Florida SBDC at FGCU Celebrates National Small Business Week by Hosting Distinguished Entrepreneur Awards of Southwest Florida

Florida SBDC at FGCU Celebrates National Small Business Week by Hosting Distinguished Entrepreneur Awards of Southwest Florida

FORT MYERS, Fla. (April 25, 2017) – Every year since 1963, the President of the United States has issued a proclamation announcing National Small Business Week, which recognizes the critical contributions of the country’s entrepreneurs and small business owners. National Small Business Week will be held April 29 – May 5, 2018.

The Florida SBDC at Florida Gulf Coast University will join the celebration by hosting the Distinguished Entrepreneur of Southwest Florida Awards. The annual presentation will take place on Thursday, May 3, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Bonita Bay Club.

The awards recognize three outstanding Southwest Florida business owners for their success, innovative technology, and business advocacy.

“We celebrate the business owners that took an idea, grew that idea into a business and created a positive impact on the economy in the Southwest Florida community,” said FSBDC Regional Director Lois Knox.

This year’s nominees are:
Dwayne Bergmann, Dwayne Bergmann Interiors ● Reema Bhatia, Stickboy Creative ● Michelle Borders, Naples Network Services ● Scott Fischer, Scott Fischer Enterprises ● Javier Fuller, Fuller Online Solutions ● George P Garner, Next Plumbing ● Rochelle  Graham-Campbell, Black Onyx World ● Jennifer Gratz-Whyte, Fort Myers Brewing ● Jim Henderson, Willam C Huff Company ● Gary Israel, Estero Life Magazine ● Amanda Jaron, A.JARON Fine Jewelry ● Misty Kinzel, Misty’s Sunshine Cleaning ● Batya Maman, Social Connect ● Lora Mccann, Peace of Mind Patient Advocacy ● Beverley Milligan, Myerside, LLC ● Jesse Morgan, Morgan Manufacturing ● James Nolte, Nolte Wealth Management Group Wells Fargo Advisors ● Dan Puleio, Cape Cleaners ● Connie Ramos-Williams, CONRIC PR & Marketing ● Jeff Poirier, AXI International ● Bjorn Rosinus, Endeavor Innovative Workspaces ●Curtis Sheard, Big Boi’s BBQ ●Jim Wheeler, Argo Trak

Cindy McCurry Ross, Executive Editor & Vice President of Content at The News-Press (Fort Myers and Cape Coral) is this year’s Mistress of Ceremonies. In 2018 she was named Florida editor for the USA TODAY NETWORK, which includes the Naples Daily News. She is in the 28th year of her career with the network.

 The award descriptions are as follows:

The “Distinguished Entrepreneur of the Year” is a business owner who demonstrates “innovative and cutting edge approaches to corporate culture, employee programs, and integrated new technologies.”

The “Small Business Advocate of the Year” is a business owner who “actively volunteers their time and resources throughout the Southwest Florida community to inspire, encourage and mentor other small business owners in helping them grow their business.”

The “Distinguished Innovator of the Year” is a business owner who has “adopted or created their own technologies or cutting-edge approaches resulting in accelerated business growth and profits.”

As part of National Small Business Week, the SBA annually recognizes small business owners, entrepreneurs, and advocates from all 50 states and U.S. territories. Clients and nominees of the Florida SBDC Network recognized as national, regional, state, and district-level award winners.

Dr. Aurora Badia, Chief Medical Officer and Owner – Florida Skin Center, a client of the Florida SBDC at Florida Gulf Coast University, will be honored as the SBA’s Small Business Person of the Year, South Florida District Winner. The award will be present by SBA Interim District Director, Lynn Douthett.

The event provides an opportunity for the local business community to celebrate their achievements. The Hallmark sponsor for the seventh year is Markham Norton Mosteller Wright & Co, P.A.

Other sponsors include: Fifth Third Bank, Florida Skin Center, Minaya Learning Global Solutions, Storm Smart, Florida Gulf Coast University Foundation, Bank United, Suncoast Credit Union, Brennan Manna Diamond (BMD) Law Firm, First Florida Integrity Bank, Gulfshore Business and Southwest Florida Business Today, The Path of Being, Spada Salon and Day Spa, Corioliss, Old Florida Soap Company, Michelina’s Salon Spa Boutique and Naturie Shea Butter Apotheca.

Previous winners of the three 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 and Dr. Aurora Badia of Florida Skin Center in 2017.

Individual tickets for the Distinguished Entrepreneur Awards are $75 per person. Tickets can be purchased online, by calling the FSBDC office at (239) 745-3700 or by emailing sbdc@fgcu.edu.

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, 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. For more information, please visit www.fsbdcswfl.org