Local

UCF Business Incubator opens in Eustis

EUSTIS, Fla. — The City of Eustis just got a new resource to help entrepreneurs and small businesses accomplish their goals.

WATCH CHANNEL 9 EYEWITNESS NEWS

On Wednesday, UCF opened a business incubator in Downtown Eustis. The occasion was marked with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

The new location was made possible through a partnership with the university, the city, Lake County and private businesses.

READ: Florida Supreme Court to hear arguments on proposed recreational marijuana amendment

Melissa McHaffie, the owner of the Crafted Scent Bar, is the first member of the UCF Business Incubator Program in Eustis.

“At my place you can come in and we’ve got about 50 different scents you can mix and match and make your own crafted scent,” said McHaffie.

It was always her dream to open up the business. A dream she made come true about two years ago when she opened up the location in Eustis.

But now, McHaffie needs help expanding. Which is where the UCF Business Incubator comes in.

“It’s a program that helps business entrepreneurs grow and scale their business,” said the program’s director Rob Panepinto.

This is the ninth location opened throughout Central Florida, but the first in Lake County.

“It’s impressive the commitment Lake County and Eustis are showing toward economic development over the past few years and we’re looking forward to being a part of future growth of this part of our UCF service area,”

READ: STEM education bus rolls into Volusia County

Here’s how it works:

Entrepreneurs apply for a spot and if they’re chosen, they pay a monthly fee and get access to all the services to help them grow. The program has already helped hundreds of businesses in Central Florida.

The location in Eustis also has office space available if people want to rent it out.

“This 100-year-old building is destined to become the center piece of downtown Eustis, an iconic piece of the past transforming the future,” says George Asbate, president, MEGA Properties. “We designed this to be more than just an office building.  It’s a gathering place for entrepreneurs.”

“This is an affordable way for young people to get involved,” said Eustis Mayor Michael Holland.

The Mayor says this is a big win for the area, which continues to grow.

“The toll road system that has been put in coming out of the Orlando area has really exploded us in growth,” said Mayor Holland.

READ: Nearly half of Floridians disenrolled from Medicaid are under the age of 20

He said helping the businesses succeed, will help the city succeed.

As for McHaffie, she says she is ready to learn and keep growing her business.

“To have mentors guiding me and helping me grow is a blessing,” McHaffie said.

To apply, click here.

Click here to download our free news, weather and smart TV apps. And click here to stream Channel 9 Eyewitness News live.