If 10 small businesses launched today, six likely would be closed in four years. Yet studies show that if those 10 companies enrolled in a business incubator, about nine in 10 would be operating five years after graduating.
The University of Central Florida Business Incubation Program was created to improve the chance of survival for area small businesses. Now celebrating its 20th year, this award-winning, university-driven community partnership nurtures scalable, early-stage ventures across Central Florida.
Originated at the nexus of the UCF College of Engineering and Technology and the College of Business, since 1999 the Incubator has helped more than 500 early-stage companies like Grubhub, Orange Blossom Pilsner, OptiGrate, AVT Simulation and NanoSpective grow to create more than 6,000 jobs.
Client companies receive essential guidance, including mentorship and coaching; legal, iIntellectual property, financial and accounting; sales, marketing and public relations; office space and infrastructure access; and critical networking and connections needed to become high-growth enterprises providing high-wage jobs.
“Most successful business begin as ideas on scratch pads and enter their highly vulnerable start-up stage,” says Tom O’Neal, Associate VP for Innovation & Entrepreneurship with the University of Central Florida Office of Partnerships and Innovation – and himself a serial entrepreneur. “The UCF Incubator shortens the learning curve to help early-stage companies survive and thrive with support and resources available nowhere else.”
Central Florida Success: By the Numbers
Business incubator success is measured by the companies, jobs and sales they generate – and the economic climate they foster.
- In 2019, the Incubator will serve 160 companies employing from three to 15. Some of those companies are student-run; others are led by UCF professors and staff, area entrepreneurs and military veterans.
- Since its founding, the UCF Business Incubation Program has nurtured companies that have gone on to create more than 6,000 jobs, generating $1.51 billion in regional sales and $2.48 billion in regional economic output.
- During a typical fiscal year, the Incubator returns close to $8 for every $1 invested in the program.
UCF Incubation: Guidance for Every Startup
The UCF Business Incubation Program helps local startups, as well as national and international companies hoping to plant a flag in Central Florida.
- Pre-Incubation: Entrepreneurs with ideas for scalable startups can access the infrastructure, resources, coaching and professional network to transform an idea into a business.
- Business Incubation: Early-stage businesses accepted into the program receive ongoing strategic guidance, coaching and business development services needed to grow smarter and faster.
- Soft Landing: New to Central Florida? Whether you’re based in the U.S. or from abroad, the incubator can help you adapt and connect to this thriving economic market.
Other programs include the Blackstone LaunchPad, which helps student entrepreneurs ideate and launch their businesses and I-Corps (Innovation Corps), which helps students vet their technology concepts with customer discovery and validation.