Resort and Tourism Apparel Maker Survived and Now Growing Assisted by Florida SBDC at UCF Business Recovery Team
June 21, 2021
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Hal Thayer, Communications Director, FSBDC at UCF, 407.420.4850 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Jose Molfino, Consultant, FSBDC at UCF, 407.848.6496, Jose.Molfino@ucf.edu
Orlando, FL – For many businesses serving the hospitality, travel, or food and beverage industries, the COVID-19 pandemic proved disastrous. Many did not survive. Fortunately for Nanu Manek, president and owner of Worldwide Sportswear, the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF), and its CARES Act-funded Business Recovery Team (BRT) program was there to assist him.
Based in Port Orange, FL, Worldwide Sportswear provides screen-printed and embroidered products such as t-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, and tote bags to the hospitality and tourism industries, including resorts, restaurants, state parks, and other vacation destinations. Worldwide Sportswear is known for capturing the latest trends and operating as a fashion company, producing Fall and Spring product lines every year. Its clients praise the company for its high-quality products and fantastic customer service.
Worldwide Sportswear grew rapidly until COVID-19 struck. “The pandemic brought us to a complete halt,” Manek recalls. Fortuitously, he was already in discussion with the FSBDC at UCF, seeking to join its award-winning Advisory Board Council (ABC) program. Designed for established, second-stage companies, the ABC program provides no-cost, customized teams of volunteer professionals who offer advice and counsel to help small businesses grow.
“Establishing a board for our company interested me a lot because we were growing by leaps and bounds at the time,” Manek says. “But when the COVID-19 shutdown hit, the FSBDC contacted me and shifted me to their Business Recovery Team (BRT) program. And it was phenomenally helpful to us, getting us through the pandemic and back to where we needed to be to start growing again.”
Launched to assist Central Florida businesses in overcoming the economic disruption caused by COVID-19, the FSBDC’s BRT program assembled its expert consultants on teams that were ‘custom-fit’ for the participating business to conduct in-depth strategic and business planning focused on financial, marketing, and operational issues aimed at returning the company to health and growth. Led by FSBDC consultant Jose Molfino, Worldwide Sportswear’s BRT team included experts in sales, marketing, and finance.
“The BRT Team has been fantastic,” says Manek. “Everyone is knowledgeable and really knows what they are doing. They guided us in a straight line, keeping us focused and doing a great job of it,” Manek declares. The BRT’s contributions at the company included a financial review that helped reduce costs, build budgets, and create a 12-month cash flow forecast to monitor progress. It put in place a customer relationship management (CRM) system that has added new clients and industries as revenue sources. And it guided the company in building a robust and highly effective social media and digital marketing campaign.
“While the business is currently still below pre-pandemic levels, the good news is that it’s trending positively. Business is up 100% more than it was during the pandemic, and sometimes 200% to 300%. The projections are definitely good and, once tourism really opens up, we feel that our business is going to thrive, and we’ll be above pre-pandemic levels by a lot,” Manek reports.
“For me, and for Worldwide Sportswear, the FSBDC has been indispensable,” Manek concludes. “Without it, we wouldn’t have had the guidance we needed to survive the pandemic. With the Business Recovery Team, we were able to stop the bleeding, set up a plan for the reopening and be positioned for a bright future.”
For information about Worldwide Sportwear, please visit https://wwspwear.shop/.
— 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 the UCF Office of Partnership & Innovation 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 2020, the FSBDC at UCF served more than 2,800 entrepreneurs in Central Florida with consulting services, resulting in more than 10,000 jobs created, retained, or saved; $1.2 billion in sales growth; $92.4 million in capital formation; $92.7 million in government contract awards; and 86 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 2020, Florida SBDCs provided 162,476 hours of professional business consulting to almost 23,900 client businesses, resulting in almost 38,000 jobs impacted; $4.4 billion in sales generated; $335 million in government contracts acquired; and $385.8 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, Defense Logistics Agency, 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.