Start or grow your business with the Center for Business Development

Tuesday, May 16, 2023
Written by: Laura E. Richeson, APR

The Center for Business Development at Seminole State College of Florida has been dedicated to helping small businesses in Central Florida for more than 25 years with resources and programming at no or low cost.

If you are thinking of starting a business or need business assistance to grow, the Center for Business Development offers a variety of training programs, affordable office space, business resources, market research, DiSC® assessment and training and one-on-one consulting.

“The center is a one-stop-shop for any small business from pre-ventures to well-established companies at any stage of their lifespan,” said Amy A. Kirkland, MBA, director, Center for Business Development.

Key programs at the center offer various levels of resources to address today’s most in-demand needs for business launch, growth and succession.

The U.S. Small Business Administration defines a small business as a firm with fewer than 500 employees. U.S. economy statistics show that small businesses have always been an important part of both our culture and our success. They contribute to the local economy by bringing stability, jobs and financial growth, and they can offer a more diverse inventory or specialize in unique services. Whether they remain small or grow into large corporations, these kinds of companies also contribute to the government’s budget through taxes. 

Elevate Your (or Your Employees’) Professional Skills

Professional development and continuing education non-credit courses are available to companies seeking additional training opportunities. Courses are offered online or in person and can be customized to the employer’s needs. If you are looking to level up your professional skills or desire supplementary training and/or certifications for your employees, the Center for Business Development has a wide array of training options available through the Institute for Training.

A man shakes a woman's hands in a business office
Whether you're starting a business or need business assistance to grow, the Center for Business Development can assist with resources to address today’s most in-demand needs for business launch, growth and succession.

Ready to Take Your Business to the Next Level?

The Foundations of Excellence is an intense advisory board program designed to take second-stage companies to their next level of growth. Each company is matched with a customized team of expert volunteers from various industries and professional skill sets. Business owners and the advisory board members meet monthly in person or virtually for a year. The program is designed with a six-pillar system to include the fundamental building blocks of a successful business including:

  • Strategic planning & business systems
  • Financial soundness
  • Human resources
  • Marketing & brand awareness
  • Sales & business development
  • Leadership & succession planning

Women’s Entrepreneur Program

The ELLE Collective supports and accelerates women business ownership and strengthens the impact of women on the economy by creating jobs, fueling economic growth and building strong communities.

“The ELLE Collective provides a comfortable space for women business owners to come for support, resources, networking and learning opportunities specifically designed to help women entrepreneurs succeed,” Kirkland said.

Programming and events focus on the issues facing women-owned businesses and include education, technical assistance, networking, mentorship, leadership development and more. For more information and to join the ELLE Collective email list, visit

Pitch Contest Benefits Startup Companies

The Center for Business Development launched a Pitch Contest in 2022 to help startup companies that were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic grow and succeed in the corporate ecosystem. The contest was open to all businesses in the initial stage of operations. A cohort of six startup companies advanced through two rounds of competition and received the prize of a 12-month, no-cost participation in the Business Incubation Program at the Center beginning in January 2023. The six companies are now working with the Center to develop their business models, vision, mission and value propositions.

“We are busier than ever at the Center and committed to keep companies moving forward as they launch and realize their business dreams,” Kirkland said.

About the Center for Business Development

The Center for Business Development at Seminole State College focuses on the development and enhancement of Seminole County’s business community through its Small Business Development Center, Business Incubation Program, Foundations of Excellence advisory board program and ELLE Collective. Since 1993, the center has supported more than 4,000 clients and added more than $300 million to the local economy. For more information, call 407.321.3495.