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Entrepreneur helps small businesses succeed

Debbie MagyarDebbie Magyar is the regional director at UNF for the Florida Small Business Development Center (SBDC). Drawing from her extensive experience as a serial entrepreneur, SBDC professional, former SBDC Director of Technology and Innovation, and commercialization specialist, she leads initiatives to drive processes and programs forward from UNF to serve an 18-county region. Her passion for serving small businesses stems from her entrepreneurial background, providing her with a unique understanding of both people and programs. Debbie holds a BA in business with a minor in political science from the University of Kentucky, and she earned her MBA in organizational management from Mount Vernon Nazarene University. Having relocated from Estero, Florida, Debbie embraces her role at UNF as an opportunity to make significant changes and contribute to economic prosperity.
What led you to this opportunity at UNF?
I relocated to the Jacksonville area from Estero, Florida, driven by the opportunity to serve as the regional director for the Florida SBDC at UNF. This role aligns perfectly with my background as a serial entrepreneur and my experience in SBDC programming. It allows me to leverage my skills and knowledge to make meaningful contributions to small businesses across an 18-county region.
What are your main job responsibilities?
As the regional director, my primary responsibilities revolve around leading and managing the Florida SBDC program and APEX Accelerator at UNF. This includes overseeing a dynamic team dedicated to providing consulting assistance and resources to small businesses, developing strategic initiatives to support economic growth and fostering community partnerships.
What are 3 top goals you would like to accomplish in your new role?
  1. Expand outreach efforts to reach more small businesses within our 18-county region. 
  2. Enhance the effectiveness of SBDC programs and services to better meet the evolving needs of entrepreneurs.
  3. Foster collaboration with local organizations and stakeholders to create a robust  support network for small businesses.
What professional experience prepared you for this new role?
My diverse professional background, including roles as a serial entrepreneur, former SBDC director of technology and innovation, and commercialization specialist, has equipped me with the necessary skills and insights to excel in this position. Additionally, my experience in SBA programming and my passion for entrepreneurship drive my commitment to serving small businesses effectively.
What energizes you at work?
I am energized by the opportunity to make a tangible impact on the success of small businesses. Helping entrepreneurs overcome challenges and achieve their goals brings me immense satisfaction and motivates me to continually strive for excellence in my work.
What’s a work-related accomplishment you’re proud of?
One of my proudest accomplishments is spearheading the development of innovative programs and initiatives at the SBDC that have directly contributed to the growth and success of numerous small businesses. Seeing the positive outcomes of these efforts reinforces my dedication to serving the entrepreneurial community.
What do you like to do outside of work?
I enjoy spending time with my family and exploring outdoor activities. Whether it's yoga, biking or simply enjoying nature, I find relaxation and rejuvenation in the great outdoors.
What’s the best/most impactful advice you’ve been given?
The most impactful advice I've received is to never lose sight of the human element in business or in leadership. Understanding the needs and aspirations of people, both within the organization and the community, is essential for driving meaningful change and fostering genuine connections. Following this wisdom handed down from my parents has guided my life choices and led me down a path of joy and fulfillment in all I choose to do.
Who inspires you and why?
I draw inspiration from fellow entrepreneurs who demonstrate resilience, creativity and passion in pursuing their dreams. Their determination to overcome challenges and turn obstacles into opportunities serves as a constant reminder of the transformative power of entrepreneurship.
What’s the top destination on your must-visit list?
The top destination on my must-visit list is Japan, renowned for its rich history, vibrant culture and stunning natural beauty.
What is one thing about you that others may not know?
Many may not know that I have a background as a serial entrepreneur, having launched and managed several successful ventures prior to transitioning into my current role. This firsthand experience allows me to empathize with the challenges and triumphs of entrepreneurship on a personal level.
Anything else you'd like to share?
I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to serve at UNF and contribute to the success of small businesses in our region. The support and collaboration within the UNF community has been truly inspiring, and I look forward to making a positive impact in the years to come.