The University of Central Florida Business Incubation Program, which opened Central Florida’s first wet lab incubator in May, has been honored with an Editor’s Choice Award by the University Economic Development Association, as part of the association’s 2018 Awards of Excellence program. The program recognizes innovative, university-based entrepreneurial programs that positively impact the economic development, diversity and prosperity fostered in universities’ communities, as well as the impact they have on national and international markets.
The incubation program was one of four finalists recognized in the program’s Place + Innovation category, along with esteemed institutions of higher education across North America. Nominee programs are selected based on replicability, scalability, originality, impact and sustainability.
“We are honored to have received such a prestigious award,” said Tom O’Neal, UCF Business Incubation Program founding and executive director and UCF’s associate vice president of innovation and commercialization. “This recognition illustrates our dedication to establishing successful entrepreneurship and innovative programs that reinforce Central Florida’s ever-evolving entrepreneurial ecosystem.”
The UEDA award comes on the heels of another distinction for incubation program. In early October, it was named an “Outstanding Diversity Helping Hand” organization in Orlando Business Journal’s 2018 Diversity in Business Awards.
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 more than 390 local startup companies reach their potential faster by providing vital business development resources. With seven facilities throughout the region, the UCF Business Incubation Program is an economic development partnership between UCF, the Florida High Tech Corridor Council, Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Volusia counties, and the cities of Apopka, Kissimmee, Orlando and Winter Springs. For the 2014-15 and 2015-16 fiscal years, the activities of these participating firms have helped sustain more than 4,710 local jobs and have had a cumulative impact of more than $725 million on regional GDP and more than $1.3 billion on regional sales. During the same period, the program has returned $7.41 for every $1 invested in the program. For more information, visit www.incubator.ucf.edu.
About the University Economic Development Association
Established in 1976, the University Economic Development Association (UEDA) is the cornerstone membership organization representing higher education, private sector and community economic development stakeholders. UEDA works to expand economic opportunity in our communities by leveraging research, community resources, campus planning, talent development and technology commercialization. UEDA’s mission is to serve its members by enhancing members’ abilities to deliver economic development benefits through engagement with higher education.