Palm Coast - Omar Rivera and his wife Katherine are a Palm Coast BAC success story. Together, and with assistance from the Florida SBDC at UCF-Palm Coast, they have built DR. PAINT, a residential and commercial painting contractor, into a successful local business in just two short years.
In 2013, Omar Rivera was on active duty in the U.S. Air Force stationed in Sumter, South Carolina, but contemplating his retirement and life after the Air Force. He enrolled in a program designed to assist military personnel with the transition into civilian life called "Boots to Business." There he came into contact with the South Carolina Small Business Development Center (SC-SBDC).
"Boots to Business and my SC-SBDC consultant helped me a lot. I had a lot of ideas about what type of businesses to get into and he guided me in the right direction," Rivera recalls.
Shortly after retirement from the Air Force, the Riveras moved to Palm Coast to start DR. PAINT. And they immediately connected with Ray Peter, a consultant at and area manager of the FSBDC at UCF-Palm Coast office located in the Palm Coast Business Assistance Center (BAC). And Peter has been helping them ever since.
"The FSBDC has assisted us in so many ways; guiding us in putting together our Employee Handbook, building our marketing plan, sharpening our social media and public relations, strengthening our financial management. They even introduced us to government contracting," says Katherine Rivera.
"And not only did they help us understand how to go after federal contracts," continued Omar Rivera, "but they actually made it possible for us to put in bids and win the work. They helped get all the documents together and explained what the government was looking for. In a very short time by government standards - less than a year - we have been awarded multiple contracts worth more than $80,000 in sales to us."
Omar and Katherine Rivera are excited about Dr. Paint's future in Palm Coast. And they are intent upon continuing to work with Ray Peter and using the FSBDC to help them with their business. "The FSBDC is like a mentor to us. When we have any issues, we can always count on them. They are just a call away. It is great to know they are there whenever we need them," Mr. Rivera says.
"Entrepreneurship is a lonely road," he continued. "Sometimes you don't know where to go or what to do. It's definitely worth it to seek out the FSBDC. They know what they're talking about; they are very knowledgeable and have great resources. They can help with any aspect of your business. And it's all at no cost. I'd tell any business owner: 'Try them out. You'll be glad you did.'"
About the FSBDC at UCF
With its main office in the National Entrepreneur Center located at the Fashion Square Mall in Orlando, the Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) is part of the UCF Office of Research & Commercialization and the Florida SBDC Network (FSBDC Network). The FSBDC at UCF provides business seminars and no-cost, one-on-one business consultation to emerging and established businesses. The FSBDC at UCF serves an eight-county area that includes Brevard, Flagler, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Sumter, and Volusia counties and maintains 10 service centers across Central Florida.
In 2015, the FSBDC at UCF served almost 7,000 entrepreneurs in Central Florida through consulting and training, resulting in more than 7,300 jobs created, retained or saved; $990 million in sales growth; $74.4 million in capital formation; $101.7 million in government contract awards; and 111 new businesses started.
About the FSBDC Network
The FSBDC at UCF is a member of the Florida SBDC Network, a statewide service network funded in part through cooperative agreements with the U.S. Small Business Administration, Defense Logistics Agency, State of Florida and other private and public partners. The Florida SBDC Network is hosted by the University of West Florida and is nationally accredited by the Association of SBDCs. All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.
For over 35 years, the FSBDC Network has nourished a statewide partnership between higher education and economic development organizations, dedicated to providing emerging and established business owners with management and technical assistance, enabling overall growth and increased profitability for the businesses and economic prosperity for the state. The FSBDC Network is a statewide service system of 41 centers with 60 outreach locations, including the FSBDC at UCF.
In 2015, the Florida SBDCs served almost 45,500 entrepreneurs and small business owners through consulting and training, resulting in 217,849 jobs created, retained or saved; $29.3 billion in sales growth; $947.4 million in capital accessed; $2.1 billion in government contract awards; and 3,857 new businesses started.