ORLANDO, Fla. – The UCF Business Incubator, a Network Partner in the statewide Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Program recently began the education phase of the program that aims to provide entrepreneurship counseling and training to veterans. The first of six, all-day workshops “was a huge success in both attendance and enthusiasm,” according to Gordon Hogan, director at the Incubator.
Hogan said 33 of the 38 veterans who signed up attended the first class. Initially Dr. Tom O’Neal, executive director and founder of the UCF Business Incubator, addressed the eager and talented group of veterans – men and women spanning generations as far back as the Vietnam war – and set the tone for the important goal of the workshops.
“The Veterans Florida team was established to teach you face-to-face about starting a business, and you will benefit from their strengths and knowledge enough to make your own decision to move forward as an entrepreneur,” O’Neal explained. “It’s okay too if you decide at the end to not start a business… we’re not here to convince you, just educate you.”
The six sessions of all day workshops that began Feb. 4 will run every-other-Saturday through April 15, and participants will be completing online coursework in between the classes.
The 15-week program concludes with a “Pitch Competition” May 6 when veterans will present their businesses to mentors, advisors and investors and at the same time gain a little exposure to opportunities.
At the end of the first day a survey was taken and all 33 attendees gave very positive responses about the value of the workshops and program, said Hogan who grinned as he commented, “The only negative note was ‘the lunch break was too long.’”
Following completion of the educational phase, veterans will receive ongoing mentorship from consultants and business leaders who provide guidance to navigate common entrepreneurial challenges and feedback regarding their individual business to drive it to the next level of success.
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For more information, contact
Gordon Hogan, Director, UCF Business Incubation Program, 407-882-1577 Gordon.Hogan@ucf.edu or
Rafael Caamano, Associate Director UCF Business Incubation Program, 407- Rafael.firstname.lastname@example.org
Ricardo Garcia, Government Resources Manager, UCF Business Incubation Program, 407-823-2346 Ricardo.Garcia@ucf.edu
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 hundreds of 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. Participating companies sustain more than 3,600 local jobs and have had a total impact of $1.51B on regional sales and $2.48B on regional economic output. During the last fiscal year, the program has returned $7.95 for every $1.00 invested in the program. For more information, visit www.incubator.ucf.edu