Companies that grew up in the University of Central Florida’s business incubators sustained 4,710 jobs and added more than $725 million to the region’s gross domestic product in the past two years, according to a newly released economic impact study.

The report found that the seven UCF-operated incubators spread over Orange, Seminole, Osceola and Volusia counties are job-creating engines whose client companies had a $1.3 billion impact on sales in the region from July 1, 2014, to June 30, 2016.

“The goal of the UCF Business Incubation Program is to nurture these start-up companies to the point where they are able to grow and survive on their own. We have been very successful at that, and that success translates to new jobs in our community and economic growth throughout the region,” said Tom O’Neal, associate vice president of UCF’s Office of Research & Commercialization.

The UCF incubator program was formed in 1999 to help early-stage businesses grow into financially stable companies. Clients benefit from office space and shared office resources in one of the incubator buildings; strategic business advice and coaching; frequent seminars and workshops; as well as help with budgeting, accounting, intellectual property and legal questions.

Since the program’s inception, UCF incubators have helped nearly 400 companies in a broad range of sectors, including simulation, clean energy, digital media, transportation and many more.

The study, which was conducted by Vernet Lasrado, assistant director of the Office of Research & Commercialization, was commissioned by the Florida High Tech Corridor. It examines the economic activity of the program’s current clients, as well as those that have graduated or left the program since it was launched but remain in the region, and quantifies their combined impact on the local economy during the two-year study period.

The study found that firms associated with the incubator program:

  • Sustained 4,710 jobs in the Orlando and Daytona Beach regions as of June 30, 2016, including both direct and indirect employment.
  • Had a $725 million total impact on the region’s gross domestic product.
  • Had a $1.3 billion total impact on regional sales.
  • The incubators receive funding from UCF, the Florida High Tech Corridor Council, Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Volusia counties, and the cities of Apopka, Kissimmee, Orlando and Winter Springs.

    The study also concluded the program is a good deal for the local governments and organizations that support it. The incubators received $4.9 million in funding during the two-year study period, while incubator clients’ business activities generated more than $36 million in state and local taxes during the same period. In short: For every $1 of public investment, an estimated $7.41 was returned in taxes.

    “There is no denying the remarkable success of the UCF Business Incubation Program – not only as a very productive creator of new jobs in high technology and other quality industries, but also as a model for focused and cost-effective economic development,” economic advisor William H. Owen, who reviewed the study, wrote in its forward.

    The report is available here: