Harvey Cohen; Cohen Grossman; Jill Kaufman; ABC; Advisory Board Council; FSBDC; UCF

Florida SBDC at UCF’s Advisory Board Council Makes Important Contribution to Growth of Cohen Grossman Attorneys at Law

Custom Selected Board of Volunteers
Make a Difference at No-Cost

Monday, February 22, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

Orlando, FL –    Law firms are more than a group of lawyers coming together to practice the law. In fact, they are businesses that face many of the same challenges as other kinds of businesses; how to manage growth, deal with human resources issues, improve financial performance, drive marketing effectiveness and more.

Cohen Grossman Attorneys at Law is precisely that kind of law firm: a business entity comprised of a group of lawyers engaging in the practice of law. Led by founder and owner Harvey Cohen, the firm has practices across multiple legal specialties, including insurance claims, personal injury, criminal law, family law, wrongful death, renters’ rights and the list goes on.

Cohen Grossman is a successful firm and was becoming more successful every day.  And that success was demanding that more and more of Harvey Cohen’s time be spent managing the daily operations of the company. As he became more businessman than attorney, Cohen started to ask himself how he could make himself the best business owner possible.

Through networking and a friend, he was referred to the Florida SBDC at UCF and its Advisory Board Council (ABC) program. “My friend told me she’d really enjoyed her Advisory Board and that it had helped her business tremendously,” remarked Atty. Cohen. “I was intrigued and my friend put me in touch with Jill Kaufman, a consultant at the FSBDC as well as the program manager of the ABC program.

The Advisory Board Council is a no-cost board of experts providing advice and council to help businesses grow.  It acts as a matchmaker between established local businesses 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.

“Jill Kaufman put a great board together for me,” says Atty. Cohen, “and we had our first meeting in July of 2013. Since then, my Board has been an invaluable resource and gets some of the credit for our ongoing success. We’ve been growing rapidly: we have seen a 167% revenue increase from 2012 to 2015; our employee base has grown more than 160% over the period; and very recently we moved our firm into our own, 33,000 sq. ft. building.”

“For me, one of the best benefits of my ABC was that it forced me to focus time on my business. Anyone who manages a business knows how hard it is to take time away from dealing with day-to-day operations, away from working in the business,” said Atty. Cohen. “My ABC made me take the time, with their help, to evaluate myself and my performance while sharing exemplary ideas to help the firm’s business. The Board’s different perspectives and experiences contributed significantly to how I run the firm today and how I will run it even better in the future.”

“I would recommend the Advisory Board Council to everyone, and I have. It can only help you. I can’t imagine where we’d be without it,” concluded Atty. Cohen. “I think it is such a valuable resource for small businesses that I have even gone a step further and become an ABC volunteer advisor myself.”

— FSBDC —

About the FSBDC at UCF

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

In 2014, the FSBDC at UCF served more than 8,200 entrepreneurs and small business owners through consulting and training, resulting in 12,387 Central Florida jobs created, retained or saved; $1.70 billion in sales growth; $26.1 million in capital formation; $39.7 million in government contract awards; and 105 new businesses started.

About the FSBDC Network

The FSBDC at UCF is a member of the Florida SBDC Network, a statewide service network funded in part through cooperative agreements with the U.S. Small Business Administration, Defense Logistics Agency, State of Florida and other private and public partners. The Florida SBDC Network is hosted by the University of West Florida and is nationally accredited by the Association of SBDCs. All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.

For over 35 years, the FSBDC Network has nourished a statewide partnership between higher education and economic development organizations, dedicated to providing emerging and established business owners with management and technical assistance, enabling overall growth and increased profitability for the businesses and economic prosperity for the state. The FSBDC Network is a statewide service system of 41 centers with 60 outreach locations, including the FSBDC at UCF.

In 2014, the Florida SBDCs served almost 30,000 entrepreneurs and small business owners through consulting and training, resulting in 42,644 jobs created, retained or saved; $5.8 billion in sales growth; $142.5 million in capital accessed; $210.2 million in government contract awards; and 486 new businesses started.

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

Jones Brothers, FSBDC, SBDC, Lake County, Tavares

Jones Brothers & Co. Air and Seaplane Adventures Growing with Assistance from FSBDC at UCF’s Lake County Office

Company Gains New Revenues, New Profits and New Ownership

February 16, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

Orlando, FL –    Tavares, Florida is called “America’s Seaplane City,” and for good reason. The city has made a significant commitment to the seaplane businesses that call the waters of Lake Dora home, including opening the Tavares Pavilion on the Lake, a magnificent wedding and conference facility, and the Tavares Seaplane Base.

Rob Galloway, owner and operator of Jones Brothers & Co. Air and Seaplane Adventures, saw opportunity in Tavares’ expanded aviation presence. Since 2010, Jones Brothers has been offering seaplane sightseeing trips of Florida and environs. More recently, it has added to its services one-way and round-trip charters, including fly-in guided fishing and hunting expeditions to the Everglades and romantic getaways to the Bahamas, as well as seaplane flight instruction and training.

When he joined Jones Brothers, Rob was its day-to-day operations manager. In that role, he often felt like he was “flying blind” because the company did not have a bone fide business plan. From his prior successful career in publishing, Rob knew a business plan would offer him important advantages in terms of process management, financial planning and growth for Jones Brothers.

At the suggestion of John Drury, City Administrator for Tavares, Rob turned to the Florida SBDC at UCF’s Lake County satellite office. There he attended training in business plan writing and took advantage of the FSBDC’s no-cost, expert, one-on-one consulting by working with Stan Austin, an FSBDC consultant and the local area manager. Together, they crafted a business plan for Jones Brothers that was actionable, measurable and information rich – just the tool Rob needed.

Over the next few years, Rob continued to call upon Stan and the FSBDC when he needed assistance, whether it was about developing marketing and growth strategies, overcoming barriers and roadblocks or identifying new revenue opportunities. The company prospered as it added services, added a new location in Mt. Dora and positioned itself to compete for government contracts.

Most recently, Rob set about to purchase Jones Brothers and become the sole owner. The FSBDC helped him update and strengthen the company’s business plan in preparation for obtaining the financing needed for the purchase. He also relied on the FSBDC’s Stan Austin to guide him about financing alternatives, business purchase best practices and negotiating strategies and tactics. All the work resulted in a very successful outcome: Rob became the sole owner and operator of Jones Brothers & Co. Air and Seaplane Adventures in December 2015.

“I can’t describe how helpful Stan and the FSBDC have been for me. I would recommend them to any business owner,” remarked Rob. “Thanks to the FSBDC, I was able to focus on what was important and make wiser decisions. And the results speak for themselves: last year Jones Brothers & Co. Air and Seaplane Adventures’ revenues grew by close to 20%, achieved its first profitable year and, on the strength of that performance, I was able to secure the financing to buy the company. Win-win-win.”

— FSBDC —

About the FSBDC at UCF

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

In 2014, the FSBDC at UCF served more than 8,200 entrepreneurs and small business owners through consulting and training, resulting in 12,387 Central Florida jobs created, retained or saved; $1.70 billion in sales growth; $26.1 million in capital formation; $39.7 million in government contract awards; and 105 new businesses started.

About the FSBDC Network

The FSBDC at UCF is a member of the Florida SBDC Network, a statewide service network funded in part through cooperative agreements with the U.S. Small Business Administration, Defense Logistics Agency, State of Florida and other private and public partners. The Florida SBDC Network is hosted by the University of West Florida and is nationally accredited by the Association of SBDCs. All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.

For over 35 years, the FSBDC Network has nourished a statewide partnership between higher education and economic development organizations, dedicated to providing emerging and established business owners with management and technical assistance, enabling overall growth and increased profitability for the businesses and economic prosperity for the state. The FSBDC Network is a statewide service system of 41 centers with 60 outreach locations, including the FSBDC at UCF.

In 2014, the Florida SBDCs served almost 30,000 entrepreneurs and small business owners through consulting and training, resulting in 42,644 jobs created, retained or saved; $5.8 billion in sales growth; $142.5 million in capital accessed; $210.2 million in government contract awards; and 486 new businesses started.

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

SBA, Small Business Administration

Fostering America’s Small Employers

Release Date: December 17, 2015    Contact: Nayana Sen 904-443-1933

Release Number: NFL 16-05

 

By Cassius F. Butts, Regional Administrator

U.S. Small Business Administration

Word Count approx.: 690

The economy added 211,000 jobs in November, 2015, marking the strongest three years of job creation since 2000 with 8.1 million jobs added. Our businesses have now added 13.7 million jobs over 69 straight months, extending the longest streak on record.

These records are possible thanks to America’s small businesses. Small businesses create nearly two out of three net, new jobs and account for almost half of America’s private nonfarm GDP. Besides being the force behind our economy, they are the unique fabric of our communities.

Recently, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation published a Main Street Entrepreneurship Index. It compares entrepreneurship rates among different demographic groups in all 50 states and America’s 40 largest metro hubs. If we want Main Street small businesses to flourish, we need to know where they stand. The Kauffman Index allows us to see which cities and states have fostered the right conditions for growth.

According to the Kauffman Index, small business activity is on the rise in 49 of the 50 U.S. states and 38 of the top 40 largest metropolitan areas this year. Efforts like the Kauffman Index provide a roadmap for state and local officials seeking to foster a climate for small business growth. I find this information extremely useful for our Southeastern small business communities.

Other valuable takeaways in the report:

  • In 2015, the index experienced the second-largest year-over-year growth in more than two decades;
  • Businesses owned by women, minorities, and immigrants are increasing;
  • The number of small business owners with college degrees is increasing, from 34% in 1997 to 39% today;
  • Despite the dynamic leadership potential of our Millennials and veterans, young entrepreneurs (ages 20-34) and veteran-owned firms are actually declining.

Several specific SBA initiatives target areas of concern identified by the Kauffman Index. SBA launched the My Brother’s Keeper Millennials Initiative to promote youth entrepreneurship in the nation’s underserved communities. We are partnering with community colleges to expose young people to innovative pathways to start a business, and we’re promoting a Business Smart toolkit to train nonprofits and faith-based organizations to teach financial literacy.

SBA’s Boots to Business initiative gives post-9/11 transitioning service members a tutorial on the basics of business ownership. The program is now active at more than 180 military installations worldwide and has introduced 32,000 service members and spouses to potential careers in entrepreneurship as they rejoin the civilian workforce. We also launched Boots to Business: Reboot to open up this innovative curriculum to veterans of every era.

SBA is partnering with cities on Startup in a Day to create an easy-to-use online tool that allows entrepreneurs to apply for all licenses and permits needed to start a business in less than a day.

Working with our resource partners in communities across this nation, SBA manages the world’s largest network of free small business advisers. We’ve also eliminated borrower and bank fees on small-dollar loans, so more Main Street entrepreneurs can get the working capital they need to hire and grow. Last year, SBA achieved record lending of $23.5 billion under our flagship 7(a) loan program, with loans up 18% for women, 23% for minorities, and 101% for veterans.

The North Florida District experienced an almost 40% increase in the number of loans 7(a) loans in FY2014 from 627 loans worth $344 million to 877 loans worth $420 million FY2015. The district increased lending for Veterans from FY2014 to FY2015 by 122%, from $16 million to $37 million. The increase is attributed to the Veterans Advantage Initiative, which reduced all upfront fees to zero for veterans on loans up to $350,000 in FY2015. The initiative will continue in FY2016 for loans under $150,000 and will be reduced by 50% for loans greater than that.

Helping more Americans start and grow Main Street businesses is a core mission of the SBA. We hope you reach out to jumpstart and scale up your small business. Check out sba.gov/local for your nearest SBA local office.

Grassroots Interactive, FSBDC, SBDC, Daytona State College

GrassRoots Interactive Center Introduces Unique Extra-Curricular Activity for Children in Ormond Beach

Florida SBDC at Daytona State College Assists Founders

December 1, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Art Zimmet, Consultant, FSBDC at Daytona State College, 386-506-3252 or zimmeta@daytonastate.edu

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

Orlando – When the founders of GrassRoots Interactive Center, Rebecca Railsback and Amy Annon, decided to start their business, they had a clear vision of what they wanted it to be: all about their customers. But they knew they needed to translate that vision into a business plan. With both having parents and spouses who are Ormond Beach entrepreneurs and business owners themselves, Amy and Rebecca knew how important a business plan is to the success of a new company.

GrassRoots Interactive Center is a place where parents, grandparents and care givers can bring their child or children, ages 1 – 5, to interact, socialize, play, learn and relate. The magic in GrassRoots – and what makes it a cut above daycare or pre-school – is that the adults stays at the Center with their child. Along with bonding with their child, these parents and care givers have the opportunity to connect with and gain the support of those are who are in the same child care role they are.

Rebecca and Amy believed this business model was a winning proposition when they wrote their business plan but wanted professional input and confirmation. And that’s when they turned to the Florida SBDC at UCF’s Daytona State College sub-center for help. They had previously taken advantage of the business training workshops offered by the FSBDC and now wanted to benefit from the no-cost, expert consulting services it offered.

The consulting provided by the FSBDC at Daytona State College went beyond vetting the business plan. Their FSBDC consultant, Art Zimmet, came to the GrassRoots location and coached, guided and mentored Rebecca and Amy through a constructive and informative process to build their marketing plan. “Working with the FSBDC has been great,” remarked Rebecca. “Art has been such an asset. There are so many things he opened our eyes to and helped us with. There is so much about marketing we wouldn’t have known without his help,” she finished.

Over the course of the consulting engagement, the FSBDC aided GrassRoots in multiple ways. Art helped Amy and Rebecca adjust their business when, as is always the case, day-to-day operations turned out to be different than what they’d thought it would be in their business plan. He provided them with information and guidance and, most important, the confidence to overcome their doubts and make hard decisions, including moving to a membership business model that’s sent revenues up 470% and strengthened their relationship with their customers and children. He guided Rebecca and Amy in identifying the core value that GrassRoots offered its customers:  beyond the wonderful parent-child bonding the Center facilitates, a more important role it plays is to give parents and care givers a break, enable them to connect with other parents and get the support of those in a similar situation.

Today, GrassRoots Interactive Center is an Ormond Beach and small business success story. Membership numbers are healthy, classes are well attended and special events like birthday parties are adding to revenues almost every month. And the community is better served by the addition of a center offering unique extra-curricular activities for children.

“The FSBDC is the best hidden secret in town for small business,” commented Amy. “I can’t stress enough how valuable their help is. And all at a great price: nothing! It’s really the right first step for someone wanting to open a business, and even for existing business owners, to get them on a pathway to success.”

— FSBDC —

About the FSBDC at UCF

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

In 2014, the FSBDC at UCF served more than 8,200 entrepreneurs and small business owners through consulting and training, resulting in 12,387 Central Florida jobs created, retained or saved; $1.70 billion in sales growth; $26.1 million in capital formation; $39.7 million in government contract awards; and 105 new businesses started.

About the FSBDC Network

The FSBDC at UCF is a member of the Florida SBDC Network, a statewide service network funded in part through cooperative agreements with the U.S. Small Business Administration, Defense Logistics Agency, State of Florida and other private and public partners. The Florida SBDC Network is hosted by the University of West Florida and is nationally accredited by the Association of SBDCs. All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.

For over 35 years, the FSBDC Network has nourished a statewide partnership between higher education and economic development organizations, dedicated to providing emerging and established business owners with management and technical assistance, enabling overall growth and increased profitability for the businesses and economic prosperity for the state. The FSBDC Network is a statewide service system of 41 centers with 60 outreach locations, including the FSBDC at UCF.

In 2014, the Florida SBDCs served almost 30,000 entrepreneurs and small business owners through consulting and training, resulting in 42,644 jobs created, retained or saved; $5.8 billion in sales growth; $142.5 million in capital accessed; $210.2 million in government contract awards; and 486 new businesses started.

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

Wilson Equipment, FSBDC, Valerie Wilson, Hunt Dawkins

New Ownership at Ocoee’s Wilson Equipment Etc. Receives Valuable Assistance from the Florida SBDC at UCF

FSBDC Assists with Purchase and Addition of Financial Controls

November 23, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

Orlando – Buying a business can be fraught with risks, even if you already work for the company. And that was the case for Valerie Wilson. She and a partner owned Wilson Equipment Etc., a company in the business of selling water filtration systems for food service equipment. The filters perform a crucial function by removing the taste and odor of chlorine from the water used by equipment like ice machines, steamers and soda systems while at the same time reducing or eliminating the amount of scale build-up inside the machines which reduces their efficiency. The partner wanted to sell her half of the company and Valerie was interested.

As she looked at purchasing the business from her partner, removing or at least minimizing the risks in buying were a top priority for Valerie.  Questions like “is it the right price?”, “are the cash flows adequate to cover a loan?”, “how do I obtain a loan?”, “am I prepared to run this business alone?” describe the risks she saw that needed answers. Fortunately, Valerie knew where to turn.

Based on her own previous experience, as well as that of her father from years ago, Valerie turned to the Florida SBDC at UCF. Initially she wanted help with producing a business plan, but then the opportunities offered by the FSBDC quickly turned her initial goal into much more. And Valerie couldn’t be happier with the outcome.

“My experience with FSBDC at UCF has been very positive on multiple fronts,” says Valerie. “My FSBDC consultant, Hunt Dawkins, was my cheerleader. He helped me determine a fair value for the company, see opportunities for growth, and find ways to make myself a better business owner. We developed strategies to make the business more profitable and put in place financial controls like budgets and forecasts that made the numbers make more sense for me.”

And the results have been extremely positive. Valerie was able to buy the company. Profits are up at Wilson Equipment Etc. and she has put the company on a consistent growth path. She has found new ways to leverage the fact that hers is a certified woman-owned business. By partnering with a much larger manufacturers rep company who could take advantage of her company’s woman-owned status and who could add her filters to a vast product list that will be put in front of customers that would probably not have found Wilson Equipment Etc otherwise, Valerie has found an important new sales channel for her products.

When asked what she would say to other entrepreneurs and business owners considering seeking assistance from the FSBDC, Valerie didn’t hold back. “The FSBDC is a great resource. Do it. Run to them,” she says. “I myself have referred people to the FSBDC and gotten nothing but great feedback. When I bought the company, my role changed from sales to business owner and it was the FSBDC gave me the business knowledge I needed and taught me how to run a successful business.”

— FSBDC —

About the FSBDC at UCF

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

In 2014, the FSBDC at UCF served more than 8,200 entrepreneurs and small business owners through consulting and training, resulting in 12,387 Central Florida jobs created, retained or saved; $1.70 billion in sales growth; $26.1 million in capital formation; $39.7 million in government contract awards; and 105 new businesses started.

About the FSBDC Network

The FSBDC at UCF is a member of the Florida SBDC Network, a statewide service network funded in part through cooperative agreements with the U.S. Small Business Administration, Defense Logistics Agency, State of Florida and other private and public partners. The Florida SBDC Network is hosted by the University of West Florida and is nationally accredited by the Association of SBDCs. All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.

For over 35 years, the FSBDC Network has nourished a statewide partnership between higher education and economic development organizations, dedicated to providing emerging and established business owners with management and technical assistance, enabling overall growth and increased profitability for the businesses and economic prosperity for the state. The FSBDC Network is a statewide service system of 41 centers with 60 outreach locations, including the FSBDC at UCF.

In 2014, the Florida SBDCs served almost 30,000 entrepreneurs and small business owners through consulting and training, resulting in 42,644 jobs created, retained or saved; $5.8 billion in sales growth; $142.5 million in capital accessed; $210.2 million in government contract awards; and 486 new businesses started.

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

Chill Pop Lounge, LaThesia Hardy, Chuck Wheeler,

Chill Pop Lounge Launches with Assistance from FSBDC at UCF’s Office in Kissimmee/Osceola County

Gourmet Popsicle and Ice Cream Shop Enjoying Strong Start in St. Cloud

November 16, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

Orlando – LaThesia Hardy – everybody calls her “Te” – is one of the smart ones: she knows what she doesn’t know. She knows she has a successful career in the pharmaceutical industry. But now she’s been bitten by the entrepreneurial bug and she didn’t know which way to go or even how or where to start.

So “Te” decided to start at the beginning. That’s when she found the Florida SBDC at UCF s office in Kissimmee/Osceola County. She attended the seminars and workshops offered by the FSBDC about starting a business and business fundamentals. As a result, she built her competence and confidence in her abilities related to the many facets of running her own business that she did not know.

Building from the base she gained in the seminars, she engaged with one of the FSBDC’s consultants and took advantage of their confidential, no-cost, expert counseling. Together with her consultant, she tackled putting together her ideas for the company she wanted to start and addressing the multiple questions about her start-up that would need to be answered.

“My experience with the FSBDC has been tremendous,” “Te” says. “It was great to go to the seminars and learn what I needed to learn and then have access to high quality consulting and mentorship outside of the seminars.”

As with all entrepreneurial endeavors, there were bumps in the road. “Te” was comfortable with writing her business plan because her vision for her company was clear and she knew she’d be able to articulate her goals and plans. But then there were the financial projections. They brought “Te” to a standstill. Without a background in finance, the prospect of doing sales and revenue and expense forecasts was daunting for her.

And so she turned again to her FSBDC consultant for assistance. “I was able to complete most of my business plan but I wouldn’t have been able to do the financials, “ “Te” acknowledged. “But with my FSBDC consultant Chuck Wheeler’s help, I was able to understand the financial end of my business, what I could afford and not afford and how to make reliable projections of my company’s financial performance.

All of “Te”s hard work and wise use of the FSBDC enabled her to launch her company, Chill Pop Lounge, in July of this year on N. Narcoossee Rd. in St. Cloud, FL. The Chill Pop Lounge specializes in gourmet frozen treats, with specialty ice cream choices this year and innovative – as well as gourmet and fabulous – ice popsicles starting in 2016. The business is off to a great start, and “Te” is looking forward to expanding and bringing new employees on board in the next few months. Her brother, Reginald Adams, who is retiring from the military, will co-manage the Chill Pop Lounge starting in January 2016.

“I would say to any would-be entrepreneur out there: use the FSBDC’s services!” concluded “Te”. “They have everything you need to start a business, write a business plan, and understand finances. If being an entrepreneur is not necessarily your forte, the FSBDC is the place to be.”

— FSBDC —

About the FSBDC at UCF

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

In 2014, the FSBDC at UCF served more than 8,200 entrepreneurs and small business owners through consulting and training, resulting in 12,387 Central Florida jobs created, retained or saved; $1.70 billion in sales growth; $26.1 million in capital formation; $39.7 million in government contract awards; and 105 new businesses started.

About the FSBDC Network

The FSBDC at UCF is a member of the Florida SBDC Network, a statewide service network funded in part through cooperative agreements with the U.S. Small Business Administration, Defense Logistics Agency, State of Florida and other private and public partners. The Florida SBDC Network is hosted by the University of West Florida and is nationally accredited by the Association of SBDCs. All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.

For over 35 years, the FSBDC Network has nourished a statewide partnership between higher education and economic development organizations, dedicated to providing emerging and established business owners with management and technical assistance, enabling overall growth and increased profitability for the businesses and economic prosperity for the state. The FSBDC Network is a statewide service system of 41 centers with 60 outreach locations, including the FSBDC at UCF.

In 2014, the Florida SBDCs served almost 30,000 entrepreneurs and small business owners through consulting and training, resulting in 42,644 jobs created, retained or saved; $5.8 billion in sales growth; $142.5 million in capital accessed; $210.2 million in government contract awards; and 486 new businesses started.

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

DrW Institute, SBDC, Small Business, Success Story, Dr. Wanda Bonet-Gascot

DRW Life Skills Institute’s Emotional Intelligence Curriculum Drives Company Success

Florida SBDC at UCF’s Kissimmee/Osceola County Office Provides Vital Assistance

November 3, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

Ever wonder how that colleague of yours at work always manages to successfully navigate around the day-to-day drama that seems to exist in every modern company?  Have you wished you had more of what they have? In fact, you probably have more of that special quality than you think.

That special quality is called emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence (EQ) is the ability to identify, use, understand, and manage emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathize with others, overcome challenges, and defuse conflict.

Dr. Wanda Bonet-GascotIt recognized that EQ is an under-emphasized skill set in today’s business and personal life. Seeing that gap, she undertook to build an emotional intelligence educational institution that would teach EQ coaching skills and help create careers for EQ coaching professionals. And from there, the EQ coaches and trainers could begin training individuals and corporations in emotional intelligence skills that will help them manage their personal relationships and improve their leadership abilities.

So was born the DRW Life Skills Institute, based in Kissimmee, Florida. Like all new concepts, it was an uphill fight at the outset. Although DRW joined the UCF Business Incubator in Kissimmee and benefited from their support, as time passed the company found it was having trouble attracting audiences to their seminars and didn’t know what next to do.

It was at that moment that Wanda decided to step back and look for additional assistance. She decided she wanted to work “on’ her business, not just ‘in’ her business is how she describes it. She turned to the Florida SBDC at UCF’s office in Kissimmee/Osceola County for the help she needed.

It started with her attending a FSBDC seminar where she learned about its services: no-cost, confidential consulting, seminars and workshops, and extensive information resources. Wanda latched onto the consulting services and made an appointment to meet with Rafael Pratts, the FSBDC area manager for the Kissimmee/Osceola County Office.

“I decided that brainstorming with an expert like Rafael was my best option,” says Wanda, “and I was right.” They reviewed DRW’s business plan, assessed new options and dug down into the company’s value proposition. “They are so welcoming, honest, calm, thoughtful, and analytical,” Wanda states. “As an entrepreneur, I rely  upon the FSBDC to help me with guidance to make better decisions about where I want to take the Institute.”

Based on their discussions, the company set out on an expanded path built around offering a complete emotional intelligence curriculum aimed at those wanting a career in EQ and a meaningful return-on-investment from their Institute tuition.  And the transition has worked. The DRW Life Skills Institute is looking forward to graduating 25 coaches in December 2105 and is looking at international and domestic expansion plans.

“The FSBDC has been and is an amazing resource,” concluded Wanda. “For those entrepreneurs and business owners looking for that push, that mentorship, that information which will get them over hurdles in the market and up to the next level of success, the FSBDC is the place to go.”

RE Plumbing, SBDC, Seminole County

Florida SBDC at Seminole State College’s Advisory Board Council Helps R. E. Martin Plumbing Grow its Business

Local Commercial Plumber Credits Seminole ABC with Enabling Company to Work ‘On’ its Business, Not Just ‘In’ It.

November 3, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

Orlando, FL – There are times in every business’s evolution when it can feel to management like they’ve taken their company’s growth as far as they can. Often they are unsure about what to do next if they are to continue growing the business.

And that is where Robert Martin, president of R. E. Martin Plumbing, Inc., and his management team of Vice President (and Dad) Bob Martin and Chief Administrator (and wife) Juanita found themselves in early 2014. The company had had success providing commercial plumbing services to the hospitality, medical and light industrial industries but now felt like they’d come to a standstill and taken the company as far as they could take it.

Fortunately, Juanita was just graduating from Seminole State College. She turned to the school’s Career Development Center which recommended the company talk with a consultant at the Florida SBDC at UCF’s Seminole State College sub-center. After an initial meeting in which the company’s current situation and needs were accessed with guidance from the FSBDC’s Seminole State manager Amy Kirkland, it was decided that R. E. Martin would apply for the FSBDC’s Seminole Advisory Board Council (SABC) program.

An FSBDC Advisory Board Council is a no-cost board of experts providing advice and council to help businesses grow.  The program acts as a matchmaker between established businesses and area professionals who volunteer their expertise as members of an advisory board, with the volunteers selected explicitly and specifically to address the needs of the FSBDC client. The ABC meets periodically, usually quarterly, to review the company’s business and recommend action steps to drive growth.

In short order, the company was accepted into the program. The FSBDC went to work putting together an advisory board comprised of volunteers especially suited to assisting R. E. Martin with their unique challenges. The company’s ABC had their first meeting in mid-2014 and dug into the company’s marketing, financial management and operations to find new or better avenues for growth.

The collaboration between R. E. Martin and its Advisory Board Council has been extremely successful. “With the SBDC’s help, we have been able to move forward and progress to our current stage,” commented Robert Martin. “Since we started with our Advisory Board Council, we have doubled our revenues and doubled our number of employees. We have a new focus on our marketing that’s helped us in the marketplace. And we are looking forward to the continued support of our ABC and the FSBDC for future growth.”

“If you are an entrepreneur coming out of the field, as I was,” Robert went on, “you know the work side but not necessarily the business side of your company. The SBDC helps you branch out and start working on the business, not just in the business.”

VP Bob Martin summarized R. E. Martin’s FSBDC experience best, Robert says, when Bob said, “If you truly want to grow your business, you will want to work with the FSBDC.”

— FSBDC —

About the FSBDC at UCF

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

In 2014, the FSBDC at UCF served more than 8,200 entrepreneurs and small business owners through consulting and training, resulting in 12,387 Central Florida jobs created, retained or saved; $1.70 billion in sales growth; $26.1 million in capital formation; $39.7 million in government contract awards; and 105 new businesses started.

About the FSBDC Network

The FSBDC at UCF is a member of the Florida SBDC Network, a statewide service network funded in part through cooperative agreements with the U.S. Small Business Administration, Defense Logistics Agency, State of Florida and other private and public partners. The Florida SBDC Network is hosted by the University of West Florida and is nationally accredited by the Association of SBDCs. All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.

For over 35 years, the FSBDC Network has nourished a statewide partnership between higher education and economic development organizations, dedicated to providing emerging and established business owners with management and technical assistance, enabling overall growth and increased profitability for the businesses and economic prosperity for the state. The FSBDC Network is a statewide service system of 41 centers with 60 outreach locations, including the FSBDC at UCF.

In 2014, the Florida SBDCs served almost 30,000 entrepreneurs and small business owners through consulting and training, resulting in 42,644 jobs created, retained or saved; $5.8 billion in sales growth; $142.5 million in capital accessed; $210.2 million in government contract awards; and 486 new businesses started.

FSBDC at UCF | 3201 E. Colonial Drive | Orlando, FL 32801 | p 407.420.4850 | f 407.420.4862

ScreenWorks USA, FSBDC, Business Consulting

Screenworks USA Managing its Dramatic Growth With Assistance from the FSBDC Advisory Board Council

Florida FSBDC at UCF Program Provides High Level Support

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 27, 2015

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

For a small to medium-sized business, growth can be as much of a challenge as a revenue decline. And managing rapid growth was the problem, albeit a good problem, confronting Screenworks USA, a multi-million dollar screen printing, embroidery and dye sublimation business that supplies theme parks and other entertainment companies with customized apparel (t-shirts) and other wearables.

Co-owners Sharad Mehta, President and Brian DiZavala, Executive Vice President and COO wanted to be certain they were steering Screenworks and its growing business in the right direction. Based upon very positive past experiences Mehta had had with the Florida SBDC at UCF and its Advisory Board Council program, the company applied for and was approved for another  Advisory Board Council.

The Florida SBDC at UCF’s Advisory Board Council (ABC) is an economic development program that creates a no-cost professional advisory service for local companies. By acting as a matchmaker between businesses and volunteer advisors, all of whom are professionals in the community, the Advisory Board Council program acts to provide companies with business expertise that can directly address the company’s issues and that would otherwise be cost prohibitive and unavailable to a small to medium- sized business.  And the contribution that Advisory Board Council assistance can make covers many sides of a business including operations, marketing, financial management, cost reduction, leadership development and succession planning, among others.

Mehta and DiZavala worked with Advisory Board Council Program Manager Jill Kaufman, who hand-picked a team of board members to address the company’s needs and manage their growth. Experts in corporate finance, operations and marketing, comprised Screenworks’ board of advisors. The Board met with Mehta and DiZavala quarterly for review and counseling on a variety of issues, including operations and growth management strategies.

Over the course of the board’s tenure, Mehta and DiZavala made some important decisions about how they wanted to grow their business going forward and took some strategic options they were considering off the table. “We had very experienced people on our board. We made sure we were well prepared for each meeting and had a clear picture of our company’s direction and our financial performance,” Mehta said. “As a result, over time a strategy for the company’s growth became clear.”

According to Mehta and DiZavala, the assistance of their Advisory Board Council has paid handsome dividends for Screenworks. “Our success has come as a result of some of the efforts of our Advisory Board and has helped us not only quadruple our sales but also increase our employee base by about 100 and build our building,” remarked DiZavala.

“I do not think any business which is growing should be without an Advisory Board Council,” commented Mehta. “Every business can benefit from using not only the services of the FSBDC but also an Advisory Board Council.  I wouldn’t want to be a company without an ABC.  And I recommend every business in Central Florida avail themselves of all the resources that the FSBDC offers.”

— FSBDC —

About the FSBDC at UCF

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

In 2014, the FSBDC at UCF served more than 8,200 entrepreneurs and small business owners through consulting and training, resulting in 12,387 Central Florida jobs created, retained or saved; $1.70 billion in sales growth; $26.1 million in capital formation; $39.7 million in government contract awards; and 105 new businesses started.

About the FSBDC Network

The FSBDC at UCF is a member of the Florida SBDC Network, a statewide service network funded in part through cooperative agreements with the U.S. Small Business Administration, Defense Logistics Agency, State of Florida and other private and public partners. The Florida SBDC Network is hosted by the University of West Florida and is nationally accredited by the Association of SBDCs. All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.

For over 35 years, the FSBDC Network has nourished a statewide partnership between higher education and economic development organizations, dedicated to providing emerging and established business owners with management and technical assistance, enabling overall growth and increased profitability for the businesses and economic prosperity for the state. The FSBDC Network is a statewide service system of 41 centers with 60 outreach locations, including the FSBDC at UCF.

In 2014, the Florida SBDCs served almost 30,000 entrepreneurs and small business owners through consulting and training, resulting in 42,644 jobs created, retained or saved; $5.8 billion in sales growth; $142.5 million in capital accessed; $210.2 million in government contract awards; and 486 new businesses started.

FSBDC at UCF | 3201 E. Colonial Drive | Orlando, FL 32801 | p 407.420.4850 | f 407.420.4862

sbdc@ucf.edu | www.sbdcorlando.com

Jolly Roger's Guns, Gold & Pawn Umatilla, Lake County, FL

Jolly Roger’s Opens in Umatilla

FSBDC at UCF in Lake County Assists Local Start-up Business

Contact: Stan Austin, Area Manager, FSBDC at UCF in Lake County, 407.529.8774 or stan.austin@ucf.edu

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

July 14, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Orlando – After a long and respected career with Lake County Fire Rescue, Roger Minger was ready for his life’s second act. He knew he wanted to be an entrepreneur and business owner. And for some time he’d had in mind opening a retail store that offered fast, safe and convenient collateralized loans as well as fire arms for sale. It had an appealing business model and Roger saw demand for its offerings in his community. The challenge was how to get started down the right path toward success.

Roger started by looking for support and assistance locally, and found the Florida SBDC at UCF of Lake County. It offered no-cost consulting, seminars and workshops and information resources; all services that Roger thought would help him get his business started.

“I knew there was a lot I didn’t know and a lot I needed to learn,” Roger says. “And the local FSBDC and my consultant Stan Austin offered everything I needed to get my business started.”  Areas of special concern to Roger that the FSBDC could help him with included government regulation, current tax requirements and how best to market his new business.

In response to these concerns, Roger enrolled in a series of seminars and began taking advantage of the FSBDC’s no-cost, unlimited professional consulting. In so doing, he gained command of key business principles and functions and, with his consultant Stan Austin’s assistance, put together a business plan to guide the start-up and management of his new business.

Roger gives the FSBDC significant credit for getting his business off to a strong start. “I can’t say enough good things about the FSBDC,” he commented. “They are wonderful. The FSBDC taught me so much and I’ve gone back and used what I’ve learned over and over again. It’s here, it’s local and it’s free. The FSBDC is just a great thing that’s hard to beat.”

Today, Jolly Roger’s Gold Gun and Pawn Inc. is open for business in Umatilla, providing the community with much needed access to collateralized loans, as well as buying and selling gold and firearms. He continues as an FSBDC client, taking classes and relying on Stan Austin as his business mentor and consultant. He often comments on the best advice he ever got, and it was from Stan, “Slow Down,” because he says slowing down at critical junctures saved him from making some potentially disastrous mistakes.

“I don’t think you start can a business without the FSBDC if you want to be successful,” concluded Roger. “The type of information you get and the classes are invaluable. And assistance from experts like Stan Austin makes all the difference.”

— FSBDC —

About the FSBDC at UCF

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

In 2014, the FSBDC at UCF served more than 8,200 entrepreneurs and small business owners through consulting and training, resulting in 12,387 Central Florida jobs created, retained or saved; $1.70 billion in sales growth; $26.1 million in capital formation; $39.7 million in government contract awards; and 105 new businesses started.

About the FSBDC Network

The FSBDC at UCF is a member of the Florida SBDC Network, a statewide service network funded in part through cooperative agreements with the U.S. Small Business Administration, Defense Logistics Agency, State of Florida and other private and public partners. The Florida SBDC Network is hosted by the University of West Florida and is nationally accredited by the Association of SBDCs. All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.

For over 35 years, the FSBDC Network has nourished a statewide partnership between higher education and economic development organizations, dedicated to providing emerging and established business owners with management and technical assistance, enabling overall growth and increased profitability for the businesses and economic prosperity for the state. The FSBDC Network is a statewide service system of 41 centers with 60 outreach locations, including the FSBDC at UCF.

In 2014, the Florida SBDCs served almost 30,000 entrepreneurs and small business owners through consulting and training, resulting in 42,644 jobs created, retained or saved; $5.8 billion in sales growth; $142.5 million in capital accessed; $210.2 million in government contract awards; and 486 new businesses started.

FSBDC at UCF | 3201 E. Colonial Drive | Orlando, FL 32801 | p 407.420.4850 | f 407.420.4862

sbdc@ucf.edu | www.sbdcorlando.com