Sometimes it can be a little difficult to think of startup business culture outside of the Silicon Valley bubble. For years now, Silicon Valley has been taking the spotlight as the fertile crescent of the technology world. It’s been well-deserved, but new business is developing every day in thousands of other places around the United States. Not to mention, places much easier to find a secure economic footing than the cutthroat scene of Silicon Valley.

For one thing, 33% of renters move every single year. Often, people move to seek out better economic conditions. Here in Central Florida, the University of Central Florida Business Incubator seeks to create a growing economy by supporting new businesses.

So what, exactly, is the UCF Business Incubator Program?

In 1999, the University of Central Florida created the Business Incubation Program (UCF BIP). As an incubator, their goal was to help young startups find their footing in the corporate world by providing educational resources and guidance that would build strong foundations for future success. It’s one of many economic development organizations around the country.

Since then, the program has been successful in getting budding businesses on their feet by helping more than 390 startup companies get the resources they need to successfully blossom into mature businesses. They’ve done so well that in 2018 the UCF BIP set records for investments and grant funding. They reported 50 outside investors who put more than $19 million into the program. That year, 46 incubator clients received $4.6 million in grant funding. That amounts to a 69% rise in investment and a 49% rise in secured grant funding. Certainly not minuscule growth margins.

“We are extremely proud of our incubator clients for these record-breaking achievements. The increase in funding clearly demonstrates the success of the UCF BIP program and validates that our incubators…produce scalable, investible companies in Central Florida,” said Dr. Tom O’Neal, founder and executive director of the UCF BIP.

The program has grown substantially in recent years, totaling seven facilities throughout the region, all of which are working tirelessly to make Central Florida a better place for young businesses to develop and thrive. The program’s record-breaking performance in 2018 earned the Editor’s Choice Award by the University Economic Development Association.

“We are honored to have received such a prestigious award. This recognition illustrates our dedication to establishing successful entrepreneurship and innovative programs that reinforce Central Florida’s ever-evolving entrepreneurial ecosystem,” remarked Dr. O’Neal.

Coming to Apopka in 2012, as the UCF BIP spreads across Central Florida, they’re leading the way as a shining beacon illuminating a bright economic future.


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