GrowFL regains its statewide traction

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    Author: Richard Burnett
    Publisher: Orlando Sentinel
    Date: November 4, 2012

    Eviscerated last year by cuts in the state budget, an entrepreneur-assistance program based at the University of Central Florida regained its state money this year and has once again expanded its reach to businesses statewide.

    GrowFL fell prey to Florida’s austerity budget in 2011, as Gov. Rick Scott axed $2 million and gutted the organization’s operating budget, which sent the program’s organizers scrambling for other sources of money.

    In stepped a number of local governments, including Orange County, along with the Florida High-Tech Corridor Council and UCF, which together contributed enough to keep the program alive, though at a reduced level that focused only on businesses in Central Florida.

    That at least gave organizers enough time to brief the governor thoroughly on the program’s importance, said Tom O’Neal, GrowFL’s executive director and vice president of UCF’s research-and-commercialization office. Their efforts paid off: Scott restored the $2 million, and GrowFL resumed its statewide reach. Read more here.