Florida SBDC at UCF Announces 2023 Small Business Excellence Award Winners
November 7, 2023
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Hal Thayer, Communications Director, FSBDC at UCF, 407.420.4850 or email@example.com
Orlando, FL – The Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) announced its 2023 Entrepreneurs of the Year in the culmination of the second annual FSBDC at UCF Small Business Excellence Awards program celebrating the success, growth, business acumen, and community involvement of FSBDC at UCF’s clients from across its 8-county region.
In a tie for the premier award, named as the 2023 FSBDC at UCF Entrepreneurs of the Year were:
|Chris Wagner||MacroCap Labs||Longwood, FL|
|Michael and Teresa Crofts||Maple Street, Inc.||Longwood, FL|
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. 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, there were 15 distinguished and remarkable Small Business Excellence Awards Entrepreneur of the Year nominees. The 13 other nominees included:
|Jennifer Herrera and Pablo Prahl||A&G Marketing Group||Lake Mary, FL|
|Gillie Acosta Rivera||Beha.Vio Inc.||Kissimmee, FL|
|Mara Abraham||ClariVita||Winter Garden, FL|
|Rich Santo||Culture Studio||Daytona Beach, FL|
|Goeff Hoatson||Family First Firm||Orlando, FL|
|Danny Sorondo||HRS Construction||Clermont, FL|
|Ervin LeMand||Lost Returns||Winter Park, FL|
|Cassandra Daniel||MBD FAB, LLC||Mt. Dora, FL|
|Lizbeth Walker||Qwailifize||Kissimmee, FL|
|Derrious Robinson, Lavell Monger, and Walter Tre Idlette||RTW Photography||Orlando, FL|
|Barb McKeever||SureClean Solutions||The Villages, FL|
|Julie Shipley||The Soup Shop||Melbourne, FL|
|Wayne and Gladys Salicrup||Trapline Pest Solutions||Orlando, FL|
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 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 was made at an invitation-only Awards Luncheon held the Citrus Club in Orlando, Florida and was made possible through the generous support of sponsors Orange County, Florida APEX Accelerator at UCF, and CHASE for Business.
“We are excited to recognize our two 2023 Entrepreneurs of the Year and all of the nominees for their accomplishments and success through our Small Business Excellence Award program,” shared Eunice Choi, FSBDC at UCF Regional Director. “Small businesses like these 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.”
2023 FSBDC at UCF Small Business Excellence Awards Entrepreneur of the Year Winners
Chris Wagner with MacroCap Labs: Founded in 2010, MacroCap began as a college dorm room start-up when Chris Wagner saw a void in the nutritional supplement market. Using highest quality ingredients to build a foundation for fitness and with steady improvements over the years in quality and capacity, Macrocap Labs has positioned itself to be one of the top contract supplement manufacturers in the state of Florida.
Location: Longwood, Florida
Mike and Teresa Crofts with Maple Street: Maple Street has a remarkable 20+ year journey driven by bringing innovation and savings to their financial services customer base. The firm offers a fully outsourced vendor management solution that reduces expenses, improves vendor performance, and manages risks. They also offer services related to vendor selection, compliance, audits, and more.
Location: Longwood, Florida
2023 FSBDC at UCF Small Business Excellence Awards Honorees
Jennifer Herrera and Pablo Prahl with A&G Marketing Group: A&G Marketing Group is passionate about helping their customers amplify their brands with creative marketing solutions and personalized attention to detail. This commitment is vividly reflected in their consistent growth and ongoing success, proving that success isn’t just about financial gains but about enriching the lives of all those they touch.
Location: Lake Mary, Florida
Gillie Acosta Rivera with Beha.Vio Inc: Beha.Vio provides individualized applied behavior analysis therapy to children with various exceptionalities such as autism, epilepsy, ADHD, and down syndrome – among others. Its services focus on all areas of development, social interactions, motor skills, and management of problem behaviors. Its mission is to support children and to offer strategies to parents and teachers so that vulnerable children can live functional and independent lives.
Location: Founded in Kissimmee, Florida
Mara Abraham with ClariVita: ClariVita has a passion for connection and communication, working towards a brighter, more connected, and inclusive future. Providing translation services and language solutions, ClariVita’s team of language professionals possesses specialized competencies in the Healthcare, Educational, Legal, and Business sectors. Clarivita’s commitment to quality is evident in its unwavering dedication to client satisfaction. Location: Winter Garden, Florida
Rich Santo with Culture Studio: Culture Studio powers merchandise sales for the music and entertainment industry, as well as retail and e-commerce. Originally founded in 2008, the company has worked with some of the largest artist and retail brands in the country to provide solutions “where technology meets the factory floor to make merch miracles.”
Location: Daytona Beach, Florida
Geoff Hoatson with Family First Firm: Founded in 2009 by attorney Geoff Hoatson, Family First Firm has grown to become the largest elder law firm in the state of Florida. With a focus on Medicaid Planning, Wills & Trusts, Veteran’s Benefits, Guardianship, and Probate, the firm has helped thousands of Florida families navigate the overwhelming circumstances that seniors face when aging.
Location: Orlando, Florida
Danny Sorondo with HRS Construction: Founded in 2005 by Danny Sorondo, HRS Construction is a Certified Building Contractor specializing in home remodels, renovations, additions, and new construction with a strong focus on superior customer service and top-notch quality. The firm specializes in commercial and residential general remodeling, including kitchen, bathroom, and home additions.
Location: Clermont, Florida
Ervin LeMand with Lost Returns: Founded by Ervin LeMand, Lost Returns provides customized software and logistics support to manage the “lost & found” programs for rental car companies, airports, cruise lines and others. Every day, tens of thousands of valuable items are inadvertently left behind, and Lost Returns’ mission is to help recover those LOST items and RETURN them safely to their owners.
Location: Winter Park, Florida
Cassandra Daniel with MBD FAB, LLC: MBD Fabricators is a full-scale fabrication and manufacturing company, offering complete services from concept to installation. Using state-of-the-art equipment and with a keen sense of attention to detail, MBD Fab provides custom metal fabrication, equipment repair services, and one-of-a-kind works of art marked with a dedication to quality and customer service.
Location: Mt. Dora, Florida
Lizbeth Walker with Qwalifize: Qwalifize’s mission is to attract, prepare, and place high-caliber job seekers into meaningful roles while successfully solving simple to complex workforce needs in the commercial private and government sectors. The firm provides various staffing solutions to assist with implementing infrastructure that supports employee retention, increases productivity, and boosts morale.
Location: Kissimmee, Florida
Derrious Robinson, Lavell Monger, and Walter Tre Idlette, with RTW Photography: RTW Photography has experience in all areas of photography and videography. The firm offers a wide range of services aimed at capturing and producing top quality content, with a goal of helping its clients stand out amongst the crowd. Its RTW Academy also provides a platform for individuals from all backgrounds to learn, collaborate, and prosper.
Location: Orlando, Florida
Barb McKeever with SureClean Solutions: SureClean Solutions LLC opened in 2010 with a commitment to delivering “the best tile and carpet cleaning service you can find.” Its goal is to provide customers with outstanding service and clean and healthy homes and businesses through professional, affordable, and high-quality service.
Location: The Villages, Florida
Julie Shipley with The Soup Shop: Founded in 2009, The Soup Shop offers gourmet soups, sandwiches, salads, pot pies and desserts. They offer their handcrafted soups as a labor of love, boast a globally inspired diverse menu, and provide a friendly family environment with something for everyone.
Location: Melbourne, Florida
Wayne and Gladys Salicrup with Trapline Pest Solutions: Trapline Pest Solutions is a pest control and nuisance wildlife removal company servicing Central Florida, providing pest control, termite treatment, damage repair, animal proofing, wildlife services, and more. They say, “If it flies, stings, runs, hops, bites, or spreads disease, we’ve got you covered!”
Location: Orlando, Florida
— 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 2022, the FSBDC at UCF served more than 2,700 entrepreneurs in Central Florida with consulting services, resulting in more than 10,600 jobs created, retained or saved; $793.9 million in sales growth; $66.7 million in capital formation; $103.8 million in government contract awards; and 160 new businesses started. For more information, please visit www.sbdcorlando.com .
About the Florida SBDC Network
For more than 45 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 2022, the Florida SBDC Network delivered 117,750 hours of consulting to 14,758 small business clients – resulting in business owners securing $446 million in capital, $445 million in government contracting, impacting 23,515 jobs, increasing sales by over $4.5 billion, and creating 825 businesses.
With over 40 offices statewide, the Florida SBDC is funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration, 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 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.