Late last week I was asked to by the U.S. Department of Commerce to set up a visit for Secretary Wilbur Ross. He was looking for a company where he could tour and participate in a roundtable with community and business leaders. I connected with our new member NeoGenomics and Helen Edenfield and her colleagues took great care of the Secretary’s team and our roundtable. The Secretary had a schedule change and participated in the day's activities online, while his team joined us in-person. 

The focus of the Department of Commerce is to create conditions for economic growth and opportunity. We asked our roundtable participants to come prepared to speak to the Secretary about how COVID has affected their business, their recovery, and how could the Department could help their business. The topics discussed covered everything from the economy, PPP forgiveness, the aluminum shortage, understanding seasonality with future PPP opportunities, expected litigation from COVID and more.  

I would like to thank the following community partners for being part of our roundtable (in photo l to r): 

By this time next week, we will be through the election and maybe your team won and maybe they didn’t. But did this election cycle spark an interest in running for office yourself? Are you frustrated? Do you want to create change in the community? If you want to learn more about the process of running for office, then we can help. 

We will be partnering with the Florida Chamber to share their new Florida Institute for Political Leadership (FIPL). FIPL is a free, non-partisan* program open to everyone that is designed to recruit, train and guide people by providing leadership and training opportunities to get better candidates across the State of Florida. Organized, funded, and managed by the Florida Chamber of Commerce, FIPL is partnering with local chambers of commerce - including the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce - and other organizations across Florida to host campaign schools and training programs. 

Due to the impacts of COVID-19, FIPL programs are online. Our FIPL school is January 14-16 from 5:30 - 8:00 p.m. each day, and will include a briefing on emerging local and state issues, teach attendees what local opportunities are available for appointed or elected positions, offer guidance on how to prepare to run for office in the future, and provide training on how to run winning campaigns. If you are interested in learning more about, or registering for our FIPL class in January, please email me or call 239.332.2930.

*The Florida Institute for Political Leadership does not support or oppose, directly or indirectly, any candidates for public office, financially or otherwise. 
From our local Small Business Development Center (SBDC) office:

On November 10 at 9:00 a.m. the Florida Small Business Development Center is offering a free online workshop, Put Your Small Business in the Spotlight: 5 SmallBiz Visibility Tactics. In this workshop, you will learn how to help your company stand out against the competition and the importance of a visibility plan.

Follow this link to register.
From the Florida Chamber this week:

The world’s economy is changing, and Florida must be ready to compete not only nationally, but on a global stage – is Florida’s future workforce prepared? Be a part of the conversation about the goals identified in the Florida 2030 Blueprint on how to prepare today’s learners for tomorrow’s career opportunities. 

The Florida Chamber will be hosting a 4-part series Learners To Earners Workforce Solution Seminars Series. Topics will include: Ensuring Florida has a skilled and prepared workforce for the shifting needs of the economy; Developing a seamless path from the classroom to the workroom; Market-relevant postsecondary education and training; Ensuring Florida has high-quality Pre-K to 12th grade education; And, access to high quality early learning. 

  • Workforce: Tuesday, November 10, 10:00 a.m. – Noon 
  • Higher Education: Thursday, November 12, 10:00 a.m. – Noon 
  • K – 12: Tuesday, November, 17, 10:00 a.m. – Noon  
  • Early Learning: Thursday, November 19, 10:00 a.m. – Noon 
Follow this link to register.
The EDA CARES Act was a non-competitive, invitation only program that was awarded to the Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council (SWFRPC) for two years. The SWFRPC will support activities that prevent, prepare for, and respond to the corona-virus (COVID-19) pandemic, or respond to economic injury as a result of corona-virus. 

Your input is vital for a full economic recovery of our region. Please take a moment to complete their very short survey.
Our shop local campaign, Nov(m)ember launches on November 1st. If your company is a member of the Chamber, you are automatically included. But, there are some things you can do to be even more engaged. Take a look at the following questions to see if your business is ready!

  • Is your membership active?* Quickest way to check is to search the Member Directory for your business. If it's not there, your membership has lapsed. Call us at 239.332.2930 if you'd like to reinstate your membership.

  • Is your company listing current on the Member Directory? Login to the Member Portal to check your contact information, address and description. Don't remember your login? Email Linda.

  • Have you displayed the Nov(m)ember poster at your business and/or shared on social media? Click this link to download both the poster and image file.

  • Did you create a package or offer to entice consumers? We know times have been tough so we aren’t asking for free items or even a discount (unless that works for your business model). Email Debra what your company is doing so we can feature it in Nov(m)ember promotions!
The Chamber is hosting a blood drive with OneBlood at our office (2310 Edwards Drive - across from the Fort Myers Yacht Basin) on Tuesday, November 10 from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Please help our community as blood donors are desperately needed.

All donors will receive a OneBlood gift and a $10 e-gift card. Plus, all donors receive a wellness checkup including a COVID-19 antibody test, blood pressure, temperature, iron count, pulse, and cholesterol screening! Appointments are necessary. Follow this link to make yours!

Due to the Boat Show set-up happening on Edwards Drive, please park in the parking garage at the corner of Lee and Main. The OneBlood bus will be parked behind the Chamber near Lee Street.
This week’s article, Boost Profits by Spurring Employee Creativity, comes from the newsletter of long time Chamber Member, Hughes, Snell & Company, P.A.

Have a great weekend!