FSBDC, UCF, Business Consulting

Florida Celebrates National Hispanic Heritage Month

FSBDCN State Office: The Florida SBDC Network is proud to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month by highlighting a sampling of its successful Hispanic-owned client businesses that are making history.  In 2013, there are a projected 3.16 million Hispanic-owned businesses in the United States. According to a recent study by Geoscape and the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, from 2007 to 2013 the number of Hispanic-owned businesses has increased at an average rate of 6.66 percent as compared to non-Hispanic businesses increasing at 3.14 percent. Nationally, Hispanic-owned businesses are projected to bring in $468 billion in sales receipts in 2013.

According to the latest U.S. Census Bureau data, Hispanic-owned businesses currently make up 22 percent of Florida’s businesses. Geoscape’s study predicts that this number in Florida will have doubled to 52 percent from 2007 to 2013. The Florida SBDC Network is committed to providing these Hispanic-owned businesses with the assistance they need to grow and succeed in their business ventures.

Over the last 10 years, the Florida SBDC Network served 23,935 Hispanic entrepreneurs and small business owners through consulting, training and information, resulting in 14,908 jobs created and retained; $475.9 million in sales revenue growth; $1.1 billion in government contracts awarded; $192 million in capital accessed; and 1,234 new businesses created.

Roberto Torres, Luis Montañez and Christopher Findeisen created Black & Denim Apparel Company with business goals in mind – dressing comfortably, fashionably and manufacturing their products in the USA! With the help of the FSBDC at the University of South Florida, Black & Denim reached $100,000 in sales in 2012 with plans to double it by 2014. In the first half of 2013, they secured distribution through 90 Stein Mart stores across Florida, increased their retail outlets to 39 states including New York, Texas and California, are in conversations with high-end retailer Nordstrom, and are negotiating with Macy’s to have their products in 25 stores by spring 2014.

“The SBDC has been instrumental in helping us design a path for growth that is attainable and sustainable. The SBDC allows us to excel in those areas where we are not experts such as marketing and international trade. They have supported us from the beginning,” said Torres.

On August 29, 2013, the trio opened their first retail store in historic Ybor City. Along with Tampa’s Mayor Bob Buckhorn and Chief of Police Jane Castor, they cut a pair of Dungarees signaling the beginning of a new chapter for their business. Watch Video | Read Full Story


In 2009, Arnaldo and Yanet Herrero of Kings Service Solutions first approached the FSBDC at the University of Central Florida’s Jill Kaufman with interest in participating in their Advisory Board Council services.

“I felt the FSBDC at UCF was the right organization to pair up with to set our company’s vision on the right course. I wanted to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the company and have access to experts’ knowledge and ideas to develop our organization,” said Yanet.

Kings Service Solutions’ (KSS) biggest benefits from the Advisory Board were improved financial management, HR policies, quality control and risk management. When KSS approached the FSBDC at UCF in 2009, they had 6 full-time staff and 37 part-time employees. Three years later, their company had grown to 87 full-time employees and 162 part-time employees and annual revenue jumped 270 percent. Read Full Story

With the help of the FSBDC at the University of South Florida, Beatriz and Roberto Cardona followed their dreams and opened a Sign-a-Rama franchise in 2010.  In 2012, they purchased one of their suppliers, increasing their capacity of sign manufacturing and diversifying their customer base. They are now positioned to triple sales in 2013 with a team of 15 dedicated employees.

“Most people aren’t familiar with every aspect associated with operating a new business or growing an existing one, but the SBDC was able to provide this expertise for free,” said Beatriz.

In 2013, their hard work and persistence paid off as they were recognized for their impressive growth at the 27th Annual Pasco Economic Development Council’s Awards Banquet, receiving the 2013 Manufacturing Industry of the Year Award. Read Full Story

About the FSBDC Network 

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. A statewide service network of 41 centers with 60 outreach locations, the FSBDC Network is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration, hosted by theUniversity of West Florida and accredited through the national Association of SBDCs. To learn more about the FSBDC Network or to find a SBDC near you, visit www.FloridaSBDC.org or call 1.866.737.7232.

In 2012, the Florida SBDCs served approximately 38,000 entrepreneurs and small business owners through consulting and training, resulting in 47,845 jobs created, retained and saved; $6.3 billion in sales growth; $235.2 million in capital accessed; $588.4 million in government contract awards; and 744 new businesses started.