Learn more about the UCF Business Incubation Program
What is a business incubator?
An incubator is a facility and/or program that provide start-up companies with an environment and variety of services to help them grow more quickly and more successfully.
How does the UCF Business Incubation Program compare/differ from other incubators?
The UCF Business Incubation Program is a “full service” business incubator. That means that we offer facilities for our clients, as well as comprehensive services to facilitate their growth and success. Some incubators offer space, but may offer limited services. Others may be “virtual” in that they do not offer space, but offer an array of services to support client companies.
How is the UCF Business Incubation Program funded?
The UCF Business Incubation Program is funded by the University of Central Florida, the Florida High Tech Corridor Council, Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Volusia Counties, and the cities of Apopka, Kissimmee, Orlando, and Winter Springs.
What are the qualifications to be an incubator client company?
- The company must exist…..we accept companies; not individuals with just ideas for a company.
- The business concept should be one that has the potential to achieve significant growth.
- The company should have resources to support operations for the first 6 months.
- The founders of the company must be willing to fully participate in the Incubator program.
Does the UCF Business Incubation Program provide access to UCF resources?
We draw heavily on the UCF community for a variety of resources for our clients. Some clients need additional research expertise and we help them partner with research faculty and staff. Many clients benefit from our relationship with the co-op and internship program as well as the MBA program to find very talented students to work in their companies. Use of university labs and equipment can often be arranged for a competitive rate. The UCF Library is available to our clients and offers information research services for market research or other information needs.
What services does the UCF Business Incubation Program provide and how are they provided?
We provide assistance with any need our clients have, but we focus heavily on the business aspects such as strategic planning, capital strategies, legal advice, financial services and advice, marketing and sales advice, human resources issues and even technology resources as needed. The assistance is provided in a number of ways. Some of the incubator staff provide business guidance to the clients and meet with them regularly to assist with strategic issues and connect clients with resources available through the incubator.
The incubator works with a number of professional service providers in the community such as law firms, accounting and CPA firms, marketing and advertising firms, investment organizations, insurance companies and others that offer products and services relevant to our clients. A number of service providers come to the incubator periodically and are available to meet with clients at no cost. Others are available as needed to give some guidance and advice. The initial assistance is provided free-of-charge to the client. If more extensive services are needed, the client is responsible for forming a fee-based relationship with the service provider. Press releases are provided for clients at no cost.
The incubator also provides numerous education and networking programs. We have a frequent schedule of seminars and workshops conducted by experts on various topics. We also partner with other organizations in town to provide networking and education opportunities to our clients.
What other organizations does the UCF Business Incubation Program work with?
It’s a long list! Our website lists many of the organizations that we partner with to make services available to our clients. We are always adding to the pool of partners as we find additional sources of expertise.
In the UCF community, we work closely with the Technology Transfer Office, Venture Accelerator, College of Business, co-op and internship program, library, the Small Business Development Center and others as needed.
In the community, we work with many nonprofit small business service providers and many professional service organization and businesses that have relevant products and services.
How much is the rent and what does it include?
Rent rates differ from one incubator facility to another and currently range from $18.00 – $28.00 per square foot per year. The rent includes utilities, high speed data access and janitorial service. Phone services vary between facilities but in most cases clients are responsible for their own phone service from a commercial provider of their choice as well as any furniture and/or equipment they may need. There is no additional charge for all of the invaluable counseling and coaching provided or for attendance at Incubator educational program.
How long is the lease?
The lease is for one year. However, if a client needs to increase or reduce space or even move to a different incubator location during the year, they can do so with no penalties.
What if a company doesn’t need space but wants services?
Companies that already have their own office space, but still want to utilize our services can join the program as an offsite client. Offsite clients pay a monthly services fee and have access to everything the incubator has to offer.
How long can a client stay in the incubator?
Generally, a client will be in and out in three years or less which is what we like to see. Some may stay a little longer and we will let them if they are making progress, utilizing the incubation program and still have a business focus that meets our criteria. Our objective is to graduate a client at the appropriate time when they are ready to stand on their own.
What is Graduation?
Graduation is when a client company has matured to the point that they do not need incubator assistance regularly and are ready to have their own facilities. Usually the company has product in the market and has reached a level of financial stability and employee growth that enables them to be fully functional on their own. At that point, we assist with finding sublease opportunities and access to other services that may be needed as they transition into their own space. Graduation also takes place when a client company is acquired.