The anniversary of opening in the 9,600 square-foot facility last year with only one client, combined stories of success and the realization of nearly a dozen new clients, including one who received the Daytona Incubator’s Entrepreneur-of-the-Year Award.
Volusia County is the only county in Florida that has a designated an Entrepreneur Day, according to Connie Bernal, site manager of the Daytona Beach location.
Highlights of the recent event, which was attended by more than 250 people, also included speeches by Volusia County Council Chairman, University officials and other local dignitaries; the website launch of an incubator client, Best3Bids; recognition of the incubator’s Entrepreneur of the Year; and reading of the County Council’s proclamation.
The proclamation, which was signed by all council members and read by Volusia County Chairman Frank Bruno, referred to entrepreneurs as the “engine” of the local and national economy for translating their “vision into products and services that keep America strong.” It also said they deserve “appreciation for helping to improve our local economy.”
Featured speakers were Frank Bruno, chairman of the Volusia County Council; Rick Karl, director of Volusia County’s Aviation and Economic Resources; Dr. Thomas O’Neal, executive director and founder of the UCF Business Incubation Program (UCFBIP); Gordon Hogan, director of the UCFBIP; and Connie Bernal, site manager of the UCF Business Incubator at Daytona Beach International Airport.
Bernal said the past year has been an eventful one with new clients like Robert Skelton, owner of Best iProducts™.com LLC, coming up with new and exciting ideas and products. Skelton received the Entrepreneur of the Year award for his creation of the iEraser®, The Ultimate Screen Cleaning Device, a pocketsize rectangular cleaning device that removes fingerprints and smudges from glossy glass screens, tablet and laptop computers and flat screen TVs with a few swipes.
“The one-year anniversary event was a huge success. The incubator clients, Volusia County Economic Development, and the Volusia County business community really showed their entrepreneurial spirit. We all worked together as a team to make it happen. Teamwork creates a positive mental attitude, which does not recognize obstacles, she said.
The Daytona Beach incubator is a partnership between UCF, Volusia County and the Florida High Tech Corridor Council. In its 13th year, the program offers a supportive environment designed to inspire the entrepreneurial spirit, accelerate business growth and create local employment opportunities.
Earlier this year, Volusia County began talking about an additional incubator in West Volusia along the Interstate 4 corridor. Supporters of a West Volusia incubator say the county’s second incubator is needed because of the division between east and west Volusia.
“This event was a true celebration of entrepreneurship in this community,” said Dr. O'Neal. "The support from this community is the reason the incubator is doing so well already and will continue to do so in the future."
About the UCF Business Incubation Program
Since its founding in 1999, the UCF Business Incubation Program has helped more than 200 emerging companies (including more than 134 current clients) create over $363 million in annual total economic output and more than 3,120 new jobs (taking direct and indirect and induced impact into account) with an average salary of $59,000. With ten facilities across the Greater Orlando community, the Business Incubation Program is a collaboration in economic development among the University of Central Florida, Orange County, the City of Orlando, Seminole County, the City of Apopka, the City of Winter Springs, the City of Sanford, Lake County, the City of Leesburg, Osceola County, the City of Kissimmee, City of St. Cloud, Volusia County and the Florida High Tech Corridor Council. For more information about the Program and its clients and graduates, please visit www.incubator.ucf.edu and UCFBIP on Facebook, on www.facebook.com/ucf4bip.