Tom O’Neal: Entrepreneurs are as different as companies they run

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Author: Jim Stratton
Publisher: Orlando Sentinel
Date: December 9, 2013

Tom O’Neal is the founder and executive director of the University of Central Florida’s Business Incubation Program, which opened in 1999. Today the school estimates it has helped companies create more than 3,350 new jobs and generate an estimated $620 million in economic impact. O’Neal spoke with Sentinel reporter Jim Stratton.

CFB: The incubator has been around almost 15 years. Give me an overview of what you offer entrepreneurs and small businesses looking to grow.

Every entrepreneur is different, so we start with some triage to see what they need most. We’ll go through their business plans with them and help them set milestones they can achieve. We’ll help them determine who they need to meet and we’ll open up our Rolodex for them. We help them with HR [human resources] issues, applying for patents, things like that. We’ll also introduce them to potential angel investors and venture capitalists. I’ve found many small-business owners — especially new ones — don’t know what they don’t know. Read more here.