and more. The FSBDC at UCF serves an eight-county area that includes Brevard, Flagler, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Sumter, and Volusia counties and maintains 9 service centers across Central Florida.

In 2021, the FSBDC at UCF served more than 2,700 entrepreneurs in Central Florida with consulting services, resulting in more than 8,200 jobs created, retained or saved; $1.5 billion in sales growth; $88.8 million in capital formation; $72.4 million in government contract awards; and 137 new businesses started. For more information, please visit www.sbdcorlando.com .

About the Florida SBDC Network

For over forty years, the Florida SBDC Network, the state’s principal provider of business assistance [Fl. Stat. 288.001], has nourished a statewide partnership between higher education and economic development to provide existing and emerging small and medium-sized business owners with management and knowledge resources that enable overall growth, increased profitability, and economic prosperity for Florida’s economy.

In 2021, Florida SBDCs provided 157,841 hours of professional business consulting to more than 18,379 client businesses. Based on the results from the network’s latest economic impact analysis, the FSBDC’s services resulted in almost 38,000 jobs impacted; $7.4 billion in sales generated; $381.6 million in government contracts acquired; and $528.4 million in capital accessed.

A statewide network of over 40 offices, the Florida SBDC is funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration, U.S. Department of Defense, State of Florida and other private and public partners. The Florida SBDC Network, headquartered at the University of West Florida, is nationally accredited by the Association of SBDCs and is a 2016 recipient of the President’s E Award for Export Service. Florida SBDC services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Language assistance services are available for individuals with limited English proficiency. For more information, please visit www.FloridaSBDC.org.

FSBDC at UCF | 3201 E. Colonial Drive | Orlando, FL 32801 | p 407.420.4850 | f 407.420.4862
sbdc@ucf.edu | www.sbdcorlando.com

3D Tire Company Logo

3D Tire Company: A New Generation of Service Excellence

Family Leadership Transition, Sales Growth and Operational Efficiency Achieved with FSBDC at UCF Assistance

November 2, 2022

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Orlando, FL – For a successful family business, management succession from one generation to the next can become much more complicated than initially anticipated, especially when opportunities for revenue growth and operational efficiency also present themselves. When the father and sons who founded and own 3D Tire Company encountered this exact situation, they turned to the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) for assistance, and they are happy they did.

With locations in the historic town of Eatonville, FL as well as Apopka, FL, 3D Tire Company has offered quality tires, preventative maintenance, and repair services to the Central Florida area for almost 35 years. Founded by Ernest Williams, who brought sons Darrell, Donavan, and Dexter into the business (the “3 D’s”), 3D Tire Company has built its reputation and large customer base on family values, faith, and the founding principles for which it has become known: quality, dedication, and a commitment to service. “We’ve thrived on our ability to provide a quality level of service,” says Darrell Williams, “and we stand on that: Service First”

Known for being an honest, reliable, and friendly tire and auto repair shop, 3D Tire was contemplating major changes when it approached the FSBDC. “We recognized that we were a business in transition,” recalls Darrell Williams. “We were transitioning from the leadership that had been in place for 30 plus years into a second generation. There were certain aspects of the business that were important to revisit, things that were consistent but had grown obsolete. It was time for us to introduce change to the way we were conducting business.”

Assisted first by FSBDC consultant Pauline Davis, and now by consultants Jose Molfino and John Finnegan, 3D Tire and the FSBDC analyzed the company’s operations, finances and marketing efforts. “Our time with the FSBDC has been very rewarding,” remarks Darrell. “The input and guidance they afforded our company, the direction that they offered, the consulting and different suggestions they made have been instrumental in turning this company around, in reshaping our direction and re-channeling our focus. It pulled a small business such as ours out of our comfort zone and forced us to think and excel beyond the norm.”

“Since our involvement with the FSBDC, certainly from our end as a company, we’ve seen tremendous growth and expansion on various fronts,” continues Darrell. “We’ve been able to see the amount of accounts grow and secured additional business that has helped the bottom line and to increase our footprint in Central Florida.”

“For any business owner that’s thinking about working with the FSBDC, I would use two words: Do It!” Darrel Williams concludes. “The information you gain is invaluable. The experience is certainly worthwhile. And you will be able to take something away from it that will be useful for your business going forward.”

For information about 3D Tire Company, please visit https://3dtirecompany.com/.

— FSBDC —

About the FSBDC at UCF

Hosted by the University of Central Florida (UCF), and with its main office in the National Entrepreneur Center located at the Fashion Square Mall in Orlando, the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) is part of part of UCF’s Office of the President and the Florida SBDC Network.

The Florida SBDC at UCF provides aspiring and existing small businesses with no-cost consulting, low-cost training, and access to business data and research resources. In addition to its core service offering, the Florida SBDC at UCF also offers specialized services to qualifying companies, including capital access, market growth, government contracting, international trade, business continuation, cybersecurity, disaster planning and recovery, and more. The FSBDC at UCF serves an eight-county area that includes Brevard, Flagler, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Sumter, and Volusia counties and maintains 9 service centers across Central Florida.

In 2021, the FSBDC at UCF served more than 2,700 entrepreneurs in Central Florida with consulting services, resulting in more than 8,200 jobs created, retained or saved; $1.5 billion in sales growth; $88.8 million in capital formation; $72.4 million in government contract awards; and 137 new businesses started. For more information, please visit www.sbdcorlando.com .

About the Florida SBDC Network

For over forty years, the Florida SBDC Network, the state’s principal provider of business assistance [Fl. Stat. 288.001], has nourished a statewide partnership between higher education and economic development to provide existing and emerging small and medium-sized business owners with management and knowledge resources that enable overall growth, increased profitability, and economic prosperity for Florida’s economy.

In 2021, Florida SBDCs provided 157,841 hours of professional business consulting to more than 18,379 client businesses. Based on the results from the network’s latest economic impact analysis, the FSBDC’s services resulted in almost 38,000 jobs impacted; $7.4 billion in sales generated; $381.6 million in government contracts acquired; and $528.4 million in capital accessed.

A statewide network of over 40 offices, the Florida SBDC is funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration, U.S. Department of Defense, State of Florida and other private and public partners. The Florida SBDC Network, headquartered at the University of West Florida, is nationally accredited by the Association of SBDCs and is a 2016 recipient of the President’s E Award for Export Service. Florida SBDC services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Language assistance services are available for individuals with limited English proficiency. For more information, please visit www.FloridaSBDC.org.

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 Announces 2022 Small Business Excellence Awards Nominees

Outstanding Central Florida Small Businesses Recognized for Exceptional Performance and Growth

October 27, 2022

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) is pleased to announce the fifteen (15) Nominees for the inaugural FSBDC at UCF Small Business Excellence Awards program which celebrate the success, growth, business acumen, and community involvement of FSBDC at UCF’s clients from across its 8-county region.

The FSBDC at UCF Small Business Excellence Award program recognizes local small business owners for their innovation, determination and resilience as demonstrated in the growth of their business and in their contribution to their communities with the designation as the FSBDC at UCF’s 2022 Entrepreneur of the Year. Nominations from across Central Florida were made by FSBDC at UCF consultants to acknowledge their clients’ significant growth; their resourcefulness in overcoming the challenges presented by small business ownership; and their involvement in their communities.

The 15 distinguished and remarkable Small Business Excellence Awards Entrepreneur of the Year Nominees are:

Darrell Williams, Dexter Williams and Donovan Williams 3D Tire Company, Inc.
Gary and Judy Lemay Bedtops, LLC dba Bedtops Mattress Clearance Center
Dean Caravelis Blezoo
Serge Sorese Florida’s Finest French Bakery Inc, dba Mon Delice French Bakery
Tonya and Tony Oxford Global Technology Integrators, LLC
Nate Thornton IQ Painters
Kelly and Scott Seidl Kelly’s Homemade Ice Cream
Yanet Herrero Kings Service Solutions, LLC
Balouch “Aleem” Muhammad and Tariq Iqbal Kissimmee Granite and Marble, Inc
Vitor de Oliveira Cortes Kissimmee Produce, Inc
Chris Baeten Knight Federal Solutions
Amanda Yarbrough MamaBare Sugaring Studio, LLC
Victoria Messina Messina & Associates, Inc
Shannon and Janice Talty Olde Hearth Bread Company
Pam Rothenberg Tuckaway Shores Resort

Small businesses are the engine that drives the Florida economy. According to the SBA, there are roughly 2.8 million small businesses in Florida. They make up 99.8% of all businesses in the state and employ 3.6 million workers, about 41.1% of the state’s private-sector workforce.

As the list illustrates, the Nominees for the FSBDC at UCF Small Business Excellence Awards represent a broad cross section of Central Florida small businesses operating in multiple industries. Fully 60% of the Nominees are women- and/or minority-owned businesses. All are valued clients of the FSBDC at UCF who have benefited in some way from its no-cost, expert consulting; business training; and/or market research resources.

The finalists and award winner will be selected by the FSBDC at UCF’s Executive Board which is made up of local small business leaders and stakeholders committed to supporting the FSBDC’s mission to help small businesses launch, grow, and thrive through expertise, resources and advocacy. The nominees and award winner, and second and third place finalists will be recognized at an invitation-only Awards Luncheon on November 16, 2022, at the Citrus Club in Orlando, FL. This will be the first time this award will be given and the FSBDC at UCF Small Business Excellence Award program will become an annual event moving forward. The awards ceremony is made possible through the generous support of sponsors Orange County, Lake County, the Osceola Chamber of Commerce and TriNet.

“We are pleased to recognize these nominees for their achievements with our new Small Business Excellence Award program,” said Eunice Choi, FSBDC at UCF Regional Director. “Small businesses are the key drivers of our local economy, creating prosperity, generating jobs and improving the quality of life in our communities. It is an honor to be able to celebrate them.”

— FSBDC —

About the FSBDC at UCF

Hosted by the University of Central Florida (UCF), and with its main office in the National Entrepreneur Center located at the Fashion Square Mall in Orlando, the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) is part of part of UCF’s Office of the President and the Florida SBDC Network.

The Florida SBDC at UCF provides aspiring and existing small businesses with no-cost consulting, low-cost training, and access to business data and research resources. In addition to its core service offering, the Florida SBDC at UCF also offers specialized services to qualifying companies, including capital access, market growth, government contracting, international trade, business continuation, cybersecurity, disaster planning and recovery, and more. The FSBDC at UCF serves an eight-county area that includes Brevard, Flagler, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Sumter, and Volusia counties and maintains 9 service centers across Central Florida.

In 2021, the FSBDC at UCF served more than 2,700 entrepreneurs in Central Florida with consulting services, resulting in more than 8,200 jobs created, retained or saved; $1.5 billion in sales growth; $88.8 million in capital formation; $72.4 million in government contract awards; and 137 new businesses started. For more information, please visit www.sbdcorlando.com .

About the Florida SBDC Network

For over forty years, the Florida SBDC Network, the state’s principal provider of business assistance [Fl. Stat. 288.001], has nourished a statewide partnership between higher education and economic development to provide existing and emerging small and medium-sized business owners with management and knowledge resources that enable overall growth, increased profitability, and economic prosperity for Florida’s economy.

In 2021, Florida SBDCs provided 157,841 hours of professional business consulting to more than 18,379 client businesses. Based on the results from the network’s latest economic impact analysis, the FSBDC’s services resulted in almost 38,000 jobs impacted; $7.4 billion in sales generated; $381.6 million in government contracts acquired; and $528.4 million in capital accessed.

A statewide network of over 40 offices, the Florida SBDC is funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration, U.S. Department of Defense, State of Florida and other private and public partners. The Florida SBDC Network, headquartered at the University of West Florida, is nationally accredited by the Association of SBDCs and is a 2016 recipient of the President’s E Award for Export Service. Florida SBDC services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Language assistance services are available for individuals with limited English proficiency. For more information, please visit www.FloridaSBDC.org.

FSBDC at UCF | 3201 E. Colonial Drive | Orlando, FL 32801 | p 407.420.4850 | f 407.420.4862
sbdc@ucf.edu | www.sbdcorlando.com

Flower shop, Palm Coast, Small Business

Blooming Flowers & Gifts Relaunching Under New Management

New Owner Stephanie Caddy Acquires Palm Coast Florist With Assistance from Florida SBDC at UCF

October 5, 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 – Success as an entrepreneur requires many personal qualities, none more important than perseverance. When combined with determination, resilience, and a strong work ethic, what might seem to be unremitting obstacles can be overcome. For Stephanie Caddy and her quest to buy a business in Palm Coast, there were times when a purchase seemed next to impossible. Fortunately, she turned to the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) for guidance and achieved her dream of becoming a business owner.

Blooming Flowers & Gifts is a local florist that has been in business for 17 years at European Village, a one-stop-destination for all things dining, shopping, and entertainment, featuring seven eateries, multiple salons and boutique shops, six bars, and a few real estate offices. Blooming Flowers and Gifts offers a variety of flower arrangements, European dish gardens, gifts, and much more. Blooming Flowers was, in Stephanie’s opinion, a diamond in the rough with significant promise for growth, and the then owner was ready to entertain offers. Even so, Stephanie had a myriad of critical questions that needed to be addressed. What’s the market opportunity for a florist in Palm Coast and Flagler County? What’s the right price for the existing business? What kind of changes in marketing and operations would be required to realize the business’s full potential? And where could she find a bank loan to finance the acquisition? For those answers and more, Stephanie connected with the FSBDC at UCF.

“I sought out assistance from the FSBDC on the recommendation of a local banker,” as she recalls. “She told me that Palm Coast-based FSBDC consultant Michael Oppenheim was the one to contact and that he could give me guidance and help me through the process of purchasing the business.” With Oppenheim’s assistance and support, Stephanie set to work. “The services I received from the SBDC ranged from conducting a financial analysis and valuation of the current business, to developing a marketing approach, establishing myself within the community and receiving support in obtaining a loan,” Stephanie says today.

Of all the hurdles, finding a bank and moving through the application process to a successful conclusion was the most challenging. But with Oppenheim and the FSBDC by her side, after 13 months and working with five different lenders, Stephanie finally received the loan she needed. “Navigating the loan process was arduous and complex,” she states, “given that most of the banks have different requirements and paperwork submissions to qualify for their loans. The FSBDC was very helpful in getting me to the point where I was able to succeed at obtaining my loan.”

“My experience working with the FSBDC and Mike Oppenheim was amazing,” Stephanie concludes. “I would recommend to anybody looking to purchase a business to work with the FSBDC, to help them get the reports, do the analysis, find ways to build the business, to guide them through the financing. I am grateful to the FSBDC because going through the loan process was very difficult and without their assistance, I would probably have given up.” Stephanie did not back down however, and, thanks to her own and the FSBDC’s perseverance, she became the business owner she aspired to be, and now looks forward to a successful future.

For information about Blooming Flowers & Gifts, please visit https://www.bloomingflowersandgifts.com/.

— FSBDC —

About the FSBDC at UCF

Hosted by the University of Central Florida (UCF), and with its main office in the National Entrepreneur Center located at the Fashion Square Mall in Orlando, the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) is part of part of UCF’s Office of the President and the Florida SBDC Network.

The Florida SBDC at UCF provides aspiring and existing small businesses with no-cost consulting, low-cost training, and access to business data and research resources. In addition to its core service offering, the Florida SBDC at UCF also offers specialized services to qualifying companies, including capital access, market growth, government contracting, international trade, business continuation, cybersecurity, disaster planning and recovery, and more. The FSBDC at UCF serves an eight-county area that includes Brevard, Flagler, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Sumter, and Volusia counties and maintains 9 service centers across Central Florida.

In 2021, the FSBDC at UCF served more than 2,700 entrepreneurs in Central Florida with consulting services, resulting in more than 8,200 jobs created, retained or saved; $1.5 billion in sales growth; $88.8 million in capital formation; $72.4 million in government contract awards; and 137 new businesses started. For more information, please visit www.sbdcorlando.com .

About the Florida SBDC Network

For over forty years, the Florida SBDC Network, the state’s principal provider of business assistance [Fl. Stat. 288.001], has nourished a statewide partnership between higher education and economic development to provide existing and emerging small and medium-sized business owners with management and knowledge resources that enable overall growth, increased profitability, and economic prosperity for Florida’s economy.

In 2021, Florida SBDCs provided 157,841 hours of professional business consulting to more than 18,379 client businesses. Based on the results from the network’s latest economic impact analysis, the FSBDC’s services resulted in almost 38,000 jobs impacted; $7.4 billion in sales generated; $381.6 million in government contracts acquired; and $528.4 million in capital accessed.

A statewide network of over 40 offices, the Florida SBDC is funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration, U.S. Department of Defense, State of Florida and other private and public partners. The Florida SBDC Network, headquartered at the University of West Florida, is nationally accredited by the Association of SBDCs and is a 2016 recipient of the President’s E Award for Export Service. Florida SBDC services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Language assistance services are available for individuals with limited English proficiency. For more information, please visit www.FloridaSBDC.org.

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 Small Business Development Center at UCF Announces the FSBDC at UCF Small Business Excellence Award Program

Business Assistance Center Serving Central Florida to Recognize 2022 Entrepreneur of the Year

October 4, 2022

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) announces the inaugural FSBDC at UCF Small Business Excellence Award program to celebrate the success, growth, business acumen, and community involvement of FSBDC at UCF’s clients across its 8 county region.

The Small Business Excellence Award will recognize a local small business owner for their innovation, determination and resilience as demonstrated in the growth of their business and in their contribution to their communities with the designation as the FSBDC at UCF’s 2022 Entrepreneur of the Year. The  award winner, and second and third place finalists will be recognized at an invitation-only Gala Awards Luncheon on November 16, 2022, at the Citrus Club in Orlando, FL. This will be the first time this award will be given and the FSBDC at UCF Small Business Excellence Award program will become an annual event moving forward.

Nominations from across Central Florida will be made by FSBDC at UCF consultants to acknowledge their clients’ significant growth; their resourcefulness in overcoming the challenges presented by small business ownership; and their involvement in their communities. The finalists and award winner will be selected by the FSBDC at UCF’s Executive Board which is made up of local small business leaders and stakeholders committed to supporting the FSBDC’s mission to help small businesses launch, grow and thrive through expertise, resources and advocacy.

“We are excited to recognize our clients for their achievements with our new Small Business Excellence Award program,” said Eunice Choi, FSBDC at UCF Regional Director. “Small businesses are the key drivers of our local economy, creating prosperity, generating jobs and improving the quality of life in our communities. It is an honor to be able to celebrate them.”

— FSBDC —

About the FSBDC at UCF

Hosted by the University of Central Florida (UCF), and with its main office in the National Entrepreneur Center located at the Fashion Square Mall in Orlando, the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) is part of part of UCF’s Office of the President and the Florida SBDC Network.

The Florida SBDC at UCF provides aspiring and existing small businesses with no-cost consulting, low-cost training, and access to business data and research resources. In addition to its core service offering, the Florida SBDC at UCF also offers specialized services to qualifying companies, including capital access, market growth, government contracting, international trade, business continuation, cybersecurity, disaster planning and recovery, and more. The FSBDC at UCF serves an eight-county area that includes Brevard, Flagler, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Sumter, and Volusia counties and maintains 9 service centers across Central Florida.

In 2021, the FSBDC at UCF served more than 2,700 entrepreneurs in Central Florida with consulting services, resulting in more than 8,200 jobs created, retained or saved; $1.5 billion in sales growth; $88.8 million in capital formation; $72.4 million in government contract awards; and 137 new businesses started. For more information, please visit www.sbdcorlando.com .

About the Florida SBDC Network

For over forty years, the Florida SBDC Network, the state’s principal provider of business assistance [Fl. Stat. 288.001], has nourished a statewide partnership between higher education and economic development to provide existing and emerging small and medium-sized business owners with management and knowledge resources that enable overall growth, increased profitability, and economic prosperity for Florida’s economy.

In 2021, Florida SBDCs provided 157,841 hours of professional business consulting to more than 18,379 client businesses. Based on the results from the network’s latest economic impact analysis, the FSBDC’s services resulted in almost 38,000 jobs impacted; $7.4 billion in sales generated; $381.6 million in government contracts acquired; and $528.4 million in capital accessed.

A statewide network of over 40 offices, the Florida SBDC is funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration, U.S. Department of Defense, State of Florida and other private and public partners. The Florida SBDC Network, headquartered at the University of West Florida, is nationally accredited by the Association of SBDCs and is a 2016 recipient of the President’s E Award for Export Service. Florida SBDC services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Language assistance services are available for individuals with limited English proficiency. For more information, please visit www.FloridaSBDC.org.

FSBDC at UCF | 3201 E. Colonial Drive | Orlando, FL 32801 | p 407.420.4850 | f 407.420.4862
sbdc@ucf.edu | www.sbdcorlando.com

AppleTree Connection

AppleTree Connection and UCF CE Partnership Results in Recognition as #1 RBT Training Program in U.S.

Company Develops Registered Behavior Technician Program in Cooperation with UCF Continuing Education. Credits Business Success to Assistance from Florida SBDC at UCF and Florida PTAC at UCF.

August 8, 2022

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

                 Steven South, Consultant & PTAC Manager, FPTAC at UCF, 407.420.4859 or Steve.South@ucf.edu

Orlando, FL – Translating deep knowledge and expertise in a scientific field into a successful business is not an easy undertaking, even if you have identified a significant opportunity in the marketplace. Tara Zeller, with degrees in psychology, applied behavior analysis (ABA) and management, recognized the challenges facing career seekers in the behavioral sciences, particularly for college psychology majors and others in the social science field. In response, two and a half years ago she pivoted AppleTree Connection, a clinical ABA company, to a career and leadership organization dedicated to preparing and connecting entry level practitioners with meaningful treatment roles and leadership positions. From the beginning, Zeller sought assistance from the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF), and its government contracting affiliate the Florida Procurement Technical Assistance Center at UCF (FPTAC at UCF), and their help has paid off for her.

Under Zeller’s guidance, AppleTree Connection has evolved into a leader amongst providers of training and mentoring for Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) specialists. RBTs, once certified, work in schools, clinics, and privately with individual clients to provide life-changing behavior support and therapy for various diagnoses such as: autism spectrum disorders, intellectual and developmental disabilities, or traumatic brain injuries. Certification based upon an exam given by a professional oversight organization is mandatory to practice as an RBT. “We are a quality provider,” explains Zeller. “We are hands on and accessible. We train, mentor, and empower and really like to work with our students to help them uncover their passion and guide them to finding work that is meaningful to them.”

“I sought out the services of the FSBDC and FPTAC because I started my company on my own,” recalls Zeller. “I needed support with the business strategy side of things. It started with a strategic business plan seminar, then to working with Steve South (FSBDC consultant and FPTAC manager) who coached me on running a business. As a solopreneur, you wear all the hats, so it was meaningful to have Steve’s assistance and someone like him to turn to who could guide me in the ways of a business owner. It’s been great, really great.”

“Since I’ve been working with the FSBDC and PTAC, the major changes I have seen in my business start with me as a now confident CEO and business owner,” remarks Zeller. Her confidence was exhibited prominently when she pivoted her clinical ABA business to create a UCF-branded RBT Certification Course that prepares students to become RBTs and places RBTs with employers; an attractive career pathway for UCF graduates seeking a meaningful career and making an impact in their communities.

To her credit, Zeller and her team developed the program and have been teaching the classes since inception with outstanding results: The UCF RBT Program (Zeller’s program) was recognized as the #1 training provider in the country and AppleTree Connections itself ranks as the #3 provider by the Behavior Analysts Certification Board (BACB) based upon its student’s RBT Exam success rate. Building upon that success, she is looking to expand, add instructors, partner with other universities, and duplicate the model throughout the U.S.

“My advice for a business owner considering working with the FSBDC or FPTAC is: Do not hesitate. Go for it,” Zeller concludes. “The services that they offer are truly invaluable.”

For information about AppleTree Connection, please visit https://www.appletreeconnection.com/.

— FSBDC —

About the FSBDC at UCF

Hosted by the University of Central Florida (UCF), and with its main office in the National Entrepreneur Center located at the Fashion Square Mall in Orlando, the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) is part of part of UCF’s Office of the President and the Florida SBDC Network.

The Florida SBDC at UCF provides aspiring and existing small businesses with no-cost consulting, low-cost training, and access to business data and research resources. In addition to its core service offering, the Florida SBDC at UCF also offers specialized services to qualifying companies, including capital access, market growth, government contracting, international trade, business continuation, cybersecurity, disaster planning and recovery, and more. The FSBDC at UCF serves an eight-county area that includes Brevard, Flagler, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Sumter, and Volusia counties and maintains 9 service centers across Central Florida.

In 2021, the FSBDC at UCF served more than 2,700 entrepreneurs in Central Florida with consulting services, resulting in more than 8,200 jobs created, retained or saved; $1.5 billion in sales growth; $88.8 million in capital formation; $72.4 million in government contract awards; and 137 new businesses started. For more information, please visit www.sbdcorlando.com.

About the Florida Procurement Technical Assistance Center at UCF (FPTAC 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 $9.5 billion in contract awards, helping to create and save almost 215,000 jobs. This Procurement Technical Assistance Center is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the Department of Defense. Government contracting services are offered by the Florida Procurement Technical Assistance Center headquartered at the University of West Florida. For more information, please visit www.fptac.org.

About the Florida SBDC Network

For over forty years, the Florida SBDC Network, the state’s principal provider of business assistance [Fl. Stat. 288.001], has nourished a statewide partnership between higher education and economic development to provide existing and emerging small and medium-sized business owners with management and knowledge resources that enable overall growth, increased profitability, and economic prosperity for Florida’s economy.

In 2021, Florida SBDCs provided 157,841 hours of professional business consulting to more than 18,379 client businesses. Based on the results from the network’s latest economic impact analysis, the FSBDC’s services resulted in almost 38,000 jobs impacted; $7.4 billion in sales generated; $381.6 million in government contracts acquired; and $528.4 million in capital accessed.

A statewide network of over 40 offices, the Florida SBDC is funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration, U.S. Department of Defense, State of Florida and other private and public partners. The Florida SBDC Network, headquartered at the University of West Florida, is nationally accredited by the Association of SBDCs and is a 2016 recipient of the President’s E Award for Export Service. Florida SBDC services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Language assistance services are available for individuals with limited English proficiency. For more information, please visit www.FloridaSBDC.org.

river street sweets savannah's candy kitchen logo-01

River Street Sweets – Savannah’s Candy Kitchen: Bringing Good, Old Fashioned Candies to Orlando

FSBDC at UCF – Kissimmee Assists Business Start and Thrive at Margaritaville Resort Orlando

June 23, 2022

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 – Starting a small business in a new state can be daunting, even if it that business is one of the fastest growing franchise opportunities in the country. Although you can expect support from the franchise company, the franchisor is not always the best choice when grappling with the many challenges associated with opening a new business in a new market – challenges like local permitting, employee recruitment and more. When Lucia and Keith Lubbock, owners of River Street Sweets – Savannah’s Candy Kitchen Orlando, were starting their business and facing all those questions, Lucia turned to the Florida Small Business Development Center at  the University of Central Florida’s (FSBDC at UCF) Kissimmee office for assistance.

River Street Sweets – Savannah’s Candy Kitchen is one of America’s finest and most renowned candy brands, a southern tradition from the heart of Savannah, Georgia. Featuring its World Famous Pralines®, saltwater taffy, hand stretched peanut brittle, homemade pecan pies and made-from scratch southern delicacies, the folks at River Street Sweets – Savannah’s Candy Kitchen proudly say they are “in the business of enriching the lives of our Guests by providing fresh, handmade Southern candies served with good, old-fashioned hospitality in a clean, fun environment.” It’s no wonder they were ranked the #2 Top Candy Franchise by Entrepreneur Magazine in 2021.

“What make us unique and special is that we make everything here, inhouse,” says Lucia Lubbock. “Every single treat that we can make and have here for sale is made with a lot of love and that makes a big difference.” Contributing to River Street Sweets – Savannah’s Candy Kitchen’s family atmosphere is the shop’s location: the Promenade at Sunset Walk inside the Margaritaville Resort Orlando, one of Central Florida’s newest and most exciting resort destinations.

“When we first moved to Florida, we wanted to start a business,” recalls Lubbock, “and I found the FSBDC. I went there for a seminar that I found very helpful. After the seminar, I found my FSBDC consultant Elly Membreno and since then they have been helping me with everything. It was about the time of the COVID shut down and she kept on helping me via ZOOM. She guided us with the local permits, with the Paycheck Protection Program or any other questions I had about my business and how to start it.”

“Doing business during COVID was challenging,” Lucia Lubbock says today. “With the help of the FSBDC and Elly Membreno, it was easier. Now the business is getting better. Our numbers are up; revenues are higher by about 35%. We have a strong team. It looks like good times for us ahead.”

“My experience with the FSBDC and with Elly Membreno, it has been great,” concluded Lubbock. “For any entrepreneur or small business owner, I would definitely suggest they go to the FSBDC because they are very helpful. Sometimes you don’t know where to start but they will guide you. Even for me as a franchisee, I know the franchisor can help us with a lot of things but, with local issues and other things, the FSBDC knows the way.”

For information about River Street Sweets – Savannah’s Candy Kitchen, please visit https://www.ilovepralines.com/.

— FSBDC —

About the FSBDC at UCF

Hosted by the University of Central Florida (UCF), and with its main office in the National Entrepreneur Center located at the Fashion Square Mall in Orlando, the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) is part of part of UCF’s Office of the President and the Florida SBDC Network.

The Florida SBDC at UCF provides aspiring and existing small businesses with no-cost consulting, low-cost training, and access to business data and research resources. In addition to its core service offering, the Florida SBDC at UCF also offers specialized services to qualifying companies, including capital access, market growth, government contracting, international trade, business continuation, cybersecurity, disaster planning and recovery, and more. The FSBDC at UCF serves an eight-county area that includes Brevard, Flagler, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Sumter, and Volusia counties and maintains 9 service centers across Central Florida.

In 2021, the FSBDC at UCF served more than 2,700 entrepreneurs in Central Florida with consulting services, resulting in more than 8,200 jobs created, retained or saved; $1.5 billion in sales growth; $88.8 million in capital formation; $72.4 million in government contract awards; and 137 new businesses started. For more information, please visit www.sbdcorlando.com .

About the Florida SBDC Network

For over forty years, the Florida SBDC Network, the state’s principal provider of business assistance [Fl. Stat. 288.001], has nourished a statewide partnership between higher education and economic development to provide existing and emerging small and medium-sized business owners with management and knowledge resources that enable overall growth, increased profitability, and economic prosperity for Florida’s economy.

In 2021, Florida SBDCs provided 157,841 hours of professional business consulting to more than 18,379 client businesses. Based on the results from the network’s latest economic impact analysis, the FSBDC’s services resulted in almost 38,000 jobs impacted; $7.4 billion in sales generated; $381.6 million in government contracts acquired; and $528.4 million in capital accessed.

A statewide network of over 40 offices, the Florida SBDC is funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration, U.S. Department of Defense, State of Florida and other private and public partners. The Florida SBDC Network, headquartered at the University of West Florida, is nationally accredited by the Association of SBDCs and is a 2016 recipient of the President’s E Award for Export Service. Florida SBDC services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Language assistance services are available for individuals with limited English proficiency. For more information, please visit www.FloridaSBDC.org.

FSBDC at UCF | 3201 E. Colonial Drive | Orlando, FL 32801 | p 407.420.4850 | f 407.420.4862
sbdc@ucf.edu | www.sbdcorlando.com

Night Lite Pediatrics Logo

Night Lite Pediatrics Urgent Care: Taking Care of Kids and Taking Care of Business

Pediatric Urgent Care Company Posting Notable Results. Benefits from FSBDC at UCF and Its Advisory Board Council Program

June 16, 2022

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:

Orlando, FL – Managing a growing business effectively is a constantly challenging, uphill battle. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it and every business would be successful. We all know that isn’t the reality. In fact, the wisest business leaders recognize there are always opportunities for improving performance. The three owners of Night Lite Pediatrics Urgent Care – Dr. Vivek Desai, Dr. Ayodeji Otegbeye, and Dr. Oludapo Soremi – asked themselves how they could run their business more efficiently. To do so, they turned to the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) for answers. They soon found themselves tapping into the FSBDC’s no-cost, expert consulting services as well as participating in its Advisory Board Council program, leading to extremely positive results.

As the name suggests, Night Lite Pediatrics Urgent Care is dedicated to caring for kids and young adults. With more than 150 employees and 13 offices throughout Florida, they offer a complete spectrum of health services for children, everything from  high acuity medical care to on-site laboratory services, radiology, testing &  COVID vaccinations, and IV Therapy. They understand that a child’s accidents and illnesses don’t always occur during normal business hours, so they are open after-hours every day of the week. Specializing in small child pediatric urgent care is what sets them apart, however. “Although we see everyone, our niche is the fact that we treat and care for children from newborn to 5 years of age,” says Dr. Soremi. “Our competitors are not comfortable seeing children that young and are very happy to send them to us.”

Night Lite Pediatrics has been successful, almost too successful. “As we were growing, we had a lot of challenges that we were struggling with,” recalls Dr. Desai. For guidance, they called upon the FSBDC at UCF. “I distinctly remember meeting with consultant Pauline Davis of the FSBDC for a financial evaluation and she pointed out a lot of areas where we needed work,” Dr. Desai continued. “It was really an eye opener. I thought we were doing really well, and I discovered we were not doing well at all.”

To assist Night Lite in addressing the issues that she had identified, Davis recommended the FSBDC’s Advisory Board Council (ABC) program which provides no-cost, customized boards of volunteer experts specially selected to address the specific needs of the FSBDC client by providing advice and counsel to help the business grow. For Night Lite Pediatrics, Jill Kaufman, ABC program manager, recruited advisory board members whose expertise would be beneficial to the organization and would help the clients streamline operations, enhance productivity, and improve customer satisfaction.

“The Advisory Board members had really diverse skills and areas of expertise,” Dr. Otegbeye remembers. “There were people who worked in S&P 500 companies as CFO, or in their marketing  or HR departments. They held us accountable. They would do the assessment, provide the solutions, and then guide us through to get results.”

The results achieved have been substantial. Since the company started working with the FSBDC, they have seen revenues grow at a rate of 64% and closed a successful sale of the business to a publicly traded company. “Having the FSBDC in our lives for the last two years had a lot of positive impact,” concluded Dr. Desai, “and we are truly grateful. Thank you, FSBDC.”

For information about Night Lite Pediatrics, please visit https://www.nightlitepediatrics.com/

— FSBDC —

About the FSBDC at UCF

Hosted by the University of Central Florida (UCF), and with its main office in the National Entrepreneur Center located at the Fashion Square Mall in Orlando, the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) is part of part of UCF’s Office of the President and the Florida SBDC Network.

The Florida SBDC at UCF provides aspiring and existing small businesses with no-cost consulting, low-cost training, and access to business data and research resources. In addition to its core service offering, the Florida SBDC at UCF also offers specialized services to qualifying companies, including capital access, market growth, government contracting, international trade, business continuation, cybersecurity, disaster planning and recovery, and more. The FSBDC at UCF serves an eight-county area that includes Brevard, Flagler, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Sumter, and Volusia counties and maintains 9 service centers across Central Florida.

In 2021, the FSBDC at UCF served more than 2,700 entrepreneurs in Central Florida with consulting services, resulting in more than 8,200 jobs created, retained or saved; $1.5 billion in sales growth; $88.8 million in capital formation; $72.4 million in government contract awards; and 137 new businesses started. For more information, please visit www.sbdcorlando.com .

About the Florida SBDC Network

For over forty years, the Florida SBDC Network, the state’s principal provider of business assistance [Fl. Stat. 288.001], has nourished a statewide partnership between higher education and economic development to provide existing and emerging small and medium-sized business owners with management and knowledge resources that enable overall growth, increased profitability, and economic prosperity for Florida’s economy.

In 2021, Florida SBDCs provided 157,841 hours of professional business consulting to more than 18,379 client businesses. Based on the results from the network’s latest economic impact analysis, the FSBDC’s services resulted in almost 38,000 jobs impacted; $7.4 billion in sales generated; $381.6 million in government contracts acquired; and $528.4 million in capital accessed.

A statewide network of over 40 offices, the Florida SBDC is funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration, U.S. Department of Defense, State of Florida and other private and public partners. The Florida SBDC Network, headquartered at the University of West Florida, is nationally accredited by the Association of SBDCs and is a 2016 recipient of the President’s E Award for Export Service. Florida SBDC services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Language assistance services are available for individuals with limited English proficiency. For more information, please visit www.FloridaSBDC.org.

FSBDC at UCF | 3201 E. Colonial Drive | Orlando, FL 32801 | p 407.420.4850 | f 407.420.4862
sbdc@ucf.edu | www.sbdcorlando.com

Kelly's Homemade Ice Cream

How Sweet It Is: Kelly’s Homemade Ice Cream Growing Fast

Local, Handcrafted Ice Cream Shop Expands with Assistance of FSBDC at UCF’s Advisory Board Council

June 1, 2022

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Hal Thayer, Communications Director, FSBDC at UCF, 407.420.4879 or HThayer@ucf.edu
Jill Kaufman, Associate Director/ABC Program Manager, 407.420.4868 or Jill.Kaufman@ucf.edu

Orlando, FL – For some small business owners, explosive growth – in revenues, employees, locations – can be an exciting yet daunting challenge. No one wants to miss an opportunity, but the fear of overextending and moving too fast can hold you back. Kelly and Scott Seidl, founders and owners of Kelly’s Homemade Ice Cream, recognized that ‘they didn’t know what they didn’t know’ as they sought to manage their rapidly growing business. To gain the perspectives and guidance they wanted to confidently push forward and nurture this growth, the Seidl’s turned to the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) and its award-winning Advisory Board Council (ABC) program.

Kelly’s Homemade Ice Cream is a Cinderella story. In 2014, the company started its journey as a simple ice cream truck. Today Kelly’s has five scoop shops and three counters inside a partner’s coffee shops with plans to expand to two new locations shortly. Their success is a testament to the appeal and popularity of their local and handcrafted product. “We make all our ice cream inhouse,” Kelly Seidl states proudly, “using the highest quality ingredients and dairy from Florida. What makes us exceptional is we have uniquely created flavors, with over 100 recipes of seasonal and featured flavors that are rotated throughout the year. We cherish being part of the community, stay involved with the local schools and strive to give back to show our gratitude for the support we have received.”

“We originally sought out assistance from the FSBDC because our business started to grow and we needed mentorship,” Scott Seidl recalls. “Kelly is a registered nurse by trade, and I am an accountant. We had never started or run a business, so we needed help. The Advisory Board Council was the service we used the most at the FSBDC and it’s been extremely helpful.”
The FSBDC at UCF’s Advisory Board Council provides no-cost, customized boards of volunteer experts specially selected to address the specific needs of the FSBDC client by providing advice and counsel to help the business grow. In the case of Kelly’s Homemade Ice Cream, Jill Kaufman, ABC program manager, recruited advisory board members whose expertise
would be beneficial to the organization and would help the clients to explore and evaluate new opportunities as well as plan for the infrastructure that would be needed to support those developments.

“It’s a group of advisors that have a lot of different industry experience and they’ve been great mentors,” says Scott Seidl. “For example, our board had a member with a lot of food production experience which was knowledge we didn’t have. We can bounce our ideas off of them and get the feedback we need and know that they will challenge us. It has really helped us step back from the business and work on the business, not just in the business.”

“Since we started with the FSBDC and the Advisory Board Council, our revenues have grown over 100% and our staff has more than doubled. We had 3 locations, now we have 8,” Kelly Seidl concluded. “If I had to use one word to describe the FSBDC’s Advisory Board, it would be ‘Family’. I have trust in them and that they give us confident, knowledgeable answers that have helped us grow and manage that growth successfully.”

For information about Kelly’s Homemade Ice Cream, please visit https://www.kellyshomemadeicecream.com/

–FSBDC–

About the FSBDC at UCF

Hosted by the University of Central Florida (UCF), and with its main office in the National Entrepreneur Center located at the Fashion Square Mall in Orlando, the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) is part of part of UCF’s Office of the President and the Florida SBDC Network.
The Florida SBDC at UCF provides aspiring and existing small businesses with no-cost consulting, low-cost training, and access to business data and research resources. In addition to its core service offering, the Florida SBDC at UCF also offers specialized services to qualifying companies, including capital access, market growth, government contracting, international trade, business continuation, cybersecurity, disaster planning and recovery, and more. The FSBDC at UCF serves an eight-county area that includes Brevard, Flagler, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Sumter, and Volusia counties and maintains 9 service centers across Central Florida.

In 2021, the FSBDC at UCF served more than 2,700 entrepreneurs in Central Florida with consulting services, resulting in more than 8,200 jobs created, retained or saved; $1.5 billion in sales growth; $88.8 million in capital formation; $72.4 million in government contract awards; and 137 new businesses started. For more information, please visit www.sbdcorlando.com .

About the Florida SBDC Network

For over forty years, the Florida SBDC Network, the state’s principal provider of business assistance [Fl. Stat. 288.001], has nourished a statewide partnership between higher education and economic development to provide existing and emerging small and medium-sized business owners with management and knowledge resources that enable overall growth, increased profitability, and economic prosperity for Florida’s economy.

In 2021, Florida SBDCs provided 157,841 hours of professional business consulting to more than 18,379 client businesses. Based on the results from the network’s latest economic impact analysis, the FSBDC’s services resulted in almost 38,000 jobs impacted; $7.4 billion in sales generated; $381.6 million in government contracts acquired; and $528.4 million in capital accessed.
A statewide network of over 40 offices, the Florida SBDC is funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration, U.S. Department of Defense, State of Florida and other private and public partners. The Florida SBDC Network, headquartered at the University of West Florida, is nationally accredited by the Association of SBDCs and is a 2016 recipient of the President’s E Award for Export Service. Florida SBDC services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Language assistance services are available for individuals with limited English proficiency. For more information, please visit www.FloridaSBDC.org.

FSBDC at UCF | 3201 E. Colonial Drive | Orlando, FL 32801 | p 407.420.4850 | f 407.420.4862
sbdc@ucf.edu | www.sbdcorlando.com