UCF Programs Garner Praise at Seminole Chamber EventMay 5, 2011
Entrepreneurism is one of the few competitive advantages America has left and UCF is helping to positively position Central Florida as a contender in the post-recession economy, a public policy analyst told participants in a Seminole County regional economic summit Thursday May 5.
Graham S. Toft, founder and president of Growth Economics Inc., told representatives of businesses, government, schools and communities from throughout Seminole County and Central Florida that the region's emphasis on diversification, a strong talent base and a growing national reputation for entrepreneurship and second-stage company support are vital strengths that Florida needs to continue to build on.
The event, put on by the Seminole County Regional Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by UCF's Metropolitan Center for Regional Studies, included a panel discussion by M.J. Soileau, vice president for Research and Commercialization at UCF, Randy Berridge, president of the Florida High Tech Corridor Council, and Lt. Gen. Thomas Baptiste, president/executive director of the National Center for Simulation on emerging industries for the county and obstacles to developing them.
Toft lauded UCF for developing, in partnership with local governments, the burgeoning UCF Incubation Program, now in nine locations and preparing to open in a tenth, and for administering the state of Florida's GrowFL program, which focuses on building second stage companies.
While the outlook for the region is promising, Toft and panel members agreed that community leaders need to be diligent in working together to address some of the challenges Florida faces – in particular a lack of venture capital funding.