Statewide initiative offers entrepreneurship education to veterans
Once again, the UCF Business Incubation Program has been selected to participate in the Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Program. This unique program offers qualified veterans the opportunity to receive an entrepreneurship education to help them succeed and create jobs.
The program consists of a multi-faceted learning environment, including online, in-person workshops and a cohort-based class for a small group of veteran entrepreneurs. Mentorship will be incorporated, as it has proved to be a key to success in past programs. Network Partners from across the state will also hold monthly networking and resource sharing meetings, building a community and pipeline for veterans interested in entrepreneurship.
The UCF Business Incubation Program was one of six locations selected for as Veterans Florida’s Network Partners for the 2018-19 fiscal year. The others are the University of West Florida, Tallahassee Community College, Florida Atlantic University, Florida Gulf Coast University and Action Zone.
“Supporting Veterans in their effort to start their own company is truly an honor,” says Gordon Hogan, Director of the UCF Business Incubation Program. “I especially enjoy seeing their sincere desire to help each other be successful and I look forward to the next class.”
This is the third year the University of Central Florida’s Business Incubation Program has been selected as a network partner by Veterans Florida graduating and empowering 42 veteran entrepreneurs from its advanced course who are on their way to launching and growing their businesses while creating jobs and a positive economic impact in Central Florida.
The success of the program is shown through the success of the companies which have participated.
For instance, Eagle 6 Technical Services has grown 300 percent since graduating in 2017.
“The VFEP was the catalyst that launched Eagle 6 into second stage growth. Particularly the Accounting/DCAA compliance workshops. It was also a great way to interact with fellow veterans and build relationships,” says John Burns, CEO & founder, Eagle 6 Technical Services and a U.S. Army Veteran.
Karen Gregory, CEO & founder of HRSS Consulting Group also saw immediate returns for her business.
“The VFEP successfully provided me with the analytical tools and resources that allowed HRSS Consulting Group to make some tough decisions recently that resulted in some minor pivoting in terms of strategy and direction of the overall company,” Gregory says. “The education provided through the VFEP armed me to make the critical decisions that resulted in HRSS witnessing positive pipeline results immediately.”
Overall, the program has assisted more than 150 veteran entrepreneurs through workshops, business coaching, and resources. Veteran participants represent all branches of the military and are from the Central Florida region including Orange, Seminole, Brevard, Osceola and Lake Counties.
“Veterans Florida is excited to announce these new partnerships for our fourth year of entrepreneurship programming for our veterans. Over the past few years, we’ve served over 1,000 veterans who are interested in starting their own business and over 200 veterans have started businesses that have collectively hired over 100 employees and generated nearly $10,000,000 in revenue,” says Veterans Florida Executive Director, Bobby Carbonell. “And we can’t wait to see what businesses the next group of great veteran entrepreneurs will create in our state.”
Business owners who are veterans can fill out the contact us for found here to start the process for the next program.
About the UCF Business Incubation Program
The University of Central Florida Business Incubation Program is a community resource that provides early-stage companies with the tools, training, and infrastructure to become financially stable, high growth/impact enterprises. Since 1999, this award-winning program has helped more than 390 local startup companies reach their potential faster by providing vital business development resources.
With seven facilities throughout the region, the UCF Business Incubation Program is an economic development partnership between the University of Central Florida, the Corridor, Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Volusia counties, and the cities of Apopka, Kissimmee, Orlando and Winter Springs. For the 2014/15 and 2015/16 fiscal years, the activities of these participating firms have helped sustain more than 4,710 local jobs and have had a cumulative impact of more than $725 million on regional GDP and more than $1.3 billion on regional sales. During the same period, the program has returned $7.41 for every $1 invested in the program. For more information, visit www.incubator.ucf.edu
The UCF Business Incubation Program’s Veteran Entrepreneurship Initiative was founded in 2014 to help veteran entrepreneurs at different stages of business, from idea to scaling existing businesses. The mission is to empower and support veteran entrepreneurs through business guidance, education, and mentorship. For more information, visit www.incubator.ucf.edu/veterans
About Veterans Florida
Veterans Florida is a non-profit corporation created by the State of Florida to help veterans fully transition to civilian life in the Sunshine State. We connect veterans to employers, grant funds to employers to hire and train veterans and educate veterans on how to open their own businesses in Florida. To learn more, visit www.veteransflorida.org.