Gulfshore Business Daily: October 17

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Collier and Lee counties made SmartAsset’s “Best Places for Small-Business Owners” list for Florida. Collier County came in at No. 5, with a scoring of 0.33% in small-business returns, 0.16% in small-business income, $8,070.78 in income taxes, and a Small Business Index of 69.31. Lee County ranked No. 10, with a scoring of 0.27% in small-business returns, 0.12% in small-business income, $8,070.78 in income taxes, and a Small Business Index of 58.21. Additional study details, including the methodology and interactive map, can be found here



The Florida Small Business Development Center at Florida Gulf Coast University (SBDC at FGCU) will host a half-day government contracting workshop to help small business owners who want to sell to federal, state and local government entities. “Contacts to Contracts: Strategies for Success with Government Contracting” takes place from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Nov. 1 at FGCU’s Emergent Technologies Institute, located off Alico Road. Participants will learn how to navigate government regulations and standards, so they can increase their chances of securing a contract, learn the best way to gain clarity around a daunting paperwork process, and effective marketing sequences to keep their business top-of-mind with contracting officers. Speakers include Althea Harris, Small Business Administration (SBA); Julio Rodriguez, Lee County Port Authority; Mary Tucker, Director of Procurement Management of Lee County; and more. The Lee County Economic Development Office is co-sponsoring this event. Admission is $10 and includes a continental breakfast and lunch. For more information and to register to attend, click here.



Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce’s monthly luncheon will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. on Oct. 24 at Holiday Inn Fort Myers Airport at Town Center. The event will feature a panel discussion highlighting Southwest Florida’s current workforce and some of the organizations working to build and strengthen it through their various programs and educational offerings. Panel participants include Peg Elmore, CareerSource Southwest Florida; John Meyer, Hodges University; and Todd G. Everly, SWFL Public Service Academy & Lee Technical Colleges. The panel will be moderated by Tessa LeSage, Southwest Florida Community Foundation. Attendees of the October luncheon will also have a first look at the cover of the 2020 Fort Myers Chamber Magazine. Representatives from Vector & Ink will be available to provide more information about advertising opportunities in the 2020 issue. The October luncheon is sponsored by Paychex. Admission is $25 for Chamber members and $35 for nonmembers. To learn more or to register for the event, visit or call (239) 332-3624.


Douglas G. Duncan


Fannie Mae’s Senior Vice President and Chief Economist Douglas G. Duncan will speak at the Speakers Assembly of Southwest Florida’s luncheon on Nov. 8 at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort & Spa. Doors will open at 11 a.m. and lunch will be served at 11:30 a.m. Duncan will address the current state of the economy and forecasts for the future. Named one of Bloomberg/BusinessWeek‘s 50 Most Powerful People in Real Estate, Duncan is Fannie Mae’s source for information and analyses on demographics and the external business and economic environment; the implications of changes in economic activity on the company’s strategy and execution; and for forecasting overall housing, economic, and mortgage market activity. For tickets and more information, visit the or call Arden McCurdy at (239) 948-7909.



Naples Airport Authority (NAA) invites the public to attend two upcoming open houses for its master plan study. The first open house will take place from 3-5 p.m. on Nov. 18 at the Naples Regional Library in the Rees Meeting Room. The second open house will take place from 9-11 a.m. on Nov. 19 at the Naples Airport Commercial Terminal. The master plan, last updated in 1997, will support Naples Airport Authority in achieving strategic goals and result in a plan for the continued safe, efficient and environmentally conscious airport facilities to meet the current and long-term transportation needs of the community. NAA requests all interested members of the public join them to review the final draft master plan study elements and provide feedback. For more information, visit



Hodges University’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program has earned programmatic accreditation from the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). Additionally, 100% of the first graduating class of BSN students passed the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) exam the first time. Hodges University held the first pinning ceremony for its inaugural BSN class in spring 2019. For more information, visit


Naples Bay Club. [PHOTO: Caronchi Photography]


The Naples Bay Club recently underwent a multi-million-dollar interior and exterior renovation. Spearheaded by Fred Pezeshkan, upgrades and renovations began in July 2018 and will be completed in January 2020. The more than $2.9 million renovation addressed almost every interior and exterior area of the club, including its lobby, fitness center, outdoor bar, and members lounge. The lobby was updated to include an air conditioned entryway and lounge, encased in floor–to–ceiling glass windows. It now features a stone-layered desk. The new members lounge is designed by Clive Daniel Hospitality. The Fitness Center is now fully equipped with cardiovascular and strength training machines by TechnoGym, costing more than $400,000. It is one of the only gyms in Southwest Florida to offer this brand, a press release states. The outdoor Blue Water Bar, next to the pool area, was fully refurbished and seating capacity doubled in size. Five 55-inch flat screen TVs were added as well. All club buildings were painted in white and new exterior lighting will be mounted in mid-December. The club increased management and supervisory and pool staff. New membership pricing will be released in November.



Cynthia Shafer has received the Excellence in Community Service award from The Caloosahatchee Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). Shafer and her nonprofit organization, Bedz for Kidz, have provided over 3,000 beds, blankets and new toys to Southwest Florida children who have relocated from their families into foster homes. Now in her 50th year as a child advocate, Shafer is a volunteer for Guardian Ad Litem, representing abused, abandoned and neglected kids in court and visiting children removed from abusive parents and placed in the care of relatives or foster parents. She founded Bedz for Kidz in 2001 and is a veteran Realtor with Lahaina Realty on Fort Myers Beach. For more information about Bedz for Kidz, contact


Cobress [PHOTO: Jesi Cason Photography, courtesy of LYR]


Third annual ‘Rock for Equality’ returns in November

Love Your Rebellion (LYR) and Frankie Orion will present the third annual “Rock for Equality” from 8 p.m. to midnight on Nov. 8 at Palace Pub & Wine Bar and No. 3 Craft Brews & Beer Bar in Cape Coral. This dueling venue microfest invites audiences to experience rock, hip hop, food, and vendors in support of Love Your Rebellion’s programming and Planned Parenthood. This year, 50% of proceeds will be donated to Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida. Food will be provided by Skyler Joseph Denison’s pop up, ThereWillBeGrub. Denison, who is the former chef of Danger, Danger (now Enter the Dragon), will be serving vegan and non-vegan options during the fest. In addition, 10% of all alcohol sales at Palace Pub and Wine and No. 3 Craft Brews & Beer during Rock for Equality will go toward LYR programming and Planned Parenthood. Tickets are $5 at the door. For more information, visit


Rotary Club of Fort Myers donates $25,000 to ShelterBox USA

Rotary Club of Fort Myers President Ian Keith on Oct. 8 presented a $25,000 donation to Erik Elsea, representative and ShelterBoxUSA 2018 Ambassador of the Year. The donation will be used by ShelterBoxUSA to provide emergency shelter and supplies to families devastated by natural disaster and conflict. During a matching gift campaign goal of $10,000, members of the Rotary Club of Fort Myers surpassed the goal and raised $25,000 for ShelterBoxUSA, a Rotary International Project Partner. Elsea, past president of the Rotary Club of Cape Coral, solo paddled the entire length of the Mississippi River in 2018 to raise funds and awareness for ShelterBoxUSA, with the expedition connecting more than 70 Rotary clubs and raising more than $70,000 to date. Elsea earned Rotary’s highest honor in District 6960, the Service Above Self Award.


United Way supports child care programs at The Shelter for Abused Women & Children

To support child survivors of domestic violence, The United Way of Collier County has donated $10,000 to The Shelter for Abused Women & Children. The funds help provide day care and after school care for families residing in emergency shelter. In 2019, the average length of stay for adult and child participants seeking refuge in emergency shelter was 41 days. The shelter’s child care programs focus on healing the emotional trauma and physical abuse while making sure the child’s basic needs are being met. The Shelter for Abused Women & Children is As Collier County’s only certified domestic violence center, a press release states.


RCMA receives $40,000 grant from United Way of Collier County

United Way of Collier County earlier this year awarded Redlands Christian Migrant Association (RCMA) a $40,000 grant in support of the non-profit organization’s early childhood education programs and its charter school’s afterschool program in Immokalee.  This funding helps ensure that nearly 1,000 children as young as 6 weeks old and students up to sixth grade learn and develop in a safe and enriching environment. RCMA provides holistic care to the children of migrant, agricultural working families and other low-income families. The United Way funding specifically supports school readiness, academic success and health programs offered year-round. These include academic skill-building support in reading and math as well as enrichment and social-emotional learning activities.

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