Celebrating National Small Business Week:  April 29 - May 5, 2018

In This Issue...
This issue is designed to be a resource to put to use whenever business support is needed.  Here we will highlight our primary partner agencies:  U.S. SBA, FGCU's Small Business Development Center, CareerSource Southwest Florida, Chamber of Cape Coral, Goodwill MicroEnterprise Institute, Cape Coral Technical College and SCORE.  

We will also highlight a number of our incredible community partners:  Lee County Economic Development Office, Horizon Council, Southwest Florida Economic Development Alliance, Cape Coral Construction Industry Association, FutureMakers Coalition, Cape Coral Community Foundation, FGCU Regional Economic Research Institute and the Southwest Regional Manufacturers Association.

We are pleased to be able to share success stories and include links to all of these resources.  

Did you know?...
...that there are nearly 9,000 small businesses in Cape Coral? And, we must be doing something right, because this well-rounded commercial base continues to grow. Last year, 1,609 new businesses applied for Business Tax Receipts in Cape Coral. This year, another 470 applied through March. 

Remember: The Cape Coral EDO is here to help you relocate or expand. Make us your first stop. We can lend the guiding hand that you need to grow.
A Success Story
Action Craft and SBA
Action Craft Boats owner Chad Kevorik with U.S. SBA representative David Schieffelin.

Action Craft Boats has been designing and manufacturing high-performance fishing boats in Cape Coral since 1991, with Chad Kevorik taking ownership in 2012. 
Although a successful company, Hurricane Irma hit Action Craft's pocketbook. Time was lost for storm preparation, during its closure and subsequent loss of power, and even following its reopening when employees needed time off to meet insurance adjusters at their homes. Some of Kevorik's 200 suppliers were also faced with issues, causing more delays. Business was down 70 percent in the month after Irma.

Kevorik applied for an SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan to keep his employees paid and the doors open. "We may not have lost a building, but we have suffered an economic impact," he said after receiving the loan. "The beginning stages (of the loan process) were very simple. It literally took me a couple of hours. You find out if you qualify or not pretty quick. Thanks to the SBA loan, the future looks bright."
The SBA provided 75 such loans in Lee County after Irma, totaling $3.38 million.

Businesses can still apply through June 11.

Learn more about disaster loans


Distinguished Entrepreneur Award Winners to be Announced

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. 

The Florida SBDC at FGCU will recognize three outstanding businesses during this week as the organization hosts the annual Distinguished Entrepreneur of Southwest Florida Awards. 

Thursday, May 3
6 p.m. to 9 p.m. 
Bonita Bay Club         

The three prizes to be awarded include:
  • Distinguished Entrepreneur of the Year
  • Small Business Advocate of the Year, and
  • Distinguished Innovator of the Year
"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.

Tickets are $75 per person.

CareerSource of Southwest Florida:
A Success Story
merits logo

Merits Health Products opened in Cape Coral 25 years ago as the headquarters of the U.S. division for distribution for durable medical equipment manufactured by its parent company in Taiwan. At the beginning of this year, Merits Health reached out to CareerSource to help fill nine positions at the expanding company. Finance Director Michelle Hendry says CareerSource "was a very good source" because the employees Merits hired are "qualified, educated, high-quality employees." There are currently 40 employees at Merits.
Merits Health Products is also working closely with the Cape Coral EDO on permitting for a new building and working on the sale or lease of its current building. Hendry says they hope to be moved into their new quarters by next summer. The Cape Coral EDO "has been fantastic. We've been in constant contact with them."

Lee Entrepreneurs Assistance Resource Network

LEARN network logo  
The Lee Entrepreneurs' Assistance Resource Network (LEARN) provides outreach activities and services to entrepreneurs and businesses in Southwest Florida. Working collaboratively, LEARN's mission is to promote the establishment, retention, and expansion of businesses in Southwest Florida. Visit learnswfl.com to find local business workshops, seminars, webinars and networking events on its business event calendar. In addition, explore LEARN's resource directory featuring almost 50 partner organizations who offer no- and low-cost services to start ups and growing businesses.

4th Wednesday BizChat is Moving!
4 Wed Biz Chat Logo

The 4th Wednesday BizChat has grown in such popularity that this monthly event has been relocated starting in May: 

4th Wednesday BizChat
Kiwanis Hall 
360 Santa Barbara Blvd. 
Cape Coral
These monthly gatherings are a partnership between the Cape Coral EDO and Florida Small Business Development Center. They are a prime opportunity to meet other new business owners, mingle with established ones and ask questions about the business landscape.
Mark your calendar:
4th Wednesday of each month
Wednesday, May 23
11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Oh! And did we say lunch is included?
Learn More:
Gain the Edge
Business slowing down in May? Put your mind to work. Here is a sampling of events you can participate in this month from some of our partners, who offer year-round learning opportunities. They are designed for you, at no or a low-cost, so what's your excuse? Grow today.

Free SBA/SCORE Virtual Conference Webinars
May 1 - May 3
The U.S. Small Business Administration and SCORE are hosting a free, 3-Day Virtual Conference during National Small Business Week. The conference will take place Tuesday, May 1 through Thursday, May 3 between 12:30 p.m.- 6:30 p.m. each day. Registration is free to the public. A schedule of live events will be sent to registrants via email.

Participate in this free, online conference, listen to practiced advice on current business strategies, meet other business owners, and chat with industry experts. The Virtual Conference offers all the best parts of an in-person conference, but without the hassle of traveling. Review the interesting, varied list of topics and sign up here: 

Don't Miss It:
Regional Career Fair
May 2

Morning session: 9 a.m. - noon
Afternoon session: 
1 p.m. - 3 p.m.
Location:  Alico Arena ~ on the FGCU Campus

What:  More than 70 businesses under one roof:
  • Talk in person to hundreds of area recruiters
  • Businesses are looking to fill hundreds of career positions
  • A unique networking opportunity to establish business contacts
This is an opportunity for employers and job seekers to create a talent pipeline for today's careers. The career fair is coordinated by CareerSource Southwest Florida and hosted by Florida Gulf Coast University. In conjunction with: Florida SouthWestern State College, Hodges University, Keiser University, Nova University, Southwest Florida high schools, regional technical colleges

Food for Thought
Cape Coral Chamber of Commerce
Thursday, May 3
11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Cape Coral Technical College
360 Santa Barbara Blvd. N.
Network with other chamber members and learn from a guest speaker the first Thursday of each month. The luncheon is for current and prospective members, in partnership with the Southwest SCORE Chapter, FSBDC, and the Cape Coral EDO. The cost is $15 for members; $20 for non-members.  

SWFL MicroEnterprise
Goodwill SWFL Industries
Classes begin May 21
Mondays and Thursdays 
6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Cape Coral Public Works Building, Community Room 
Nicholas Parkway, Cape Coral

This series of 10-12 evening courses provide aspiring small business owners with the skills they need to succeed as entrepreneurs and become more independent. Participants will work with an instructor and a small business mentor who guides you through planning your business and shares their personal experiences. After completion of the class, participants may be eligible to apply for a small loan. Course cost: $80.

Visit website to fill out an application or call 239.995.2106 ext. 2215

SCORE Offerings

The Power of Email Marketing Workshop
Tuesday, May 8
5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

What:  This powerful seminar takes you step-by-step through the keys to effective email marketing, from revealing why regular email doesn't work, to insider tips and techniques like automated list building tools and the design elements that work (and don't).
Where: Keiser University
Drive New Business with Social Media
Tuesday, May 22
5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

What: "Guide to Successful Social Media Marketing" explores the understanding of different social media platforms, choosing what to say and where to say it, and the keys to the most effective social media marketing for you.
Where: Keiser University

Goodwill Southwest Florida MicroEnterprise Institute:
A Success Story

Wild About Popcorn

Julie Caracappa attended the winter 2017 MicroEnterprise class. Her idea was to open a popcorn shop in Cape Coral. Through the six weeks in the class, she developed a feasibility plan with the help of her coach, Linsey Uphoff. In March 2018, Julie opened her dream shop, Wild About Popcorn, in Cape Coral. 

"MicroEnterprise is where it all started for Wild About Popcorn. I can't imagine trying to start a business without the knowledge gained by participating in the program," says Caracappa.

1311 Suite D, Del Prado Blvd. S.
FGCU Regional Economic Research Institute

The Regional Economic Research Institute (RERI) at Florida Gulf Coast University was developed to perform economic research, analysis, and forecasting for both the region and economic development organizations in the region. The structure of the RERI includes partnerships with the Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council and the area economic development organizations.
RERI works closely with the  Institute for Entrepreneurship , the Lucas Institute for Real Estate Development and Finance, and the  Small Business Development Center , all of which are housed in the Lutgert College of Business at FGCU. RERI analyzes regional data and creates reports that are available to the public and local businesses that address industry diversification and the regional business climate. Its monthly Regional Economic Indicators analyzes a wide range of economic data from the Southwest Florida five-county region. This insightful report includes national economic data of interest and has been issued since 2007.
The institute is often commissioned to do specialized economic studies and summary reports.
The director of the RERI is Dr. Christopher Westley, FGCU professor of economics, Lutgert College of Business.

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Message From Your EDO Manager
The Backbone of Our Business Community
The backbone? No, it's not another health issue. I'm talking about small businesses: the local investors, job creators and risk takers in Cape Coral. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), a small business is any business with 500 employees or less. That's pretty much every business in Cape Coral except the city government, schools and the hospital.
This week is National Small Business Week across the United States. The City of Cape Coral is taking this time to acknowledge the efforts of all small businesses owners in Cape Coral. You are the ones who've taken the risk, invested capital, taken on debt, and created jobs in our city. You are the ones who work hard because it matters and because you take pride in what you do-you make a difference in our community every day.
It's time to say thank you, to recognize the sacrifices made and acknowledge the struggles endured. This afternoon at 2:30 p.m. in the City Council Office, Mayor Joe Coviello will read a proclamation designating National Small Business Week in Cape Coral in recognition of all the individuals in our city who have made the sacrifices that have created a positive impact on Cape Coral.
Thank you to all our small business owners in Cape Coral. We're better off because of your efforts. We wish you continued success in everything you do.
Dana Brunett
City of Cape Coral
Economic Development Manager

U.S. Small Business Administration 

SBA Logo The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has delivered millions of loans, loan guarantees, contracts, counseling sessions and other forms of assistance to small businesses since its founding in 1953. The SBA is an independent agency of the federal government to aid, counsel, assist and protect the interests of small business concerns, to preserve free competitive enterprise and to maintain and strengthen the nation's overall economy. The SBA helps Americans start, build and grow businesses. The agency's South Florida District Office is located in Miami.

Florida's Small Business Development Center at FGCU 
Imagine not having to go from video to video, from webinars to blogs to books-looking for the elusive secret to running a thriving business. It's possible. You can get no-cost guidance from verified business experts in areas such as:
  • Infrastructure and systems so you get to create more time for family, fun and adventures,
  • Succession planning which means you can leave a legacy for your future generation, retire early or move on to greener pastures,
  • Little-known growth hacks that make it possible for you to scale and multiply your profitability,
  • The right strategy to help your business go global and enter international markets with aplomb, and
  • Developing a pitch for you to deliver to potential investors that will have them competing to invest in your company
You don't have to imagine any longer. The Florida SBDC at FGCU helps businesses, like yours, make the sound business decisions that will help your business grow and succeed. Register for your confidential consulting session today at fsbdcswfl.org or call the SBDC @ FGCU at 239-745-3700.  The Florida SBDC operates a satellite office in Cape Coral.

Florida SBDC at FGCU: 
A Success Story 

Dan Puleio Dan Puleio, owner of Cape Cleaners, has developed a trusted working relationship with Russ Winstead, the SBDC at FGCU's Cape Coral Business Consultant who provides free consultations for Cape Coral-based businesses. Puleio's company has been nominated for the past three years for the Distinguished Entrepreneur of the Year. "When I need help with a project or need a contractor, local vendor, or professional services, my first call is to Russ," he says. Recently, while Puleio was involved with a computer upgrade, Winstead helped him expand to a second location, helping him find a location and negotiate the lease so Puleio could focus on his computer upgrade. "It's very comforting to know that the SBDC is there to turn to when needed," he says.
Puleio is also a huge fan of the 4th Wednesday BizChats, a partnership of the Cape Coral EDO and SBDC. He's been a regular attendee for five years. "I never fail to gain new customers at every event, while also having fun. Through the course of 60-some months of BizChats, that's a lot of new customers and a significant factor in the successful growth of Cape Cleaners."

Visit: Cape Cleaners
810 Cape Coral Pky. E.

Russ Winstead can be reached at the Florida SBDC Cape Coral Office:  
1020 Cultural Park Blvd., #3
(239) 573-2737

CareerSource Southwest Florida
CareerSource Southwest Florida is an invaluable workforce development resource for employers and employees. It operates full-service centers in Lee, Charlotte, Collier, Hendry, and Glades counties, with a Cape Coral satellite office at 1020 Cultural Park Blvd. CareerSource provides:
For businesses:
  • No-cost job opening postings, and screening and referring of potential candidates by career development professionals
  • Identifying cost-saving employment programs that can provide tax credits, employee bonding, on-the-job training, skill gap education, and more
  • Recruiting, training and retraining, job matching and applicant pre-screening
  • Executive search
  • Family relocation assistance
  • Industry surveys
  • Labor market information
For job-seekers:
  • Career counseling
  • Career opportunities
  • Job referrals
  • Network and career support
  • Resume critiques
  • Seminars and workshops
  • On-site computers, printers, copy machines, high-speed internet
  • Disability Program Navigator
  • Veterans Energy Pipeline to link veterans with compatible jobs in the energy industry
Chamber of Commerce of Cape Coral

Cape Coral Chamber of Commerce The Chamber of Commerce of Cape Coral (Cape Chamber) has a mission to serve as a "Champion for Business & Advocate for Community." Since its inception in 1965, the Cape Chamber has worked to support the relationship between business and community, understanding both as equally dependent on each other for success. Today, the Cape Chamber provides support, communication, networking and business training opportunities to more than 700 business members.
The Chamber runs two welcome centers--the Cape Coral Parkway Welcome Center is located at the base of the Cape Coral Bridge at the city's entrance with a second welcome center inside the FOS Furniture Store at Del Prado Blvd. and Pine Island Road. The welcome centers provide a wealth of information on Cape Coral and all that this beautiful city has to offer. Together, the two welcome centers greet over 35,000 visitors annually.
There are many Chamber events to choose from. Each month, the Chamber holds membership meetings, business-after-hours events, business card exchanges and other networking opportunities. The Food For Thought Lunch-and-Learn is held on the first Thursday of each month at Cape Coral Technical College, with speakers on timely topics to help business owners and leaders learn to excel at a variety of skill sets.
Another way to participate and network with other businesses is to join a special committee in an area that fits your business or personal style. Some of the key committees include: education, membership development and government affairs.
The Cape Chamber is perhaps best known for its leadership programs: Leadership Cape Coral, Advanced Leadership Cape Coral and Junior Leadership Cape Coral. Leadership Cape Coral is about to launch a new 13-week program that many program graduates say has been life-changing for their personal and business growth.

Chamber of Commerce of Cape Coral:  A Success Story

"The Chamber of Commerce of Cape Coral has helped grow B2 Solutions from day one. Being able to network with city and industry leaders has introduced me to some of my best clients.

The Chamber has also helped keep my employees engaged in the community, learning valuable networking skills and meeting people, while giving back to the city that has helped the business so much," says Brett Bisbe, owner of B2.

Visit: B2 Solutions
1406 SE 46 Lane, Suite 8
Goodwill Southwest Florida MicroEnterprise Institute

MicoEnterprise banner Goodwill Southwest Florida MicroEnterprise Institute was implemented in 2010 in the wake of the Great Recession. Since the program started, it has graduated 68 classes with 666 graduates of which, 341 graduates started or sustained a business after taking the course.
The program offers a six-week course to help aspiring entrepreneurs start a business or grow their business. The class consists of 12 evening classes of three hours each. The class facilitators and enrollees use a workbook developed by the Kaufman Foundation to guide participants to develop a feasibility plan with a focus on how to get into business on a lean budget. Participants hear from subject-matter experts such as an accountant, social media experts, and a lawyer who provide small presentations in most classes. Business coaches lead breakout groups with participants to help them apply the information presented directly to their business or business idea. Applicants who meet certain income guidelines might be eligible to volunteer in lieu of payment.
4th Wednesday BizChat:
A Success Story
Barbara Zirilli-Lonergan
Zirilli's Chilly Treats is celebrating four years in business in August. The owner, Barbara Zirilli-Lonergan, began attending 4th Wednesday BizChats before she opened her business. "My dad and I went to our first 4th Wednesday BizChat in early 2014. It's amazing to see how much this group has grown. Through the BizChat group, I learned about Goodwill's MicroEnterprise Institute, which helped me look at my business ideas realistically and led me to opening Zirilli's Chilly Treats. This BizChat group helped me introduce Zirilli's to the community," says Zirilli-Lonergan. "It is a great resource for networking with other business owners."

Visit:  Zirilli's Chilly Treats on FB
814 SW Pine Island Road, #308
Cape Coral Technical College

CC Tech College logo Cape Coral Technical College (CCTC) is an accredited tech center in Cape Coral, and part of the Lee County School District. 

Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, CCTC focuses on preparing students for employment by providing a quality, technology-oriented education in business, technology, health, marketing and culinary arts. CCTC offers 18 programs and has approximately 250 people currently enrolled. Be sure to check the CCTC website to find out when the next round of classes begins. Because CCTC is part of the School District, the school is able to offer lower tuition fees. Students may qualify for financial aid . 

There are a great many opportunities for the trades and tech-related jobs in Cape Coral. CCTC offers targeted classes that lead to obtaining a certificate in a range of fields. Instructors and a Placement Service Program work with students to provide assistance in securing employment after graduation. Many certificates can be achieved in less than one year.

Two additional technical schools associated with the Lee County School District offer other types of coursework and provide the same benefits as CCTC:  Fort Myers Technical College and Southwest Florida Public Service Academy

Cape Coral Technical College:
A Success Story

CC Tech Robert Boysel

Robert Boysel landed a position as a rigger with Nor-Tech Hi Performance Boats four months before graduating from Cape Coral Technical College, where he had earned his Certified Electrical Technician certification in the school's Electronic Technician Program. As a rigger, Boysel measures and plans the internal systems of each custom boat, designed and manufactured by Nor-Tech, which is currently planning to move its headquarters to Cape Coral. Boysel, 30, had an unfulfilling job when he saw an ad for CTCC and decided to pursue his interest in electronics. "The school helped me learn how to properly network and to seek jobs that may not be easy to find, and I was able implement what they taught me," he says. "And I used that to find a career path. To me this isn't just a job. It's a career path I want to be on. I love it. I absolutely love it."

Service Corps of Retired Executives

Southwest Florida SCORE SCORE offers the largest network of volunteer business mentors providing free answers to your business questions. Founded in 1964, SCORE is based in Virginia and has 364 chapters throughout the United States and its territories, with more than 13,000 volunteers nationwide.  SCORE volunteers have the knowledge and experience to help any small business owner get the help they need, providing free, confidential one-on-one counseling services to small business entrepreneurs. 

SCORE mentors have experience in virtually every business category and can assist with: Business plan development, sales and marketing strategies; financing, taxes and e-commerce; management, administrative and operational procedures; and ongoing support and advice. SCORE also provides local business seminars and workshops, on-demand webinars and other resources. Southwest Florida SCORE conducts approximately 1,000 counseling cases each year; its offices are located in Fort Myers.

Lee County Economic Development Office

New Lee EDO logo 2018 The Lee County Economic Development Office provides business assistance to retain existing businesses, encourage entrepreneurship and attract new business so that Lee County has a strong economy, thriving communities, and broadly shared prosperity. Whether you are starting a business or have a well-established one, the Lee County EDO provide the tools and resources you need.

The Horizon Council

Horizon Council 25th The Horizon Council is a public-private board established in 1991 to advise the Lee County Board of Commissioners on economic development issues. The Council has up to 80 members representing cities; chambers of commerce; economic development and trade organizations; community, business, and education organizations; along with various officers and at-large members. The Council's mission is to improve Lee County's business environment, retain and encourage expansion of existing businesses, and attract new and diversified employers. It is the only public-private partnership of Lee County government and business leaders.

Southwest Florida Economic Development Alliance

SWFL Economic Development Alliance logo
The Southwest Florida Economic Development Alliance was formed in 2013 through the collaboration of the Lee County Horizon Council, the Naples Area Chamber of Commerce and Florida Gulf Coast University. The Alliance works to attract new businesses by proactively marketing the five-county region of Southwest Florida: Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties.
By combining the strengths and offerings of the entire region, Southwest Florida becomes a much stronger contender for attracting Fortune 500 companies that pay competitive wages.
Regional target industries that mesh perfectly with the Cape Coral EDO include manufacturing, life sciences, information technology, financial/professional services and corporate headquarters. A description of all target industries is available on the alliance website.
This alliance serves as an economic development coordinator for site selectors, real estate consultants and targeted companies, working in collaboration with local economic development organizations. It helps companies relocate or expand in Southwest Florida by helping navigate executives through the process, offering help with site selection, incentives and talent, and by providing regional data.
Participating economic development offices and agencies: Lee County EDO; Collier County EDO; Charlotte County EDO; Hendry County Economic Development Council; Glades County EDC; and Enterprise Florida. The Cape Coral EDO participates through the Lee County EDO.

Cape Coral Construction Industry Association

CCCIA Logo The Cape Coral Construction Industry Association (CCCIA) represents hundreds of construction industry professionals and their affiliated partners, such as subcontractors and suppliers, to promote educational and professional development and to represent the industry as a coalition in government affairs.
The CCCIA closely monitors issues affecting new construction, such as impact fees, ordinances, road projects and long-term growth issues. It updates members on changes in local, state and national regulations such as pool safety requirements, FEMA regulations, and the International Building Code. It is an "industry watchdog" that has working relationships with the City of Cape Coral and the Lee County Building Department.
Established in 1971, the CCCIA hosts several community events each year, including golf tournaments and several annual events, such as CCCIA Builders' Roundtable, Builders' Showcase of Homes, Awards of Excellence and a Lee Building Industry Association mixer. The 2018 Builders' Showcase of Homes featured 32 models representing a range of residences and estates presented by 27 builders. The event reflects the talent, innovation, and quality of work by CCCIA members, and allows potential home-buyers and those involved in real estate to check out the latest offerings and trends.

FutureMakers Coalition

The FutureMakers Coalition was formed in 2015 by the Southwest Florida Community Foundation to participate in the Lumina Foundation's Community Partners for Attainment-a FutureMakers Coalition logo program of 75 community cohorts throughout the country dedicated to significantly increasing the percent of their residents with college degrees and post-secondary certifications and credentials. The regional initiative in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties is comprised of educators, workforce developers, business leaders, economic development professionals, government officials, residents and students dedicated to finding solutions together.
During the next decade, businesses throughout Southwest Florida will need more qualified employees to ensure their success and the region's economic health and viability. To that end, the FutureMakers Coalition is committed to increasing the region's percentage of college graduates and residents with advanced certifications and credentials from 27 percent to 40 percent by 2025.
The Southwest Florida Community Foundation identified the FutureMakers Coalition as its first regional call to action and assembled a group of community leaders who provided funding for public service announcements, scholarships and the development of the Grad App. It also created a student-support network for one-on-one and group mentoring, financial-aid application support and career coaching.

Cape Coral Community Foundation

Cape Coral Community Foundation logo The mission of the Cape Coral Community Foundation is to "stimulate philanthropy that enriches our community and region's quality of life, through lasting and meaningful giving." The Foundation is a vehicle for people of all means to make a lasting difference in their community with permanently endowed and gifted funds. The Foundation offers a variety of ways to give generously to a multitude of diverse partners, prioritize needs and best serve its citizens - locally, regionally, nationally and abroad. It builds upon philanthropy efforts and strengthens society by encouraging endowments, addressing the public's needs, and providing community leadership.
The Foundation has become known as The Global Center for Generosity as it works with other foundations and organizations outside of Cape Coral and across the nation. It has evolved into a fundraising institute designed to assist non-profit and faith-based organizations in board, donor and fundraising development; partners with financial advisors and wealth managers; and introduces corporate employee giving.
It recognizes community, business and nonprofit leaders through three awards ceremonies: Power Players Professional Advisor Awards; The ENPYs: Excellence in Nonprofit Performance Yearly Awards; and The Tabor Award. Residents and business owners can get involved in several different ways, including adopting a nonprofit, supporting or establishing a scholarship, providing event sponsorship, or joining a giving circle.

Southwest Regional Manufacturer's Association (SRMA)

SRMA According to Enterprise Florida, the Sunshine State is home to more than 19,000 manufacturers employing more than 331,000 workers. Southwest Florida's growing manufacturing industry is diverse, manufacturing items ranging from sheet metal and storm shutters to high-end chocolates, skincare products and sustainable goods like bamboo toothbrushes and solar fields to support a new solar-powered community in Charlotte County.
The SRMA was established to bring manufacturers and needed resources in Southwest Florida together to help them to thrive in the areas of economic development, state-of-the-art technology, and maintaining a highly skilled workforce.
Since 35-year veteran manufacturer and trainer Neil Kagan stepped in as executive director for the SRMA in January, the organization is seeing reignited energy, with a renewed focus on workforce training. "We want to help local manufacturers to experience increased efficiency and, at the same time, reduced costs," says Kagan.
Kagan maintains expertise in process improvement and quality systems such as Lean Manufacturing and ISO 9001. His vast network of contacts allows Kagan to bring in outside talent to provide specialized training.
"We work with area universities, private colleges, technical schools and others to help produce the skilled labor pool we know that manufacturers need," adds Kagan.
Look for future roundtable discussions, facility tours and more to be announced by SRMA.