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Featured Guest Speaker — Belinda Ortiz Kirkegard | President
National Entrepreneur Center
Belinda will talk about the benefits of leveraging local organizations and support systems by utilizing the resources available in a community to achieve personal and professional goals.
The National Entrepreneur Center is an excellent resource for entrepreneurs looking to establish valuable connections with other businesses, organizations, and institutions in the community. By building networks and tapping into the available resources, individuals can gain access to crucial assistance, guidance, and opportunities that can contribute to their success. The center offers a wealth of knowledge, expertise, and support, providing entrepreneurs with the tools and resources necessary to thrive in their professional and entrepreneurial ventures.
Belinda’s upbringing in a military family instilled hard work and integrity values that would guide her throughout her career. After completing her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Public Administration at the University of Central Florida, Belinda worked for elected officials who taught her the value of open and transparent government and civic involvement. Her record of volunteer work can be attributed to these women.
Belinda earned her Master’s in Public Administration and went on to work for Orange County’s Business Development office, providing technical support to entrepreneurs and monitoring millions of dollars in contracts. She gained experience in government procurement rules and earned her national Economic Development Finance Professional designation.
Belinda continued to serve as an advocate for hospitality with the Central Florida Hotel & Lodging Association (CFHLA), handling governmental affairs and developing relationships with corporate and community leaders. She then spent time running for political office and providing Hispanic outreach for the state political party.
As Economic Development Director for the City of Kissimmee, Belinda developed the city’s economic development program, including the Kissimmee Medical Arts District and Aerospace Advancement Initiative. She strategically positioned the city and attracted millions of dollars in investments. Belinda was also part of the team that spearheaded the county’s economic development collaborative efforts during the pandemic, creating the award-winning “We’ve Open Safely” initiative.
Belinda recently assumed the role of President of the National Entrepreneur Center, leading the organization’s efforts to further the region’s economy. She is married to Eric Kirkegard and raising their two children in Kissimmee, FL.
Check out the National Entrepreneur Center website to learn more in advance so you can come armed with questions.