2019 Distinguished Entrepreneur Awardees Announced

Florida SBDC at FGCU Distinguished Entrepreneur of Southwest Florida Awardees Announced

FORT MYERS, Fla. (April 30, 2019) – Florida Small Business Development Center (FSBDC) at Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) announced the winners of the 2019 Distinguished Entrepreneur of Southwest Florida Awards at the annual awards dinner on Tuesday April 30, 2019.

The FSBDC awards are held annually to recognize three Southwest Florida small businesses for their innovation, advocacy, and business growth. This year’s awardees include Distinguished Entrepreneur of SW Florida, Ryan Carter, owner of Scotlynn USA Division; Innovator of the Year, Brian Rist of Storm Smart; and Advocate of the Year, Rafael J. Feliciano, owner of Food Idea Group.

“Our finalists are recognized for being pioneers who think big, take risks and work hard. We recognize the critical role small businesses play in our community through job creation, tax revenue generation and your place in the overall economic health of the community”, said Lois Knox, FSBDC Regional Director.

Previous winners of the awards include Norman Love of Norman Love Confections in 2012, Pam Oakes of Pam’s Motor City in 2013, Felix Lluberes of Position Logic in 2013, Gary K. Mart of Global Tech LED in 2015, Chris Spiro of Spiro and Associates in 2016, Dr. Aurora Badia of Florida Skin Center in 2017 and Scott Fischer of Scott Fischer Enterprises in 2018.

The awards ceremony was made possible through the generous support of the Hallmark Sponsor, Markham, Norton, Mosteller, Wright, and Company, P.A.

Other sponsors include: FGCU Foundation, Fifth Third Bank, Suncoast Credit Union, Chris-Tel Construction, Iberia Bank, Brennan Manna Diamond, Roetzel Law Firm, LandQuest Commercial Real Estate Services, Scott Fischer Enterprises, AXI International, Gulfshore Business, Path of Being, A. JARON Fine Jewelry, Spada Salon & Day Spa, Florida Skin Center, Narrative Coffee Roasters, Maribel Suzzette Hair and Make-up Studio, and Naturie Shea Butter Apotheca.

About the Florida SBDC at FGCU:

The FSBDC at FGCU offers one-on-one, confidential, no-cost consulting and low-cost workshops for businesses throughout Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry, and Glades counties. The state designates the Florida SBDC Network as Florida’s principal provider of business assistance. The FSBDC at FGCU is a member of the Florida SBDC Network, a statewide service funded in part through cooperative agreements with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), Defense Logistics Agency, State of Florida, and other private and public partners; and is hosted by Florida Gulf Coast University and nationally accredited by the Association of SBDCs.



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