EOCC: EOC Foundation Helps the Community Grow

May 11, 2022 at 07:21 pm by pj

Dorothy Hardee, Chamber Administrator 


“The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.” - Vince Lombardi


Having worked for the East Orlando Chamber of Commerce for six years, I am at no loss for interesting phone calls, inquiries, and information requests. I appreciate that people trust the Chamber as the new voice for business and the community. I chuckled to realize one caller used us as her turn-by-turn navigation system and another spent 20 minutes loudly expressing their displeasure with a company only to discover we were NOT in fact the “EEOC.” Just one letter off – so close.

Outside of offering relocation and vacation information, one of the calls that strikes the biggest chord, especially in 2020 – 2022 is the individual seeking to start a new business and needing information about how to start. According to Sunbiz the number of business entities filing with the Department of State increased by 24,5464 between 2018 and 2021.  Even in the wake of a pandemic, the Orlando region is welcoming more than 1,000 new residents a week according to the Orlando Economic Partnership.  QuickBooks reported that the pandemic influenced how they wanted to work, ramping up their plans to startup a new business. The US Census Bureau has projected seventeen million businesses will launch this year based on early projections.

Those dipping their toe into entrepreneurship have a desire to be their own boss and control their future. To fund these ventures, 67 percent use personal savings. We often get calls from soon to be self-employed asking what they need to do to start. Chukwuma Asala with Gaebler Ventures examined a few of the “rookie mistakes” people made when starting a small business.  Common pitfalls included:

  • Lack of mentorship
  • Focusing on results, not growth &
  • Underestimating the time and effort required


SmallBizClub also included:

  • Cash flow problems
  • Trying to do everything yourself
  • Not having passion
  • Not evaluating the market and
  • Marketing matters


When Orange County shut down businesses for all non-essential business in April 2020, we heard the concerns of our members and spent a great deal of time listening to their needs to stay afloat. The newly formed EOC Foundation transformed from scholarships for college students seeking a degree in business to focusing on the needs of new business owners and those taking the next step of growth.

Countless people we encountered had appreciation, but no idea the steps involved to build a solid foundation for sustained growth. A handful of resolute volunteers took a concept morphing it into a way in which to help new and existing businesses. Working in harmony with the East Orlando Chamber to be the leading resource in business advocacy, community engagement and regional connectivity, the EOC Foundation launched. As a 501c3, the EOC Foundation supports entrepreneurial trailblazers.

The aim is to support small and medium enterprises to launch and expand their footprint with East Orange County. The Foundation will provide financial support, mentorship and guidance while paving the way for a suitable environment for the establishment and development of projects.

We successfully launched a series of workshops in collaboration with member businesses including a successful MWBD certification workshop with Orange County. One reported that they have completed their application after years of feeling overwhelmed. In support of small business additional workshops will include funding and accounting, as well as marketing.

On May 13, the EOC Foundation is partnering with Valencia College Lake Nona Campus and many of our East Orlando Chamber members to conduct a workshop during the Day of Learning. We are offering six sessions for attendees covering key content to build a strong business model and to expand into phase 2. Topics cover:


  • Business Plan, Elevator speech, MWBE Certification overview & Finances
  • Marketing, Branding & websites, establishing social media presence, creating client experience and vision, Press releases & Printing and promotion
  • Sales, HR & Payroll, Staffing
  • Tech IT, platforms, automation & e-commerce
  • Legal
  • Accounting, budgeting & balance sheets
  • Medical & liability insurance


During the summer, the EOC Foundation will launch their microgrant application followed by a “Pitch Competition” for those successfully completing the process and meeting all the qualifications. Information about microgrant applications will be available at the EOC Foundation page. Are you or your company interested in sponsorship opportunities to support the microgrants? Contact me for more details.

For more information or to register for events call (407) 277-5951 or visit our website at eocc.org. The East Orlando Chamber of Commerce everywhere East of I-4.




 Coffee Club East: Often imitated, never duplicated…the ORIGINAL Coffee Club

(1st Thursday of the month) 

Diversify Yourself for the Summer

Thursday, May 2022

8:30 – 9:30 AM 

Bonefish Grill Waterford Lakes

12301 Lake Underhill Road, Orlando, FL 32838 

FREE to EOCC Members | $10 for Non-Members 


 Testimonial Tuesday on Location

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

9:00 AM – 12:30 PM

LIVE of Facebook & On Location


 Misters & Sisters Great Lunch Adventures

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

12:30 – 1:30 PM

Rock & Brews Oviedo

7131 Red Bug Lake Road, Oviedo, FL 32765


The Hybrid Member Academy: Roadmap to Member Success

Wednesday, May 11, 2022 

8:30 AM – 10:30 AM

Hybrid Event - East Orlando Chamber office 

12301 Lake Underhill Road, Ste. 245, Orlando, FL 32828 


Healthcare Council Meet & Greet

Hosted by Modern Eyes at Alafaya and featuring April Boykin, MSW on Behavioral Health

Thursday, May 12, 2022

7:30 – 9:00 AM

Modern Eyes at Alafaya

11794 East Colonial Drive, Orlando, FL 32828


EOC Foundation “Day of Learning”

Friday, May 13, 2022

9:00 AM – 2:00 PM

Valencia College Lake Nona Campus

12350 Narcoossee Road, Orlando, FL 32832

$25 per person includes continental breakfast, lunch, and workshops from industry experts


EOCC Advocacy Advisory Council

Friday, May 13, 2022

10:00 – 11:00 AM

Virtual Meeting

Register to participate


EOCC Real Estate Advisory Council Planning Meeting  

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

9:00 – 10:00 AM

East Orlando Chamber of Commerce

12301 Lake Underhill Road, Ste. 245, Orlando, FL 32828

9:00 – 10:00 AM


 Coffee Club Nona: Often imitated, never duplicated…the ORIGINAL Coffee Club

(3rd Thursday of the month) 

Speed Networking

Thursday, May 19, 2022

8:30 – 9:30 AM 

Sam’s Club Lake Nona 

11920 Narcoossee Road, Orlando, FL 32832 

FREE to EOCC Members | $10 for Non-Members 


#Buzz4Biz Meet & Greet for Chamber Curiosity Seekers

Monday, May 23, 2022

10:00 – 11:00 AM

East Orlando Chamber of Commerce

12301 Lake Underhill Rd., Ste. 245, Orlando, FL 32828


EOC Foundation Planning Meeting

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

9:00 – 10:30 AM

East Orlando Chamber of Commerce

12301 Lake Underhill Rd., Ste. 245, Orlando, FL 32828


EOCC Nonprofit Roundtable

Value of Professionals in your Fundraising” Workshop

Featuring Joe Girvan, Alpert Enterprises

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

9:00 – 10:00 AM

East Orlando Chamber

12301 Lake Underhill Rd., Ste 245, Orlando, FL 32828


EOCC Ribbon Cutting: Freedom Solar

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

4:00 – 6:00 PM


EOCC Brain Trust

Thursday, May 26, 2022

8:00 – 9:30 AM

East Orlando Chamber office

12301 Lake Underhill Road, Ste. 245, Orlando, FL 32828


Memorial Day – EOCC Office Closed

Monday, May 30, 2022

9:00 AM – 5:00 PM