From incubation to impact: UCFBIP reveals impressive ROI

A recent study of economic impact reveals an impressive return on investment for the University of Central Florida Business Incubation Program (UCFBIP).

Small businesses are making a significant impact on the regional economy, thanks to the tools, training and infrastructure provided to local entrepreneurs by the UCFBIP.

That’s the conclusion of a recent study, which reveals that more than 3,350 jobs and an estimated direct regional economic output of more than $327 million are the results of UCF’s nonprofit incubation program. Including companies indirectly assisted by the program, that economic output increases to $620 million. In addition, the program directly sustained 1,856 jobs in Central Florida and indirectly sustained another 1,500 jobs, resulting in more than $18.5 million in state and local tax revenues. Also, it’s estimated that employees of incubation companies earned, on average, more than $58,000 in annual income.

Commissioned by the Florida High Tech Corridor Council, the 2013 Regional Impact Study analyzed and documented the productivity and sustainability of the program, a 14-year-old economic development partnership between private enterprise and several local governments throughout the region. Economic outputs were measured from Oct. 1, 2011, through June 30, 2013.

“For me, the most impressive finding was the ROI [Return on Investment],” comments Tom O’Neal, founder and executive director of the UCF Business Incubation Program. “The report concludes that during the study period the UCFBIP helped generate a fiscal return of $6.16 for every $1 of public investment.”

According to O’Neal, the study ultimately indicates what he has been saying for a long time: A focused university-based incubation program can be one of the most effective ways private enterprise can stimulate local economic development, spur job growth and help rebuild the economy.

“It’s our client companies and graduate companies that create the new jobs and generate all the local community economic growth,” O’Neal adds. “Our sole effort is to accelerate the rate at which they attain their most productive, most sustainable performance.”

According to Gordon Hogan, director of the UCFBIP , the 2013 Regional Economic Impact Study used a highly sophisticated methodology to more precisely determine economic impacts. The IMPLAN methodology (IMpact analysis for PLANning) was developed by the University of Minnesota for the U.S. Forest Service more than 30 years ago and is widely viewed as the “most reliable tool for accurately assessing economic performance,” Hogan noted.