Getting your concept off the ground takes relentless work, combined with the right team and resources.
As an entrepreneur myself, I understand the value of having access to resources, as well as a network of people to learn and get advice from. They can be the difference between a start-up that takes off, versus one that fails to launch. Finding these resources can be challenging -- especially if you're a new entrepreneur -- but once you do, nothing will stand in your way.
If you've recently started a company, or are thinking about starting one in the future, Orlando is full of start-up resources for you to take advantage of. Over the past few years many programs and resources have popped up to help founders with business of all types and stages. Here are a few resources you can look into:
Even if you're only at the idea stage, there are resources to help you bring your idea to fruition:
- Starter Studio - This accelerator program gives you mentorship, office space, and allows you to truly validate your idea. The great part about this program is that you don’t have to have a business yet, you can just apply with an idea and they will help you take it from there. They have 2 cohorts per year and you can find more information at starterstudio.com.
- Demo Day - If you are thinking about applying to Starter Studio, I suggest attending a Demo Day. At the end of the Starter Studio program, the latest class presents their startup story to the community -- also known as Demo Day. This event is very well-planned and a great networking opportunity. Follow Starter Studio’s Facebook page to stay updated on the next Demo Day (usually they happen in May and November).
If your start-up is a little bit further along, you can apply to programs such as the UCF incubator program, Firespring Fund accelerator, and VentureScaleUp.
- UCF Incubator Program - The UCF Business Incubation Program is an economic development partnership designed to help create and sustain jobs in the community, and spur economic growth throughout the region. Their goal is to help early-stage businesses develop into financially stable companies by providing the tools, training, and infrastructure that help facilitate smarter, faster startup growth.
- Firespring Fund - This Central Florida Evergreen Fund and accelerator program provides funding, mentorship, and office space to those who commit to growing a business in Central Florida. FireSpring Fund directly addresses the critical gap in seed funding that is the largest barrier faced by Central Florida’s technology entrepreneurs.
- Venture Scale Up - This is a program designed for high-growth entrepreneurs with a core founding team in place, a validated minimum viable product, some paying customers, and significant growth potential.
Typically start-ups start with a small team and small budget, making it is hard to find an office space that is flexible and affordable. Co-working spaces are great because not only are they affordable, but they also put you around other like-minded people and are great for networking. A few Orlando co-working spaces include:
Events and Communities
- 1 Million Cups - Founded by the Kauffman Foundation, 1 Million Cups is a program that allows entrepreneurs to pitch their idea to a friendly audience to gain feedback (they like to call it “guppy tank”). This community-run program is an awesome way to get the word out about your new business and practice your public speaking skills. They also have chapters in almost every major city across the U.S., and once you pitch here ... You can apply to present here.
- Orlando Tech Association - Orlando has a very large tech community. The Orlando Tech Association is a great resource to connect with other people in the space, and they also put together great events. Follow them on Facebook to stay up-to-date on Orlando Tech news and events.
Also, if you are a start-up looking for marketing help, be sure to contact us here.
Written by Lauren Holiday Buys
May 19, 2017