UCF Innovation Districts Partner with YPO for Unique Mentorship Program

Orlando, Fla. (October 28, 2020) – Being an entrepreneur and growing a business often feels like being on an island. There is a limited number of people who have been through the experience of growing a business to ask for advice.

The UCF Business Incubation Program has partnered with the Orlando chapter of YPO to develop a unique system of mentorship for its Innovation District companies.

With a wide range of Presidents in the Young Presidents Organization (YPO), the hope is to find a President with either relevant industry or subject matter expertise for the business, but not competitors. YPO members agree to meet with the company’s owners regularly and assist when a specific need arises.

Already, seven local companies have been partnered with local Presidents from YPO to help grow their businesses. They are:

  • Sean Stanton, LifeCore, and Yaadi Clinical
  • Rick Pullum, One Florida Bank, and Miventure
  • Kinesh Doshi, Accion Labs, and XI Media
  • Kevin Patel, Grizzly International, and HKeeper
  • Matt Wideman, Susquehanna Holdings Co., and Design Launchers
  • David Salazar, Andonix, and Connected Wise
  • Mark Lang, Quality Labor Management and Engenium

“It’s truly a community effort to diversify our region – a true partnership between government, academia and private industry,” says Rob Panepinto, a long-time member of YPO and the director of Innovation Districts Strategy and Partnerships at the University of Central Florida. Mentorship is such a critical ingredient to helping entrepreneurs scale. We’re seeing our business community truly step up and work with our entrepreneurs to build our region’s economy.”

John Mahony, managing partner, Kavaliro and chair of YPO Orlando adds: “Many of us remember our struggles growing our businesses and it is rewarding to assist and lead the next generation of CEOs and entrepreneurs. One of the things our members have in common is the interest in finding great solutions for growth.”

For startups like Miventure, which helps small businesses who may not qualify for traditional lending to raise capital in the form of a loan through its crowdfunding platform, the mentorship program brings an expert, Rick Pullum of One Florida Bank, into their group.

“Rick and One Florida can teach us more about traditional methods of evaluating creditworthiness,” says Jason Crystal, CEO & co-founder, Miventure. “Plus, we can help more small businesses in Florida raise capital by educating companies who may not be a good fit for traditional lenders that debt crowdfunding options like ours exist.”

“All of us realize that by helping companies like Miventure, we’re helping grow future clients, future business partners, future employers, future YPOers” says Pullum, president, One Florida Bank. “I’m truly looking at this as the start of a long and productive relationship where we all will be successful in growing our companies.”


UCF Business Incubation Program: Rob Panepinto, director, Innovation Districts Strategy and Partnerships for the University of Central Florida, 407-467-5689,  rob.panepinto@ucf.edu or Alan Byrd, Alan Byrd & Associates, 407-415-8470, Alan@ByrdConnections.com

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 provided vital business development resources resulting in over 300 local startup companies reaching their potential faster and graduating into the community where they continue to grow and positively impact the local economy.

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 Kissimmee, Orlando and Winter Springs. For the 2017/2018 fiscal years, the activities of these participating firms have helped to sustain more than 6,725 local jobs and have had a cumulative impact of over $725 million on regional GDP and over $1.3 billion on regional sales. During the same period, the program has returned more than $12.00 in state and local taxes for every $1.00 invested in the program. In addition, for every $1.00 of public investment the firms also produced $118 of additional regional GDP and $226 of regional sales. For more information, visit  www.incubator.ucf.edu.

About YPO:

YPO is the global leadership community of more than 29,000 chief executives in 130 countries who are driven by the belief that the world needs better leaders. Each of our members have achieved significant leadership success at a young age. Combined, they lead businesses and organizations contributing USD 9 trillion in annual revenue. YPO members inspire and support each other through peer learning and exceptional experiences in an inclusive community of open sharing and trust. For more information, visit ‪ypo.org.