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Forty Small Businesses Selected to Receive Education and Growth Assistance from ScaleUp North Florida

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ScaleUp North Florida, the new U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) growth acceleration program based at the University of North Florida, has selected 40 small business owners for its 2016 class. This represents a participation increase of over 8% in the second year of the program.

Much of the interest was a direct result of ScaleUp’s inaugural year.  Of the 37 participants in 2015, 77 reported an increase in sales, 70% reported hiring new employees, 20% reported access to capital and 100% said they would recommend the program to a business colleague.

More than 70 applications were received for the 2016 class, which is designed to impact the local economy by helping small businesses scale up, create jobs and grow their bottom lines. There is no charge to participate.

For the second year, Community First Credit Union has partnered with ScaleUp North Florida as the program’s local sponsor. This sponsorship fits with Community First’s focus on serving local small businesses. “Small business, entrepreneurship and innovation are core focuses of our services at Community First,” said John Hirabayashi, President and CEO of Community First. “We are proud to support projects like ScaleUp North Florida, which give small businesses a leg up in our market. We are looking forward to seeing the success that education and partnerships like ScaleUp will have in our region.”

The 2016 ScaleUp class includes:  Noura Abi Khalil, Noura Café; Meridith Anzulis, Fenetex; Lauren Atwaters, Ten23 Designs; Edward Baldwin, ProfileGorilla; William (Bill) Barfield, Institute for Professional Certification and Licensing Education (IPCLE); Rebecca Black, Rebecca Black Immigration PA; Robyn Branch, Robyn Branch Design; Johnny Brown, E.W. Lawson & Son Funeral Home; Lennys Campos, Campos Consulting Inc; Dennis Chan, Blue Bamboo; Jeremy Chase, Connect-Tek, LLC; Christina Comstock, Blue Cypress Golf Course; Jessica Cuetos, The Ascend Group, LLC; Kenneth Curry, Millennium Fire and Water Restoration Specialists; Kimberly Deas, Murphy Business & Financial Services; Jen DeVore Richter, Rock My Image; Daren Dillinger, MacTechPro, Inc; Hanan Furqan, THREEZ Company; Delmas Harper, Harper & Associates Realty, LLC; Stephen Hitson, Parts to Ride, Inc; Christopher Kennelly, Kennetic Productions, Inc; Amie Keslar, Front Porch Pickings; Bradley ‘Duke’ Lewis, Lewis Diving & Salvage, Inc; Jeffrey Lipp, Active Health Care PA; Jason McDonald, Freshjax; Regina McDonough, Nature’s Way Pest Control, Inc; James Pennington, BitCom, LLC; Tracey Phillips, Promotional Presence, LLC; Joseph Quest, Day or Night Moves, Inc; Katie Rider, Gregory Paul’s; Isadore Robertson, A Real Unique Enterprise, LLC; Heather Sams, HAS Art Solutions; Vicki Schneller, The Home Studio, Inc; Kim Scott, The Morgan Company Promotional Advertising; Jim Shields, Milestone Race Authority; Jean Shimp, Shimp Sign & Design, Inc; Andrew Slover, Slover Consulting, LLC; Mike Sperry, Sperry Software; Leslie Sutton, Veterans Moving and Storage, LLC; and Jason Watson, Watson Martial Arts, Inc.


About ScaleUp North Florida: ScaleUp North Florida is a small business growth program of the U.S. Small Business Administration which is based at the University of North Florida. To learn more about ScaleUp North Florida, visit our website at

community first love where u bankAbout Community First Credit Union: Community First Credit Union of Florida is a state-chartered credit union based in Jacksonville serving anyone who lives or works on the First Coast. Community First is one of the 10 largest credit unions in the state, serving more than 108,000 members and with assets of $1.3 billion. Community First has 18 locations and 300 employees. A not-for-profit, Community First is a full-service financial institution offering banking, loans, mortgages and investments for consumers and businesses throughout the First Coast. For more information, visit

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