UCF featured in the Orlando Sentinel

A gifted soccer player in his youth and a successful coach as an adult, Tim Luby thought he had a winning idea with his patented practice tool, The Soccer Shot, but scoring in business was a skill yet to be mastered.

Luby, 49, whose product teaches soccer players how to perfect a free kick, knew his fledgling enterprise faced a slew of problems that kill many startups.

To improve his survival chances, Luby earned a spot in a business incubator on East Colonial Drive operated by the University of Central Florida, which has eight area centers designed to nurture seedling enterprises. Two more UCF-sponsored incubators will open soon: one at Daytona Beach International Airport and another in southLake County, both subsidized by tax dollars from local governments desperate for jobs in hard times.

“This has to be in your job-creating toolbox,” said Lake County Manager Darren Gray, who has pushed county commissioners to fund an incubator near Clermont. “You’re really investing in entrepreneurs who can’t do it on their own yet and may need a little jump-start now but could someday grow into something big.”

Lake has invested $170,000 since March 2009 in a UCF incubator in Leesburg. It has made a similar pledge for the Clermont-area center.

Incubators, which provide flexible leases, support services, networking and crucial business counseling to promising startups, are smart investments, said Bill McDermott, economic-development director in Seminole County, which has poured about $1.4 million into a UCF incubator in Winter Springs during five years.

UCF was featured in the article titeled “Communities grow jobs with UCF business incubators,” which can be read here.


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