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PHOTO COURTESY THE VOLUSIA COUNTY BUSINESS INCUBATOR PRESENTING THE AWARD — Connie Bernal, site manager for the Volusia County Business Incubator, presents the Ambassador of the Year Award to Stetson University’s Lou Paris, an assistant professor of management in the School of Business Administration and director of the Prince Entrepreneurship Leaders Program. Paris was given the award for his dedication and commitment to the creation and growth of new business ventures and for his support of the Volusia County Business Incubator and local entrepreneurship.

Stetson University professor Lou Paris, MBA, has received the Ambassador of the Year Award from the Volusia County Business Incubator Powered by the UCF Business Incubation Program, the university announced in a news release.

Paris, who is an assistant professor of management in the School of Business Administration as well as director of the Prince Entrepreneurship Leaders Program, was selected as this year’s award recipient for his dedication and commitment to the creation and growth of new business ventures and for his support of the Volusia County Business Incubator and local entrepreneurship.

“This annual award is important because Stetson University is being recognized once again as an institution that fosters innovation with its students and the community,” said Paris in the release. “The award also has been historically important to the Volusia County Business Incubator because it lives up to the essence of what the organization is trying to accomplish in the area.”

The Joseph C. Prince Entrepreneurship Program launched its Leaders Program four years ago. Entrepreneurship students participate in a selection process before they can join the elite group, which is limited to 10 to 15 dedicated team members. Criteria include having a business idea, developing and taking the company concept as far as possible, and accepting and processing feedback from entrepreneurship faculty and experts.

The Leaders Program provides students with valuable, entrepreneurial experience through participation in six business-pitch competitions during the academic year.

Competitions normally favor business products that have intellectual property, a utility or design patent, and profit potentials.

As a mixed-use facility, the Volusia County Incubator serves a wide variety of early-stage businesses, notes the program’s website. Located at the U.S. Customs terminal at Daytona Beach International Airport, this 9,600-square-foot modern facility features private offices, a spacious training room, conference rooms, shared office equipment, a kitchen, and a reception area.

The Volusia County Incubator was established in July 2011, as a partnership among the University of Central Florida, Volusia County and the Florida High Tech Corridor Council.

The UCF Business Incubation Program provides business development and operational support to early-stage, innovative businesses throughout Central Florida. Since 1999, this award-winning program has supported hundreds of companies, who have collectively generated more than $400 million in sales and over $100 million in outside funding.

This nonprofit community resource offers four programs that are each designed to help businesses at different stages of growth.

UCF operates eight incubators across four counties.

Founded in 1883, Stetson University is the oldest private university in Central Florida. Stetson University ranks No. 4 on U.S. News & World Report’s 2021 list of Best Regional Universities (South), and has been recognized as one of The Princeton Review’s 386 Best Colleges, 2021 edition.

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