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

Florida SBDC at UCF Named Florida SBDC Region of the Year; UCF Team Members and Program Collect Additional Performance Excellence Awards

Local SBDC Recognized for Significant and Direct Contribution to FSBDC Network

FSBDC at UCF Team Members and Program Win Awards for Florida Ambassador of the Year, Florida Student Project (Graduate) of the Year and New Business Starts Lifetime Achievement

August 23, 2023


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

Florida SBDC at UCF wins 2023 Region of the Year

Florida SBDC at UCF wins 2023 Region of the Year

Orlando, FL – The Florida Small Business Development Center Network (FSBDCN) announced its Performance Excellence Awards on August 1, 2023, with the Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) being named the 2023 Florida SBDC Region of the Year in recognition of the regional team providing a significant and direct contribution to the network, exceeding service and performance expectations, and demonstrating a strong commitment to small business. The FSBDC at UCF is one of nine FSBDCN regions in Florida.

In addition, the Florida SBDC Network named FSBDC at UCF team members and one of its programs as annual award winners, including associate consultant Theresa Davis as its 2023 FSBDC Network Ambassador of the Year; the Small Business Institute® Program as its 2023 Florida Student Project of the Year (Graduate); and consultants Charles Wheeler, Elly Membreno and Rafael E. M. Pratts with New Business Starts Lifetime Achievement Awards, Wheeler  having assisted with more than 200 businesses started, and Membreno and Pratts with 125 new business started each.

“This is a wonderful day for the FSBDC at UCF,” said Eunice Choi, FSBDC at UCF Regional Director. “I am so proud of our team for earning this well-deserved recognition for their many achievements over the past year. It is also gratifying to have specific team members like Theresa Davis, Chuck Wheeler, Elly Membreno, and Rafael Pratts singled out for their significant contributions to the FSBDC Network. I am also extremely pleased that our award-winning student experiential learning program, the Small Business Institute®, conducted in partnership with UCF – our host institution, has once again won an award for excellence.”

About the Awards

The Florida SBDC Network Performance Excellence Awards recognize and demonstrate appreciation to peers, students, volunteers, partners, and centers for their outstanding contributions and achievements during 2022. The Florida SBDC Awards Program provides an opportunity to publicly recognize and reward select individuals and organizations for their spirited, innovative, and extraordinary efforts and contributions; as well as their commitment to excellence in service and performance on behalf of the Florida SBDC Network.

  • Florida SBDC of the Year Award

The FSBDCN established the Florida SBDC Center of the Year Award to recognize the regional team that provided a significant and direct contribution to the network. One regional center team is selected based on making significant contributions in serving the network’s strategic goals, mission, and vision; exceeding service and performance expectations resulting in significant return-on-investment; working collegially and collaboratively with the network State Office and other centers; and demonstrating a strong commitment to small business through the network’s values and beliefs.

  • Ambassador of the Year Award

The Florida SBDC Network is committed to fostering an environment that attracts and retains a workforce that is engaged, supported, and motivated to advance the mission and vision of the network. This award recognizes that special employee from each SBDC region for their outstanding contributions and strong commitment in supporting customer, center, and network success. Regional awardees are eligible for selection for the Florida SBDC Ambassador of the Year Award.

  • New Business Starts Lifetime Achievement Award

The State Office will recognize consultants who have achieved 75 – 200+ in new business starts during their tenure with the Florida SBDC Network. These awardees were determined from all historical files.


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

In 2022, Florida SBDCs provided 157,841 hours of professional business consulting to more than 18,379 client businesses. Based on the results from the network’s latest economic impact analysis, the FSBDC’s services resulted in almost 29,000 jobs impacted; $4.8 billion in sales generated; $381.6 million in government contracts acquired; and $528.4 million in capital accessed.

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

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