With great anticipation, a crowd of more than 350 local officials, partners and vendors, attended a ribbon cutting celebration last week to showcase the $5 million renovation and expansion completed at the UCF Business Incubator – Central Florida Research Park.

The upgrades took 14 months to complete and included major improvements to some of the older incubator buildings in the Research Park and most of the life-safety, telecommunications, electrical, lighting and HVAC systems. Additionally, five chemical wet labs were created, equipped with appropriate plumbing, ventilation, and equipment to allow for hands-on scientific research and experimentation.  It also added workspaces for companies that need to set up assembly and/or workstations.

Nearly 50 early-stage technology and soft landing client companies reside at the site ranging from simulation, healthcare to software industries.

Carol Ann Dykes, site manager for the Research Park incubator, said the new state-of-the-art wet labs are an endeavor that has been five years in planning and they are already fully occupied.  She said the wet lab space provides the innovative companies with the ability to expand their R&D operations.

In addition, she added, the internal configuration of the buildings was not well suited for use as an incubator.  The much needed renovations and expansion gave the university the opportunity to fix that and make it more functional.

Since 1999, this award-winning program has helped hundreds of local startup companies reach their potential faster by providing vital business development resources.

For more information contact Carol Ann Dykes, Site Manager, UCF Business Incubation Program at 407-207-7426 or via email at carolann.dykes@ucf.edu.

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. 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 invested in the program. For more information, visit incubator.ucf.edu.