FSBDC, UCF, Business Consulting

Pesto Diva

Business Woman Takes Dreams to Next Level with Whole Foods Contract

Anna Mele loves to cook and started Pesto Diva in 1997, making nine flavors of pesto for sale every Saturday at the Winter Park Farmers Market. This all-natural Pesto became a popular local item. The big break to take her business beyond the farmers market came in 2008 when a Whole Foods representative and regular customer expressed interest in offering her pesto in two Central Florida stores, Winter Park and Dr. Phillips.

“The counseling provided by the SBDC at UCF went beyond the business fundamentals… the personal involvement and mentoring was more important than the numbers.”

Anna Mele
Pesto Diva

From her home, Anna produced the 18 to 20+ cases per week to meet a demand that was growing. In early 2009,Whole Foods notified Anna of their desire to expand the distribution to all 16 stores statewide through their distribution center in Naples. A small business owner’s dream comes true? Anna now faced the real challenges of taking her business to the next level. Production was going to increase to 150 to 300 cases per month which required professional kitchen space, walk in freezers, container and ingredients inventory, employees, billing/invoicing, pallet size shipments and most importantly working capital.

Anna looked to the SBDC at UCF for assistance, she and SBDC counselor, Roger Greenwald, CBA, stepped back and prepared an operations plan detailing the needs, cost and time lines. Additionally, a financial pro forma was developed as a platform to secure necessary funding. Anna was successful in obtaining private funding enabling her to inventory containers, ingredients, rent kitchen space and have adequate working capital to produce and deliver an initial order exceeding 80 cases representing nearly 960 product units.

FSBDC, UCF, Business Consulting

Scribbles, Your Little Home Learning Center

Providing piece of mind, convenience and quality service to working parents is the goal of Scribbles, Your Little Home Learning Center. After three years and much thought, Adriana Hoyos and Thamara Sanchez were ready to launch their business. Being new to Central Florida the question was where to go to obtain guidance.

“We would definitely recommend the services of the SBDC at UCF – they are here to help businesses succeed”

Adriana Sanchez
Scribbles, Your Little Home Learning Center

In August 2009, Adriana scheduled an appointment at the SBDC at UCF – Kissimmee to learn about starting a business in Osceola County. “I found it comforting to know that there was someone bilingual that I could speak to. I manage English but it is not the same thing when your first language is Spanish and you need to make decisions; you want to make sure you understand clearly what it involves, especially a decision as opening your own business.”

The major challenges the client faced were getting to know Osceola County and understanding the processes required to start the business. The SBDC at UCF – Kissimmee assisted Adriana through one-on-one counseling, developing the business plan, guiding her in the right direction for licensing registration and providing access to resources. “[The SBDC at UCF – Kissimmee] emphasized the importance of my financials making sure that I knew accurate start-up costs and operating expenses to ensure we were properly capitalized since we were not seeking outside financing.”

In November 2009, Adriana and Thamara opened Scribbles, Your Little Home Learning Center, a learning and tutoring center located in Celebration, Florida. The mission of the center is to strengthen academic skills, through educational and playful activities, to achieve high motivation and improve school performance. They have created an environment where kids can learn and have fun at the same time. Adriana and Thamara continue to use the services of the SBDC at UCF – Kissimmee for assistance in marketing and training.

FSBDC, UCF, Business Consulting

Pet Street Veterinary Care Center

Following the American Dream—Owning your own home with a yard for children and pets to play plus having your own business for many around the world is the “American Dream”. On October 12, 2009, Dr. Willem-Jan van Deijck, DVM realized his dream and opened the doors of his new “State of the Art” veterinary clinic: Pet Street Veterinary Care Center.

“They [the SBDC] can give you lots of information and advice. I strongly recommend businesses starting out to go there first.”

Dr. Willem-Jan van Deijck, Owner
Pet Street Veterinary Care Center

Ten years before this momentous event the journey began with graduation in 1999 from the University of Utrecht, The Netherlands. He then spent six years sharing his time in a very busy 24/7 emergency animal hospital in Rotterdam, on a national TV show on veterinary care and teaching ambulance personnel emergency care for animals. At the end of 2005, Dr. Willem-Jan van Deijck, his wife Barbara and two children moved to sunny Palm Coast, Florida and began working as a full time veterinarian in a successful local clinic.

After finding that veterinary practice in the United States, especially private clinic work, was very rewarding he was ready to fulfill his desire to run his own business. This would give him the opportunity to develop systems to provide the newest and best treatments for his clientele. He was confident that his clinical knowledge and Barbara’s business experience would be a successful combination for their own business. Their education in research practices served them well as they began planning their business. They used trade association and SBA information to uncover resources that would assist their business start up.

They met with the SBDC at UCF’s sub-center at Daytona State College to get guidance on their business plan, financing and marketing strategies. They also used SBDC online and campus workshops to gain additional information. After developing a confident feasibility analysis, a thorough business plan, and site selection they were able to get a $400,000 loan from Bank of America to set up their state of the Art Veterinary Hospital in Ormond Beach. Dr. Van Deijck spoke highly of the Small Business Development Center at Daytona State College- “They can give you lots of information and advice. I strongly recommend businesses starting out go there first”. “The first eight months have been a huge learning curve, but I’m glad I did it” states Dr Van Deijck. The Daytona branch of the SBDC for the University of Central Florida has been a valuable partner for Pet Street Veterinary Care Center not only as an information center but also promoting the practice with the media and throughout the community.

www.petstreet.us

FSBDC, UCF, Business Consulting

Engineering & Computer Simulations (ECS)

Waymon Armstrong, president and CEO of Orlando-based Engineering and Computer Simulations, Inc., (ECS) was named the 2010 National Small Business Person of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration during National Small Business Week in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, May 25.

President and CEO of ECS, Waymon Armstrong, Named 2010 Small Business Person of the Year

A client of the Small Business Development Center at UCF (SBDC at UCF), the SBDC at UCF honored Armstrong, his family and ECS staff for being named Florida’s 2010 Small Business Person of the Year during the SBDC’s small business awards luncheon at the Citrus Club on Tuesday, May 18. Armstrong, who started ECS in 1997, experienced challenging times in the early years of business. After the 9/11 tragedy it became impossible for Armstrong to make payroll and he was forced to layoff employees. To keep ECS afloat, Armstrong deferred his salary for more than three years. To overcome the challenges he faced, Armstrong actively sought assistance from the SBDC at UCF in 2003 including participation in the Center’s six-part strategy planning workshop series. The six-part program, sponsored by Orange County Government, was designed to assist established business owners with analyzing the external environment and competition, building a unique brand, developing collaborative relationships to build a competitive advantage, determining capital needs, and evaluating and developing corporate resources and direction. Through his determination to succeed, Armstrong focused on developing long-term strategies. By 2008, ECS doubled its revenues and has seen a 640% sales growth over the past three years.

Today, ECS is one of Inc. Magazine’s 500 fastest growing private companies in the nation. “Waymon Armstrong is truly deserving of this prestigious national award. He is an extraordinary entrepreneur and is an ideal role model for small businesses across the nation. Congratulations to Waymon and all the employees at ECS,” said Thomas L. Keon, dean of the UCF College of Business Administration. “I also applaud Eunice Choi and her staff at the SBDC for their continued success working with clients.” ECS is a leading provider of gamed-based simulation systems and interactive performance assessment tools that train emergency medial personnel and emergency management teams from different jurisdictions to cooperate in the event of a natural disaster, and simulation training programs that teach unmanned vehicle operational personnel procedures to launch and operate unmanned vehicles. ECS currently employs 45 people and recruits from the Central Florida talent pool.

FSBDC, UCF, Business Consulting

Studio K

Kristin Weissman loves dance and dreamed of owning her own dance studio catering to young adults/adults. For 15 years she worked in an executive role in the industries of Public Relations, Marketing and Special Events. However, Kristin’s heartfelt passion has always been the art of dance. From an early age Kristin studied many varieties of dance styles. It was this continued passion that encouraged her to leave the corporate lifestyle and instead leverage her work history in partnership with her passion, to pursue her dream – the creation of Studio K.

“The counseling provided by the SBDC at UCF went beyond the purely business aspects…”

Kristin Weissman, Owner
Studio K

In October 2008 Kristin committed herself to actively pursuing the dream and looked to the SBDC at UCF for direction and assistance. Over the next two years, Roger Greenwald, CBA worked closely with Kristin developing her business plan with financial pro forma(s), industry and local research, operational and marketing plans and preparing the required documentation to obtain the necessary funding.

Kristin’s success, a combination of focused passion, hard work, excellent planning and a strong character, resulted in a new business “start-up” loan. A rarity in the economic environment of the past two years.

“The counseling provided by the SBDC at UCF went beyond the purely business aspects; I believe that without their personal involvement, mentoring and encouragement Studio K might not be.”

Kristin’s Studio K opened to a packed house October 16, 2010 and will employ 2 full time staff and 11 part time dance instructors.

For more about Kristin and Studio K visit www.studiokorlando.com.

FSBDC, UCF, Business Consulting

Above and Beyond Limousines

Not once during Herman Johnson III’s 20 plus year naval career did his passion for vintage automobiles wand. So, upon his retirement in 2007 Herman started his business “Above and Beyond Limousines”, assembling a fleet of 9 vintage rides, which includes a caddy Excalibur, a 68” Chevy, and custom stretch limos, Bentley, Rolls and Jaguar.

“I believe we would not have been successful in obtaining the loan if it were not for the advice and direction provided by the SBDC at UCF.”

Herman Johnson, Owner
Above and Beyond Limousines

From the very beginning Above and Beyond has attracted the high profile client seeking the “splashy”, entertainers and professional sports figures as well as the more conventional wedding and prom clients.

As the business matured and grew Herman recognized the importance of maintaining his cars to the highest quality standards and competitive uniqueness. Redoing exteriors and interiors is expensive; Herman needed a loan, a daunting task in 2010. He turned to the SBDC at UCF for direction. With the assistance of Roger Greenwald, CBA Herman prepared the necessary elements, a clear and compelling business plan, supportive financial pro forma(s), personal financial statements and prior year’s performance financials, to seek lending.

In the 2nd quarter of this year Borrego Springs Bank approved the required loan (SBA 7a) amount enabling the restorations and the acquisition of a 10th classic ride. The business is enjoying its best year ever, anticipating in excess of $250,000 in sales. The growth has resulted in 3 new full time employees and the addition of 3 part time drivers.

I believe we would not have been successful in obtaining the loan, if it were not for the advice and direction provided by the SBDC at UCF.” “It’s difficult enough to get funding, thanks to SBDC we did it the right way” says Herman.

FSBDC, UCF, Business Consulting

Hibernia Nursery

This is a true and modern tale about Irishman David Counihan, who at the age of 21, landed on the shores of Miami, with the lust for adventure. After a few years, many different paths, and knowledge gained, he realized he loved horticulture and nature. He worked himself into the commercial business of tree farming and now is the proud owner of Hibernia nursery located in Webster (Sumter County) Florida. During his journey he saw that there was great potential in growing ornamental trees and shrubs for the commercial landscaping business.

“The SBDC is a great source of support and information.”

David Counihan
Hibernia Nursery
Webster, FL

In 1997 he purchased 80 acres and in 2001 secured financing to begin operations on what is now Hibernia Nursery. In 2007 as Hibernia began to feel the effects of the recession he knew he would have to readjust everything he was doing. The decision was made to dramatically cut expenses wherever possible accept in sales where he felt he would have to double his customer base if Hibernia was going to survive as many of his existing customers were buying less or going out of business. It has now been 3yrs since the “Great Recession” began and Hibernia is still in survival mode. In January 2009 he went to the SBDC at UCF in Lake Sumter. With assistance from an SBDC counselor, Initial decisions had been made, addressing sales focus, operational procedures and cost cutting adjustments to keep the business in operation and profitable. Together they discussed the need to secure additional financing. In spring 2010 David researched the financing possibilities that were available. His SBDC counselor suggested a USDA backed loan to consolidate the debts.

At The B.O.S.S (Business Owner’s Strategic Summit) meeting held near Minneola, Lake County, by the SBDC at UCF in Lake County, David was introduced directly to one of the key USDA contacts who informed him they did have funds available for companies like Hibernia. The USDA recommended Capital Resources to give additional help with the application process. Less than three months later David secured a USDA refinancing loan for 2.5 million over 20 years at a rate that is $1000 less than his previous monthly payments. David currently employs 50 people and expanding the business to Texas and the Northeastern U.S. David looks ahead to the future, smiles to himself each day as he feels success. This is the tale of Irishman David Counihan, who arrived on the shores of this great country, with a few shillings, and a lot of vision. He knew in his heart that the opportunities were out there he just had to find them and make them work, and with the advice of some great people that is just what he did.

FSBDC, UCF, Business Consulting

Power Grid Engineering

In 2006, Andre Uribe and his partners Michael Wright and Glenn Durie contemplated started their own electrical engineering firm; they contacted the Small Business Development Center and registered for several seminars to better prepare them for this venture. Andre a veteran of the United States Navy is a graduate of University of Central Florida with a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering. Michael Wright and Glenn Durie are both Electrical engineering graduates from the University of Florida.

“We are fortunate to have the support of high level SBDC personal such as Pauline Davis to help us when we needed assistance running our company.”

Andre Uribe
Power Grid Engineering

In January 2007, after research and consultation with SBDC certified business consultant Pauline Davis, Power Grid Engineering was established as an electrical engineering firm specializing in the design of protection and control systems for electric utilities. Since opening its doors, the firm has consistently obtained complex projects requiring power engineering expertise. The company has formed a unique niche in providing services to maintain the efficient operating of electrical grid systems which is vital to ensuring that electricity flows go uninterrupted throughout the service region.

Since its formation, Power Grid Engineering has developed an impressive clientele list including several Fortune 250 investor-owned utility companies in the United States. Collectively, the firm’s staff has many years of professional experience assembling technical construction packages for their clients. With this experience, clients are assured that their projects will be designed and engineered by knowledgeable and technically qualified personnel and that all documentation will be produced in accordance with current industry codes and standards.

Over the years, Andre and his partners developed a unique partnership by dividing the essential business functions of the firm between them. Currently, the company continues to grow with annual sales of over $2 million dollars and 25 employees. The SBDC’s Pauline Davis continues to offer support to the company and has encouraged the partners to take advantage of the extensive programs offered by the SBDC at UCF. The partners have participated in the Center’s Small Business Institute ®( SBI)®, the Advisory Board Council, and now plan on taking advantage of the government contracting seminar series . In fact, Andre and his partners are very optimistic about the future as they contemplate suggestions made by the research project provided by their SBI® graduate student team. Andre is very pleased with the SBDC services the company received, stating, “We are fortunate to have the support of high level SBDC personal such as Pauline Davis to help us when we needed assistance running our company.”

FSBDC, UCF, Business Consulting

FM Financial Services

FM Financial Services, Inc. is a full-service consulting business providing book keeping and accounting, financial planning, investment and mortgage broker services to individuals and small businesses throughout Central Florida. Owned by Fozia Andarge, the company has been in business since 1992.

“The SBDC has been so helpful to my business because not only do I have a place to refer my clients for overall business assistance, the center has helped me grow my business and expand its service offerings. I really like Pauline’s common sense approach to business and her confidence that there is a solution to every problem.”

Fozia Andarge
FM Financial Services

In 1982, during a period of political upheaval in Ethiopia, Fozia left her native country and settled in the United States. Following the American dream, she attended University of Central Florida and graduated with a B.S. degree in Finance. Upon graduation, Fozia worked at an insurance company and then a stockbroker to gain valuable experience, as well as develop the foundation for her business. However, her ultimate dream was to be an independent business owner.

FM Financial Services has evolved over the years, at first financial products were the only services offered, but after careful planning and strategizing, Fozia recognized the need to diversify her offerings. From the beginning, Fozia sought the resources of the Small Business Development Center at UCF. She started meeting with CBA Pauline Davis in the early 90’s – when the business was just a dream and needed guidance through the business start-up process. Since that time, Fozia has contacted Pauline whenever she needed business assistance. Pauline’s business expertise and the resources of the SBDC at UCF get credit for her success. Fozia states, “The SBDC has been so helpful to my business because not only do I have a place to refer my clients for overall business assistance, the center has helped me grow my business and expand its service offerings. I really like Pauline‘s common sense approach to business and her confidence that there is a solution to every problem.”

Today, Fozia is very optimistic about the future of her business considering the economy. She understands the challenges as new rules and licensing requirements for accountants and mortgage brokers are developed. She considers herself a lifelong learner and understands what it takes to stay ahead of the competition. She is grateful to her clients that have stayed with her throughout the years. She also gives credit to her husband Haile, who helps her with technology and son Caleb who is a great motivator.

FSBDC, UCF, Business Consulting

Pegasus Transportation

In 1994, Brazilian immigrant Fernando Pereira and three business partners formed VIP’s Jet Tours Corporation, conducting business under the company name ‘Pegasus Transportation.’ With minimal assets, Pegasus’ transportation services started with a simple 100 square-foot office, a 15-passenger van and just one driver. After the first year, Fernando bought his partners out and continued to run the business on his own with his wife, Claudia.

“The SBDC has been on our side since 2001 and we couldn’t be more thankful for it.”

Fernando Pereira
Pegasus Transportation

Despite many struggles over the past decade, Pegasus Transportation managed to grow and diversify. They now offer a variety of worry-free transportation services including itinerary planning, meet-and-greet services, luggage assistance, and on-site supervision. Today, Pegasus has 60 employees, 20 coach buses and two offices located in Orlando and Miami.

The impressive success of Pegasus Transportation is a story of both managing a business effectively and overcoming hardships successfully. The company’s first major challenge came when the travel industry collapsed as a result of the 9/11 disaster. Pegasus nearly disappeared. “Without SBDC assistance in obtaining the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL), we could not have survived,” said Fernando. As Pegasus got back on their feet, another disaster hit in 2004 when a series of hurricanes hit the state of Florida, causing Pegasus once again to turn to the SBDC assistance. Through Fernando’s determination, Pegasus was able to stay afloat with the receipt of two additional EIDL loans acquitted with assistance by the SBDC at UCF.

Finally and most recently, the domestic travel market’s decline in 2009 due to the nation’s weak economy took a toll on Pegasus. To overcome this ordeal, Pegasus successfully turned its focus to the international travel segment, compensating for the domestic downturn. This change in focus resulted in over a 300% increase in the company’s net income. With strong financial stability, Pegasus was approved for two SBA 504 Loans, enabling the company to expand its business into a new 3,000 square-foot office space, as well as an expansive 3,600 square-foot shop on 2.5 acres of property.

Over the past decade, Fernando and Claudia took advantage of many of the services offered by the SBDC at UCF including 10 years of in-depth business counseling, business training and skill development through the SBDC’s strategic workshop series and referral resource support through the SBDC’s Small Business Resource Network. “The SBDC at UCF was the key to our growth and success, not only giving alternatives to our business but also making available services that seemed only accessible to big corporations. The SBDC has helped us to overcome situations like September 11 and hurricanes and also helped us to obtain capital for the construction of our new facility,” said Claudia. Fernando added, “The SBDC has been on our side since 2001 and we couldn’t be more thankful for it.”