UCF Business Incubation Program, StarterStudio Opens New Entrepreneur Center Downtown

To showcase the efforts of two of the region’s leading organizations in diversifying its economy, the Downtown Innovation District and UCF Business Incubation Program’s StarterStudio are moving to downtown Orlando.

On December 1, 2021, the programs will move from their Church Street Exchange space to a storefront property on Orange Avenue between Church Street and Pine Street. On Tuesday, a grand opening took place at the new location at 130 S. Orange Ave., on the ground floor of the historic Kress Building. The 3,579 square foot space currently includes some office space, but also includes essential conference and meeting space for programming.

“There’s a draw to being in the heart of downtown and for people to be able to see the activity happening as they walk by,” says Rob Panepinto, Director, Innovation Districts Strategy and Partnerships and Senior Strategic Advisor for partnerships and innovation at UCF. “Additionally, key to the space was its flexibility to not only adapt to today’s downtown office space environment, but also to quickly adapt to the future needs of our businesses.”

The UCF Business Incubation Program is a community resource that provides start-ups with the tools, training, and infrastructure needed to become financially stable, high-growth, high-impact businesses. Since 1999, this award-winning program has provided vital business development resources, enabling more than 300 local startups to reach their potential faster and access the community where they continue to grow and thrive. a positive impact on the local economy.

For businesses in the Innovation District, this new space provides a central meeting space for the organization’s mentorship and customer-first programs.

“One of our main goals in Innovation Districts is to connect these scalable companies to regional leaders who can impact their business,” says Panepinto. “This space will quickly become a hub for this type of activity and will certainly create an impact on our entire region.

For StarterStudio, this move is the culmination of a return to its core mission of providing resources for tech and tech-dependent entrepreneurs. The organization was the region’s first coworking space, but in 2019 StarterStudio decided to move away from that model. StarterStudio is a nonprofit that works with partners across Central Florida to strengthen the tech startup ecosystem and elevate the region in the eyes of investors, educating them about the benefits of investing in startups locally. technologies.

“We decided to expand our programs and reduce the importance of location as the coworking market matured and commercialized,” says Lilian Myers, executive director of StarterStudio. “We are focused on the mission that was originally intended to fulfill the strategy of being the only tech-focused non-profit accelerator and tech-driven companies.”

In 2020 and 2021, the organization doubled its programming for entrepreneurs. The new location will allow StarterStudio to offer in-person programming, as well as online programming. Much of its current programs will transition to this hybrid model.

“We are certainly thrilled to have the University of Central Florida Research Foundation in the Kress Building,” said Rob Yeager, owner of the Kress Building of Sullivan Properties. “This space in the center of downtown Orlando provides our city with a great opportunity to really watch these businesses grow and impact our entire region.”

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