SATOP has formed Alliances with Economic Development Organizations (EDOs) to help market the program to small businesses.
Known as part of the Treasure Coast, Martin County has a prominent place in the beginnings of Florida’s history. The coastline of the county is the site of several shipwrecks that took place in the 1700s, when Spanish ships carrying gold and silver doubloons and other treasures wrecked offshore in a hurricane. However, it wasn’t until the late 1800s when the first communities began to grow in connection with the completion of the Flagler railroad line, which connected Jacksonville and Miami.
The County was officially founded in 1925, and 70 years later the Martin County Business Development Board was one of the first organizations to sign an agreement with the Space Alliance Technology Outreach Program (SATOP) to help promote the newly-founded initiative. Since that time, the Business Development Board has been very successful in connecting small businesses with the power of the Space Program through SATOP.
In fact, according to SATOP Director Paul Secor, the Martin County Business Development Board is having a banner year this year. “We’ve received over half a dozen requests from Martin County in the last three to four months alone. The Business Development Board has done a great job of promoting SATOP. It also helps that they have a very tight-knit manufacturing community. We find that many requestors from Martin County know each other and it’s obvious that they end up sharing stories about their experience with SATOP,” stated Secor.
Much of The Business Development Board’s success can be attributed to the organization’s aggressive business outreach. Members of the staff often make personal visits to local businesses and SATOP is a topic that is discussed at each meeting. If a business owner expresses interest, staff members will actually help them enter their request right there on the spot.
In addition to personal meetings, the organization also promotes SATOP at business meetings, within their electronic newsletter, and on their website. According to Business Development Board officials, the most effective form of communication is providing examples of some of SATOP’s success stories. The organization uses different success stories to stimulate interest from different industry sectors, and examples that come from Martin County provide even more credibility with regards to the benefits that SATOP offers.
According to Ted Alstofi, the Executive Director of the Martin County Business Development Board, SATOP has been an extremely positive experience for the local business community.
“Business owners and managers have been pleasantly surprised to learn that the same intellectual resources used by NASA are available to them right here in little Martin County. Projects that have been researched or tested by SATOP and its partners have aided many of our companies as they develop new products, add new employees, and lead to more cost-effective solutions that ultimately increase profitability,” stated Alstofi.
SATOP Director Paul Secor indicates that he has enjoyed the long standing relationship with the Martin County Business Development Board. “It’s amazing to think that we are approaching our 10 year anniversary in SATOP and with the Martin County Business Development Board. I can’t wait to see what we can accomplish together in the next ten years,” declared Secor.