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2022 Entrepreneurs of the Year Named by Florida SBDC at UCF

The Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida recently celebrated its 2022 Entrepreneurs of the Year and two first runner-ups. In the culmination of the inaugural FSBDC at UCF Small Business Excellence Awards program, the group ended the year celebrating the success, growth, business acumen, and community involvement of FSBDC at UCF’s clients from across its 8-county region.

Named as the 2022 FSBDC at UCF Entrepreneurs of the Year were:

Shannon and Janice Talty Olde Hearth Bread Company

The Olde Hearth Bread Company is an Orlando artisan bakery. Culinary artisans Shannon Talty and Janice Talty teamed up to create the company in 1998, and it has transformed with new focus and direction.

In a tie, two companies were named first runners-up:

Tonya and Tony Oxford Global Technology Integrators, LLC
Yanet Herrero Kings Service Solutions, LLC

The FSBDC at UCF’s Small Business Excellence Award program recognizes local small business owners for their innovation, determination, and resilience as demonstrated in the growth of their businesses and in their contributions to their communities with the designation as the FSBDC at UCF’s 2022 Entrepreneur of the Year. Nominations from across Central Florida were made by FSBDC at UCF consultants to acknowledge their clients’ significant growth; their resourcefulness in overcoming the challenges presented by small business ownership; and their involvement in their communities.

In total, 15 distinguished and remarkable small business owners were nominated for the award.  The 15 honorees were selected from a pool of more than 2700 entrepreneurs served by the FSBDC at UCF in 2021.

The 13 other honorees included:

Darrell Williams, Dexter Williams and Donovan Williams 3D Tire Company, Inc.
Gary and Judy Lemay Bedtops, LLC dba Bedtops Mattress Clearance Center
Dean Caravelis Blezoo
Serge Sorese Florida’s Finest French Bakery Inc, dba Mon Delice French Bakery
Nate Thornton IQ Painters
Kelly and Scott Seidl Kelly’s Homemade Ice Cream
Balouch “Aleem” Muhammad and Tariq Iqbal Kissimmee Granite and Marble, Inc
Vitor de Oliveira Cortes Kissimmee Produce, Inc
Chris Baeten Knight Federal Solutions
Amanda Yarbrough MamaBare Sugaring Studio, LLC
Victoria Messina Messina & Associates, Inc
Pam Rothenberg Tuckaway Shores Resort

Small businesses are the engine that drives the Florida economy. According to the SBA, there are roughly 2.8 million small businesses in Florida. They make up 99.8% of all businesses in the state and employ 3.6 million workers, about 41.1% of the state’s private-sector workforce.

As the list illustrates, the nominees for the FSBDC at UCF Small Business Excellence Awards represent a broad cross section of Central Florida small businesses operating in multiple industries. Fully 60% of the nominees are women- and/or minority-owned businesses. Their qualitative and quantitative results are impressive, as well. For the group, average annual sales were about $3.6 million, with average sales growth of 36% compared to the Florida average of 6.8% for the same period. Their average employee count was 52 with a 42% growth rate.  All are valued clients of the FSBDC at UCF who have benefited in some way from its no-cost, expert consulting; business training; and/or market research resources.

The award winners were selected by the FSBDC at UCF’s Executive Board which is made up of local small business leaders and stakeholders committed to supporting the FSBDC’s mission to help small businesses launch, grow, and thrive through expertise, resources, and advocacy. The announcement of the award winners took place during an invitation-only Awards Luncheon at the Citrus Club in Orlando, FL. This was the first time this award has been given and the FSBDC at UCF Small Business Excellence Award program will become an annual event moving forward. The awards ceremony was made possible through the generous support of the event’s sponsors: Orange County, Lake County, the Osceola Chamber of Commerce, and TriNet.

“We are pleased to recognize the award winners and the nominees for their accomplishments and success through our new Small Business Excellence Award program,” said Eunice Choi, FSBDC at UCF Regional Director. “Small businesses are the key drivers of our local economy, creating prosperity, generating jobs, and improving the quality of life in our communities. It is an honor to be able to celebrate them.”

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