Zied Ben Taleb: Fun Florida ZBT

Zied Ben Taleb: Fun Florida ZBT

Zied Ben Taleb poses with children riding in the remote control cars available at his business, Fun Florida ZBT, LLC. Ben Taleb was able to start this business with support from EAF and our partner, Gulf Coast JFCS. (Courtesy of Gulf Coast JFCS)

In April 2023, Zieb Ben Taleb fled the war in Ukraine with his wife — who was pregnant with twins at the time — and their young daughter. The family settled in Pinellas County, Florida, where Ben Taleb initially tried to make ends meet with a small toy business on eBay.

Today, with the support of HIAS Economic Advancement Fund (EAF) and our partner, Gulf Coast JFCS, Ben Taleb is now the proud owner of Fun Florida ZBT, LLC — a small business providing remote-controlled car rides for kids as an amusement activity for small children and their families.

With guidance from the microenterprise development program at Gulf Coast JFCS, Ben Taleb was able to put together a business plan for Fun Florida ZBT modeled after a business he ran back in Ukraine. Using a $15k loan from EAF, Fun Florida ZBT was able to purchase a fleet of remote-controlled cars and start pursuing contracts with city parks and local shopping malls to rent the vehicles.

“The loan has been so helpful, but it’s way more than the loan alone,” said Ben Taleb. “The most important [thing is that they are] with you all the way. You can get support at every step.”

That support has included making connections that can be difficult to come by as a new arrival. With support from Gulf Coast JFCS, Ben Taleb was invited to attend the City of St. Petersburg’s 1st Annual Supplier Diversity Day, where he met with the Mayor of St. Petersburg and networked with the City’s Director of Parks & Recreation. He was later invited by the Parks & Recreation department to pitch his business to 14 park managers and has begun renting his vehicles at several local area parks and events.

“Owning a business means a lot to me,” said Ben Taleb. “I’ve been a business owner since 2012, and the most important thing for me is the freedom, because you are your own boss. I have three kids, so I [want to] have the most time with my family.”

For those considering starting their own business, Ben Taleb has one piece of advice: Just get started.

“If you have an idea, you should go ahead right away and start to realize it,” he said. “Don’t be afraid to change your life.”

Learn more about our impact