UEP Round 1 – First Meeting Review

Nine entrepreneurs gathered at SCC’s UEP on the Suncoast office on Tuesday, April 10 for a breakfast of champions. This first meeting of UEP on the Suncoast entrepreneurs brought together representatives from some of the best start-up and growing companies in Sarasota and Manatee Counties.   UEP on the Suncoast is a business coaching partnership between SCC and the Urban Entrepreneur Partnership (UEP), a program of the Kauffman Foundation.

“To have such a cutting edge project is exciting because now we can borrow expertise from across the country,” said Gina Powell-Ribeiro from the Ringling College of Art and Design, whose Center for Applied Creativity and Innovation is one of the UEP businesses.

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As UEP coaches Ed Bernica and Jill Green explained the program, personalization and attention to detail emerged as the primary keys of UEP’s business coaching model.

“We’re going to be honing in on each of the functional areas of your business, the financial piece, the operation piece, the marketing piece,” Green said as she listed off some of the program’s focus areas. “We’ll be talking about where your pain areas are and talking about how we can best assist you.”

This week, Green, Bernica and SCC president Mike Kennedy visited each to sit down with the owners for an in-depth conversation of what works, and what doesn’t, in their businesses.  In the following weeks the entrepreneurs will continue to communicate with their coaches via state-of-the-art, high-definition video conferencing equipment at SCC’s new UEP on the Suncoast office housed at IntegraClick in northern Sarasota County.

“I’m hoping to get the business skills that I’m not as sharp on to build my business,” said Joyce Niederpruem, president of Southwest Solutions, a geriatric care management company. “I’m a nurse first, so I’m looking forward to learning how to run the business more efficiently and grow it so that it meets the needs of the community better.”

Brian Maguire of the telecommunications company PhoneRover expressed why the UEP is so important to an emerging business. “Starting the business took four times longer and cost three times more than we thought it would.  That was a painful learning curve for us.  Now that we’re growing the business, hopefully [the UEP] will help us stay on the right track and pointed in the right direction.

Would you like your business to be considered for the next round of UEP entrepreneurs? Suncoast Community Capital is accepting applications now! More information can be found at http://suncoastcc.com/ueponthesuncoast.html.

The complete list of UEP on the Suncoast entrepreneurs will be released early next week.

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