Prior to founding 8-koi in 2008, Inga Young worked for other large companies in Brevard County. All during this time she had a strong desire to create her own business. For the Brevard County native, 8-koi, a name that symbolizes prosperity, good luck and embracing adversity through persistent focus on positive outcomes, was the vehicle she needed to pursue her dreams and find a happy medium.
Going off on your own and leaving a steady job is a daunting proposition. Doing so during a recession is even more frightening. Young shared her experience and from where she mustered the courage to take the leap. "I’m a spiritual person and I prayed a lot," she said. "Then situations in my life fell apart and I decided to let the universe allow things to fall into place. I went with what was presented to me. At first, I worked and consulted on the side. A point in time came where I had to make a choice to work full time for a company or work full time on my own company."
Fueled by passion, excellence, dependability and thoughtfulness, 8-koi, an 8(a) certified woman-owned small disadvantaged business, has thrived and prospered under the exceptional guidance of Young. A full-time workforce of more than 30 employees offers services to state and federal government agencies including administrative support, program management, and training/technical services to include procurement, medical simulation, patient safety and risk management, medical coding and records management, in addition to new construction and design, renovation of existing facilities, and technology integration.
8-koi's niche is to offer excellence and knowledge at fair and reasonable prices. They also focus on corporate culture and giving back to the community. The company tag line is, 'Full Spectrum Contracting with a Human Touch'. That human touch is on display by employees practicing and preaching company core values and through 8-koi's continuous involvement with national and local programs.
Notable Community Support
"We really value the high school and colleges in our local community," Young said. "Each year we do high school or college internships. Some of our best employees were developed this way. We also participate in the Military Spouse Employment Partnership Program. It's a national initiative to hire military spouses. They often move place to place and have difficulty finding employment. We're also looking at the possibility of contributing to a scholarship program for the Space Coast Post of the Society of American Military Engineers."
What it Means to be a Florida Companies to Watch Honoree
For the reasons already mentioned, and many other equally as impressive accomplishments, contributions and industry achievements, 8-koi was recently recognized by GrowFL as a Florida Companies to Watch honoree. Florida Companies to Watch celebrates growing second-stage companies headquartered in Florida that demonstrate high performance in the marketplace with innovative strategies and processes, making them “worth watching". Young shared what it means to be a Florida Companies to Watch honoree and why she believes 8-koi was selected.
"It's a great honor to have been selected top 50 among all 500 companies nominated," she said. "Our employees have had a spring to their step ever since the nomination. They are very proud to work for a company that was nominated and honored. I believe our company was selected because of our core values and for what we give back to humanity, such as our participation in the Military Spouse Employment Partnership Program. We are thankful that Barbara Stankowski, President and CEO of AMTIS, nominated us for this honor. She has been a friend and an advocate for 8-koi and for me personally."
Looking ahead, Young is focused on hiring and investing in people that share company core values. Pointing out that Florida, in particular Florida's High Tech Corridor, is a great place to do business and to continue expanding 8-koi's footprint. By the end of 2019, Young expects to add another 20 full-time employees.
Advice for Aspiring Entrepreneurs
Young offers up some fundamental yet tried and true advice for aspiring entrepreneurs. "Follow your passion," she said. "It's also important to work smarter, not harder."