Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.

– Henry Ford

Although the definition of a small business varies between industries, small businesses have long been the engine that drives Southwest Florida and Lee County.  Approximately 95% of Lee County’s businesses have fewer than 50 employees, and supporting these small enterprises has become an important industry in itself.

Notable Entrepreneurship Resources

Florida Gulf Coast University hosts the Southwest Florida Small Business Development Center (SBDC). The SBDC is dedicated to providing businesses with no-cost, confidential consulting.  Their services include confidential, one-on-one counseling as well as educational workshops geared for providing businesses with all the information they need to conduct a successful business. FGCU also supports entrepreneurship degree programs, a startup incubator, and a veteran’s entrepreneurship program through the university’s Daveler & Kauanui School of Entrepreneurship.

The mission of TWO39 is to leverage social entrepreneurship and highly motivated teams to achieve economic prosperity for shareholders, customers, employees, and the local community. Its brands– TWO39 Work, TWO39 Labs, TWO39 Ventures, and TWO39 Media provide support for entrepreneurs, including technology, collaboration, mentorship, funding, and creative services.

SecondMuse is an international innovation and collaboration agency. It focuses on strengthening networks and community to successfully build economies and solve complex problems. 

Professional Entrepreneurship Programs and Associations

In addition to national and state resources like the Small Business Development Association and SCORE, several local organizations are available to assist Lee County entrepreneurs.

Operated by Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida, the Southwest Florida MicroEnterprise Institute provides aspiring small business owners with the skills they need to succeed. The program focuses on individuals with low to moderate income levels and other disadvantages to start or stabilize their own businesses.

The Southwest Florida Enterprise Center is a learning laboratory that provides assistance, support, and even office space to entrepreneurs so they may realize the full potential of their business and of themselves as owners/managers.