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Incubators Help Florida Small Businesses Bloom

Five words or less (NewsUSA) – For neophyte companies, business incubators can offer economic space and experienced leadership for entrepreneurs in their critical first years. The reality is that without marketing savvy and the expertise to manage certain costs, more than 70 percent of companies will fail, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. To combat this, one state is finding a way to help small businesses flourish. In Florida, there are more than 70 recognized organizations instrumental in incubating small businesses. Some of those include UF/Sid Martin Biotechnology Institute, which received the 2017 InBIA Top Global Incubator Award; Beaver Street Enterprise Center; The South Florida Accelerator; and Venture Hive. The success of these programs can be seen in the numbers, with startup growth up 61 percent since 2014. Whether the incubator programs are sponsored by economic development organizations, government entities or academic institutions, Florida stands out. “There’s a movement across the country to help startups succeed,” says Dr. Thomas O’Neal, executive director of the University of Central Florida Business Incubation Program (UCFBIP) and the president of Florida Business Incubators Association (FBIA). “There is a culture focused on it [helping small businesses] and it’s especially friendly to do business in Florida.” Small businesses are flocking to Florida because the state has a solid reputation of helping startup companies thrive. In fact, U.S. News & World Report recently named Florida number one for entrepreneurship. In addition, Florida has the second-highest density of startup businesses in the United States, with more than 100 startup firms per 1,000-firm population, according to Business Insider, which considers the state a hot spot for innovative entrepreneurs. “We [incubators] increase their chances of success,” says O’Neal. “We get that idea off the kitchen table and make it legitimate. We teach them how to work smartly. Set milestones. We help them make connections. Incubation is a process, not a place.” One company member of the UCFBIP program would agree. Alvin Cortez and Ronnie Elliott started an Orlando-based company that places nurses at hospitals across the country, for either short- or long-term assignments. They work to provide housing, benefits and good salaries, and to build relationships with the nurses to better place them in locations that may turn into full-time work. Cortez, Elliott and Richard Manuel finished the incubation program in March 2016. They changed the name of the company from Nurses First Staffing to Nurses First Solutions, based on advice from the program to show the company as more than a staffing business. They have also grown their business from $300,000 to $6 million in the last year. “It has been nothing short of enlightening,” Elliott says. “The program introduced us to a lot a people and opened a lot of doors. We wouldn’t be where we are today if it wasn’t for the incubation process. It has broadened our horizons, and we are already looking to open our next business in Florida.” For more information on small businesses opportunities in Florida, visit enterpriseflorida.com.

Local News

Nazareth players celebrate their Class 5A football title with fans and members of the band on Saturday. (Photos by Jeff Vorva)

Roadrunners win 45-44 shootout for fourth state title

By Jeff Vorva Nazareth Academy’s football season opened in August with a 2-0 win over Kankakee. It closed the season Saturday afternoon with a 45-44 Class 5A state championship win over Peoria at Memorial Stadium in Champaign. And in between was a rollercoaster of wins and losses and a scramble just to make the playoffs.…

reporter EPCHS Inktober

EPCHS art teacher draws something every day In Inktober

A series of drawings from Evergreen Park Community High School art teacher Libby McArthur will grace the walls of the Evergreen Park Public Library through the end of November. The drawings, collectively known as her ‘Inktober’ collection, were made during October. McArthur took part in a worldwide drawing month activity that had specific prompts for…

reporter OLCHS Thanksgiving Food Drive Freshman Academy

OLCHS Thanksgiving food drive a success

OLCHS students and staff participated in the annual Student Council Thanksgiving food drive. Cans, paper goods and over $1,750 in cash/gift cards were collected on November 21. Participating teachers were DeMatteo, Hennelly, Jepsen, Kallenborn, Kolimas, La Spina, Meyers, Strelow, Vazzana, Watson and Wirtz. Numerous district offices also donated items. The winner of Student Council’s handmade “Turkey Chalice” award was Eric…

regional palos park police cadet food drive 2022

Palos Park Police Cadet food drive underway

The Palos Park Police Cadet program is in holiday season mode and the program’s annual Holiday Food Drive is well underway. Cadets are looking for donations of non-perishable foods such as canned goods or boxed goods. The cadets will accept donations at the Palos Park Police Department, 8999 W. 123rd Street. Collections will continue through…

Twins Aiden and Ethan Schilling at last year’s Bingo with Santa. (Photo by Alexandria Shipyor)

Orland Township to hold Bingo with Santa

Whether you’ve been naughty or nice, don’t think twice about attending Orland Township’s Bingo with Santa! Children and their families are invited to join Santa Claus and Supervisor Paul O’Grady with the Board of Trustees in celebrating the most wonderful time of the year with pizza and a fun game of Holiday Bingo, just for…

Rich Jensen cuts the ribbon on November 17 at the new location for Pizza Castle. (Photos by Don Pointer)

Comings & Goings: Pizza Castle now open in Hickory Hills

By Bob Bong After almost five decades of serving pizzas from a small storefront in Chicago’s Gage Park neighborhood, Pizza Castle co-owner Richard Jensen had an opportunity to move into a bigger space and he jumped at the chance. So, Jensen packed up the family business and made the move a few miles south to…

Brookfield Zoo’s ring-tailed lemurs—Skinner (left) and Moses—were treated to an early Thanksgiving feast that featured all the trimmings. This annual tradition, now in its ninth year, takes place the day before the holiday. (Photo by Jim Schulz/Brookfield Zoo)

Ring-tailed Lemurs at Brookfield Zoo enjoy 9th annual Thanksgiving feast

The annual tradition of Brookfield Zoo’s ring-tailed lemurs receiving an early Thanksgiving feast took place today, November 23. Now, in its ninth year, the animal care staff prepared the meal for the primates that featured all the trimmings laid out on a fall-themed table setting. This year, the menu for the lemurs—15-year-old Moses and 12-year-old…

Palos Heights' Thomas Chong tags one of the hundreds of trees being sold by the Palos Lions Club. (Photos by Jeff Vorva)

Palos Lions trees have arrived and are ready for sale

By Jeff Vorva For more than three decades, the Palos Lions Club has been selling Christmas trees Close to 600 trees arrived at the lot on Harlem Avenue near 127th Street on Saturday. The only difference this year is that unlike in past years, there are no monster-sized trees available. “We can’t get the bigger…

Stickney Mayor Jeff Walik holds up a Veterans Parking Only sign that will be installed at various village locations (Photo by Carol McGowan)

Stickney to designate parking for veterans; will add more police officers

By Carol McGowan The Village of Stickney has approved the installation of parking signs to designate spots for veterans. At the November 15 Village Board meeting, Mayor Jeff Walik revealed the sign and explained why they were going up at various locations in the village. “I was recently at Jewel in the village, and saw…

Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau said other communities can learn from the way Orland Park does business. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

After congressional loss, Pekau ready to keep Orland Park a ‘fantastic town’

By Jeff Vorva In Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau’s first board meeting since his loss to Sean Casten for a congressional seat, he expressed disappointment with the loss but said he was happy he is still running the village. At Monday’s meeting, Pekau said he was not happy with the way the elections turned out…

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Nazareth players celebrate their Class 5A football title with fans and members of the band on Saturday. (Photos by Jeff Vorva)

Roadrunners win 45-44 shootout for fourth state title

By Jeff Vorva Nazareth Academy’s football season opened in August with a 2-0 win over Kankakee. It closed the season Saturday afternoon with a 45-44 Class 5A state championship win over Peoria at Memorial Stadium in Champaign. And in between was a rollercoaster of wins and losses and a scramble just to make the playoffs.…

reporter EPCHS Inktober

EPCHS art teacher draws something every day In Inktober

A series of drawings from Evergreen Park Community High School art teacher Libby McArthur will grace the walls of the Evergreen Park Public Library through the end of November. The drawings, collectively known as her ‘Inktober’ collection, were made during October. McArthur took part in a worldwide drawing month activity that had specific prompts for…

reporter OLCHS Thanksgiving Food Drive Freshman Academy

OLCHS Thanksgiving food drive a success

OLCHS students and staff participated in the annual Student Council Thanksgiving food drive. Cans, paper goods and over $1,750 in cash/gift cards were collected on November 21. Participating teachers were DeMatteo, Hennelly, Jepsen, Kallenborn, Kolimas, La Spina, Meyers, Strelow, Vazzana, Watson and Wirtz. Numerous district offices also donated items. The winner of Student Council’s handmade “Turkey Chalice” award was Eric…

regional palos park police cadet food drive 2022

Palos Park Police Cadet food drive underway

The Palos Park Police Cadet program is in holiday season mode and the program’s annual Holiday Food Drive is well underway. Cadets are looking for donations of non-perishable foods such as canned goods or boxed goods. The cadets will accept donations at the Palos Park Police Department, 8999 W. 123rd Street. Collections will continue through…

Twins Aiden and Ethan Schilling at last year’s Bingo with Santa. (Photo by Alexandria Shipyor)

Orland Township to hold Bingo with Santa

Whether you’ve been naughty or nice, don’t think twice about attending Orland Township’s Bingo with Santa! Children and their families are invited to join Santa Claus and Supervisor Paul O’Grady with the Board of Trustees in celebrating the most wonderful time of the year with pizza and a fun game of Holiday Bingo, just for…

Rich Jensen cuts the ribbon on November 17 at the new location for Pizza Castle. (Photos by Don Pointer)

Comings & Goings: Pizza Castle now open in Hickory Hills

By Bob Bong After almost five decades of serving pizzas from a small storefront in Chicago’s Gage Park neighborhood, Pizza Castle co-owner Richard Jensen had an opportunity to move into a bigger space and he jumped at the chance. So, Jensen packed up the family business and made the move a few miles south to…

Brookfield Zoo’s ring-tailed lemurs—Skinner (left) and Moses—were treated to an early Thanksgiving feast that featured all the trimmings. This annual tradition, now in its ninth year, takes place the day before the holiday. (Photo by Jim Schulz/Brookfield Zoo)

Ring-tailed Lemurs at Brookfield Zoo enjoy 9th annual Thanksgiving feast

The annual tradition of Brookfield Zoo’s ring-tailed lemurs receiving an early Thanksgiving feast took place today, November 23. Now, in its ninth year, the animal care staff prepared the meal for the primates that featured all the trimmings laid out on a fall-themed table setting. This year, the menu for the lemurs—15-year-old Moses and 12-year-old…

Palos Heights' Thomas Chong tags one of the hundreds of trees being sold by the Palos Lions Club. (Photos by Jeff Vorva)

Palos Lions trees have arrived and are ready for sale

By Jeff Vorva For more than three decades, the Palos Lions Club has been selling Christmas trees Close to 600 trees arrived at the lot on Harlem Avenue near 127th Street on Saturday. The only difference this year is that unlike in past years, there are no monster-sized trees available. “We can’t get the bigger…

Stickney Mayor Jeff Walik holds up a Veterans Parking Only sign that will be installed at various village locations (Photo by Carol McGowan)

Stickney to designate parking for veterans; will add more police officers

By Carol McGowan The Village of Stickney has approved the installation of parking signs to designate spots for veterans. At the November 15 Village Board meeting, Mayor Jeff Walik revealed the sign and explained why they were going up at various locations in the village. “I was recently at Jewel in the village, and saw…

Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau said other communities can learn from the way Orland Park does business. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

After congressional loss, Pekau ready to keep Orland Park a ‘fantastic town’

By Jeff Vorva In Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau’s first board meeting since his loss to Sean Casten for a congressional seat, he expressed disappointment with the loss but said he was happy he is still running the village. At Monday’s meeting, Pekau said he was not happy with the way the elections turned out…

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