A major milestone has been reached by Central Florida’s largest network of business incubators. The University of Central Florida Business Incubation Program, which for over a decade has been dedicated to helping entrepreneurs grow their startup into successful enterprises, recently celebrated the graduation of its 100th client, edgefactory.
“In the past 14 years, many up-and-coming companies have benefitted from their relationship with UCF’s Business Incubation Program,” said Dr. Thomas O’Neal, the program’s founder and executive director. “Some have come and gone quickly, while others stayed longer. But edgefactory and those 99 other graduates came here, took advantage of everything this program has to offer and leveraged it to streamline and grow their companies.”
edgefactory is an Orlando-based creative video production company that specializes in convention and corporate video production services using cutting edge technology. Their clientele includes Fortune 500 companies, film-production agencies, audiovisual companies, as well as professional meeting planners.
The milestone graduate, who is also celebrating its second Emmy Award nomination for writing and producing from the Rocky Mountain Southwest chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, was an incubator client from February 2012 to July 2013 at the program’s Colonial Drive location.
Melissa Wasserman, who serves as the site manager of the Colonial Drive location, said she is proud to have edgefactory as the program’s 100th graduate.
“They are a great example of the kind of company we look for…engaged and coachable,” said Wasserman. “We know they are going to continue to grow and be a great engine for economic development in the community. And that is why we are here.”
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, only 44 percent of small businesses continue to operate after four years. However, the National Business Incubation Association, the world’s leading business incubation and entrepreneurship organization, has found that 87 percent of incubated companies are still in business five years after graduating from their program.
With 84 percent of incubator graduates remaining in their communities, the UCF Business Incubation Program was created to help diversify the Central Florida economy by nurturing companies with the potential to create high-wage jobs.
Since its founding in 1999, the UCF Business Incubation Program has helped several hundred emerging companies, including more than 120 current clients and 100 graduates. From October 2011 to December 2012, the UCF network of current and graduated clients helped create a regional output of more than $400 million resulting in a $5.93 return for every $1 invested in the program by the Central Florida community.
The success of the UCF Business Incubation Program was internationally honored earlier this year, when the National Business Incubation Association recognized the program as the 2013 Incubator Network of the Year.
“I am very proud of all that our program has achieved over the years,” said O’Neal.