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Economic Development Organizations


Enterprise Florida
>>A public-private partnership serving as Florida’s primary organization devoted to statewide economic development.
>>Information: 800 N. Magnolia Ave., Suite 1100, Orlando, FL 32803
(407) 956-5600 phone, (407) 956-5599 fax

Florida Economic Development Council Inc.
>>A statewide association that acts as a resource for economic development-related policy, education and networking. A membership-based, nonprofit corporation.
>>Information: 3551 Blairstone Road, Suite 105-138, Tallahassee, FL 32301
P.O. Box 3186, Tallahassee, FL 32315-3186
(850) 201-3332 phone, (850) 201-3330 fax
President/CEO: Amy Evancho


Independent Development Services Corp.
>>A nonprofit organization certified by the U.S. Small Business Administration to provide assistance for the SBA 504 loan program and to promote other economic development financing arrangements.
>> Information: 8280 College Parkway, Suite 204, Fort Myers, FL 33919-4113
(239) 652-5588 phone, (239) 652-9988 fax
President: Thomas Wallace

Southwest Florida Economic Development Alliance
>>A six-county (Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry, Lee and Sarasota) partnership committed to the continued expansion of its infrastructure, resources, intellectual and financial capital.
>> Information: (239) 338-3161 phone
President and CEO: Eric Berglund

Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council
>>The planning agency serving Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry, Lee and Sarasota counties. Directed by a council composed of local elected officials and gubernatorial appointees.
>> Information: 1926 Victoria Ave., Fort Myers, FL 33901
(239) 338-2550 phone, (239) 338-2560 fax
Executive director: Margaret Wuerstle

Southwest Florida Workforce Development Board
>>A partnership of business, labor, education, community and government services that oversees workforce development initiatives in Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry and Lee counties, and operates the Career and Service Centers of Southwest Florida.
>> Information: 9530 Marketplace Road, Suite 104, Fort Myers, FL 33912
(239) 225-2500 phone, (239) 225-2559 fax
Executive director: Joseph Paterno


Bonita Springs/Estero Economic Development Council
>>A council committed to fostering economic development in south Lee County.
>> Information: 25071 Chamber of Commerce Drive, Bonita Springs, FL 34135
(239) 333-2332 phone, (239) 992-5011 fax
Executive director: Tiffany Esposito

Cape Coral Economic Development Office
>>A branch of Cape Coral government that provides assistance and information regarding business expansion, relocation and start-ups in the city.
>>Information: 1015 Cultural Park Blvd. Cape Coral, FL 33990
(239) 574-0444 phone, (239) 574-0452 fax
Economic development director: Dana Brunett

City of Fort Myers Southwest Florida Enterprise Center
>>A business incubator that provides support, resources and services to entrepreneurs and developing companies.
>>Information: 3903 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Suite 5, Fort Myers, FL 33916
(239) 321-7085 phone
Program manager: Mike Love

Fort Myers Redevelopment Agency
>>Oversees the revitalization of downtown Fort Myers.
>> Information: 1400 Jackson St., Suite 102, Fort Myers, FL 33901
(239) 321-7086, (239) 344-5911 fax
Executive director: Don Paight

Fort Myers Regional Partnership (Lee County Economic Development Office)
>>A branch of Lee County government that works with public and private organizations to attract new companies to the area and help existing businesses grow.
>>Information: 2201 Second St., Suite 500, Fort Myers, FL 33901
(800) 493-4396 phone, (239) 338-3227 fax
Executive director: John Boland


Collier Business & Economic Development
>>Information: 3299 Tamiami Trail E., Naples, FL 34112
(239) 252-8990 phone
Interim Director: Jace Kentner


Charlotte County Economic Development Office
>>Offers information and assistance to existing companies and to businesses wishing to move to Charlotte County.
>>Information: 18501 Murdock Circle, Suite 601, Port Charlotte, FL 33948
(941) 764-4941 phone, (941) 764-4947 fax
Economic development director: Lucienne Pears

City of North Port Office of Economic Development
>>Information: 4970 City Hall Boulevard, North Port, FL 34286
(941) 429-7001 phone, (941) 429-7079 fax
Economic development manager: Ruth Buchanan

Lee County Municipalities
>> In Cape Coral, Fort Myers and Sanibel, businesses must obtain local business tax receipts from the city before applying for one from the county. (Fort Myers Beach provides this for only a few types of businesses.) In Lee County, fees vary with the kind and size of business.

Information: Forms can be downloaded at www.leetc.com. The Lee County Tax Collector’s office is located at 2480 Thompson St., Fort Myers, (239) 533-6000. Satellite offices are located in Bonita Springs, Cape Coral, Fort Myers Beach, Lehigh Acres and North Fort Myers. Lee County also requires a certificate of use and proper zoning approval. Contact the county’s Department of Community Development at 1500 Monroe St. in Fort Myers, (239) 533-8585 www.lee-county.com/dcd.

Collier County Municipalities
>> Businesses in Naples, Ever-glades City or Marco Island must obtain local business tax receipts from the city before applying for one from the county. Fees vary with the kind and size of business. Collier also requires an approved zoning certificate from the planning services department and a fire inspection by the local fire department.

Information: Forms can be downloaded at www.colliertax.com (click on "Business Tax Receipts" link). The Collier County Tax Collector’s Occupational License Department is at 2800 N. Horseshoe Drive in Naples, (239) 403-2477.

Charlotte County Municipalities
>> Businesses planning to locate in Punta Gorda must get a business tax receipt for the city, then one from the county. Fees depend on the type of business. The county also requires a certificate of use.

Information: For local business tax receipts, contractor licenses or to start a new business, contact the Charlotte County Building Construction Services office at 18400 Murdock Circle in Port Charlotte, (941) 743-1201, or visit www.charlottecountyfl.gov/services/buildingconstruction or www.cctaxcol.com for an application packet. Direct permitting questions to (941) 743-1201, zoning questions to (941) 743-1964, and business tax receipt requests to (941) 743-1350.

Financing Information and Other Resources

Gulf Coast Venture Forum: A nonprofit entrepreneurial support group that promotes the region’s new and emerging businesses by bringing together entrepreneurs, educational resources, capital providers and service providers.
Contact: (239) 262-6300; 350 Fifth Ave. S., Suite 203, Naples, FL 34102; www.gcvf.com

Florida Gulf Coast University Small Business Development Center: A nonprofit organization, the SBDC is part of the university’s Center of Leadership and Innovation, which is operated by FGCU’s College of Business and the U.S. Small Business Administration. It provides a variety of services for small businesses, including counseling and workshops, working toward its mission to strengthen the region’s economy. Contact: (239) 225-4220; cli.fgcu.edu/sbdc

U.S. Small Business Administration
Contact: (305) 536-5521, South Florida district office; www.sba.gov/financing

U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Business Liaison
Contact: (202) 482-1360; www.osec.doc.gov/obl

Enterprise Florida

Lee County Economic Development Office
Contact: (239) 338-3161, (800) 330-3161; www.leecountybusiness.com

Cape Coral Economic Development Office
Contact: (239) 574-0444, (866) 573-3089; www.capecoral.net/edo


Economic Development Council of Collier County
Contact: (239) 263-8989, (866) 362-7537; www.enaplesflorida.com

Charlotte County Economic Development Office
Contact: (941) 627-3023, (800) 729-5836; www.floridaEDO.com

Southwest Florida Regional Development Corp.
Contact: (239) 652-5588; www.srdcorp.org

SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives)
Offers free business consulting
Contact: Naples, (239) 430-0081, www.scorenaples.org; Fort Myers, (239) 489-2935, www.score219.org; Port Charlotte, (941) 743-6179