I ALWAYS FIND THAT ARTICLES ABOUT entrepreneurial success—the ideas, strategies and advice behind it—are inspiring and educational, and I’m confident our readers feel the same way. This month’s issue teems with examples of achievement in a variety of industries.
Our cover story, “Farming 2.0,” looks at the new wave of agricultural businesses moving beyond traditional models. Senior Editor Cary Barbor reported on three Southwest Florida operations to learn how they’re breaking the mold, providing healthy food while using sustainable practices, and making a living doing it. “There are some really cool trends beginning to happen,” says Roy Beckford, Lee County Extension director. Cary’s piece begins on page 20.
Another article, written by Lori Johnston, profiles three companies honored at the Distinguished Entrepreneur Award event held in May by the Small Business Development Center at Florida Gulf Coast University. The story, starting on page 28, captures how innovation, philanthropy and even failure contributed to the growth of these award winners.
Then there’s Melanie Pagan’s account of Chef Paul Schmidgall’s paella catering business, which has been so successful that he is now franchising it. Naplesbased Fire and Rice prepares the Spanish dish of rice, saffron, protein and vegetables in oversized pans to the delight of crowds at an array of events. Read all about it on page 12.
A common denominator among high-performing firms is an appreciative and satisfied client base, which brings us to our annual Best of Business readers’ poll, the results of which being on page 34. In May we posted a poll on SurveyMonkey, where more than 5,300 people voted in 45 categories for hundreds of Southwest Florida companies. The results provide renewed meaning to the old adage, “The customer is always right.”