Finalists Announced for FGCU Florida Small Business Development Center, 2015 SWFL Distinguished Entrepreneur Award

FORT MYERS, Fla.  – The Florida Small Business Development Center (FSBDC) at Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) announced the four finalists selected for the 2015 Distinguished Entrepreneur Award. The finalists are JoAnn Elardo, owner of Cape Spirits Inc., Wicked Dolphin Rum; Christopher Spiro, owner of Spiro & Associates, Marketing, Advertising, and Public Relations; Mark Loren, owner of Mark Loren Designs; and Gary K. Mart, owner of Global Tech LED, LLC.

Now in its fourth year, the award recognizes a small- to mid-sized Southwest Florida business for its overall success and provides an opportunity for the local business community to celebrate its achievements.  The finalists were chosen from the five-county area of Southwest Florida by the following panel of expert judges: Tim Cartwright, managing director of Tamiami 2; Colleen Kvetko, president of private banking, Florida First Integrity Bank; Phil Borchmann, editor of Gulfshore Business Magazine; Pamela Oakes of DIY Motor City and the 2013 Distinguished Entrepreneur Award Winner; and Felix Lluberes, owner of Position Logic and the 2014 Distinguished Entrepreneur Award Winner.

The 2015 Distinguished Entrepreneur Award will be presented at the 4th Annual Awards Dinner on Tuesday, May 19, from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m., at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort & Spa, in Bonita Springs. Guest Speaker will be Michael Wynn.  He is chairman of the Wynn Family Board of Directors and president of the chain of Sunshine Ace Hardware stores.

Title sponsor for the fourth year is Markham Norton Mosteller Wright & Co.

MarkhamLogoOther sponsors include Florida Gulf Coast University Foundation, The News-Press Media Group, Gulfshore Business, Beasley Broadcast Group Inc., Norman Love Confections, Grasmeier Business Services, DIY Motor City, Platinum PEO Resources Inc., Sunshine Ace Hardware, Suncoast Credit Union, Fifth Third Bank, BankUnited, First Florida Integrity Bank, Southwest Florida Regional Technology Partnership, Brodeur Carvell Fine Apparel, CareerSource, Entech, TLC Marketing & Creative Services, and Photo Magic.

Tickets for the Distinguished Entrepreneur Award and Dinner are $125 per person. Tickets can be purchased online at or by calling the FSBDC office at (239) 745-3700, email

The FSBDC at Florida Gulf Coast University is a dynamic community-based resource, which helps small business owners take advantage of new opportunities to grow their business through a diverse collection of programs and services. The FSBDC is located in FGCU’s Center for Leadership & Innovation, the external administrative unit of the Lutgert College of Business. The Center serves a five-county area and provides business assistance through various partner locations in Southwest Florida.

For additional information, contact Dan Regelski at (239) 745-3705, email or Amanda Stirn at (239) 745-3706, email