Volusia County Business Incubator Formalizes Mentoring Program to Support Entrepreneurs

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 15, 2015) – Because good ideas need great teams to become remarkable businesses, the Volusia County–University of Central Florida Business Incubator Program has begun a formal mentoring program, partnering with SCORE, the Small Business Development Center and local philanthropists to strengthen its services to Volusia County entrepreneurs.

The mentoring program will be launched with a kick-off workshop called “The Art of Mentoring,” an invitation-only session from 9 to 11 a.m. Jan. 28 by Shane Pegg, vice president of Strategic Initiatives Accelerator Centre in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.  Pegg, the keynote speaker at the National Business Incubation Association’s 2014 New Orleans conference, has an honors’ bachelor of business administration degree from Canada’s Wilfrid Laurier University and 15 years of leadership experience in the technology sector.

“In today’s business environment, investors are looking for companies with a management team capable of taking the company to a large scale, “according to Connie Bernal, site manager for the Volusia incubator. “So, while we have gifted entrepreneurs in need of business acumen on one hand, we also have many experienced professionals – many of them very successful business owners – who have been there, done that.”

She said getting advice from experienced entrepreneurs is critical to the success of start-up companies.
“The top 10 business incubators in the United States have a mentor program in place,” she said, adding that the programs also create lasting partnerships, build core competencies, and allow start-ups to “think big,” all while providing a quality experience for both mentors and clients.

Mentorship, a personal-development relationship in which a more experienced or more knowledgeable person helps guide a less-experienced or less-knowledgeable person, is more than just answering questions or providing ad hoc help, she said. It’s an ongoing relationship with dialog, learning and challenges. While mentoring focuses on subject matter, the program also includes consulting for problem solving, as well as coaching to focus on the development of the individual.

Several Volusia County mentors already are in place, but Bernal said more will be needed, especially ones with technology backgrounds. Successful entrepreneurs and philanthropists committed to incubator companies give generously of their time and leverage their experience for the client’s success. The Volusia County – UCF Incubator has world-class entrepreneurial talent in its midst including founders of multi-million-dollar companies, board members of public companies and experts in many industry sectors, she said, adding that they bring an invaluable perspective on starting and growing a business.

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For more information about this release, please contact: 
Connie Bernal, Site Manager, Volusia County–University of Central Florida Business Incubator Program, 386-872-3101, connie.bernal@ucf.edu
Gordon Hogan, Director, University of Central Florida Business Incubator Program, gordon.hogan@ucf.edu
Charlene Hager-Van Dyke, Larry Vershel Communications, 386-532-8862 or 407-644-4142, chagervandyke@yahoo.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 helped hundreds of local startup companies reach their potential faster by providing vital business development resources.

With eight 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, St. Cloud 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