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Business Assistance Expo Saturday in Cape Coral

By Staff | Mar 6, 2012

Entrepreneurs looking to connect with small business assistance organizations will have that opportunity Saturday when the city of Cape Coral again unfolds its Southwest Florida Business Assistance Expo.

The free event to be held at the popular Farmer’s Market in Club Square from 8 a.m to noon will bring experts from throughout Lee County to one location, ready to answer questions and explain programs that are geared to help small businesses succeed, officials said, adding for anyone interested in starting or expanding a business, this is a one-stop opportunity to gather important information from a host of resources.

Also, for the first time this year, business owners also will share their experiences in starting a business in Cape Coral.

Offered information will include:

* Economic Development Incentives

* Low-Cost or Free Employee Training

* Business Start-Up and Development Seminars

* Lee County and Cape Coral Contract Procurement Guidelines

* Licensing & Permitting

The Business Expo is a partnership project of the Cape Coral EDO, Chamber of Commerce, South Cape, and the FGCU-Small Business Development Center.

More than 20 organizations, including Southwest Florida Works, Procurement Technical Assistance Centers, Lee County Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program, and SCORE will share their resources and offer free counseling sessions.

As of Tuesday, organizations that have agreed to participate include:

Cape Coral Chamber of Commerce The chamber actively supports the growth of more than 1,000 members

businesses in Southwest Florida. The chamber promotes and serves the businesses and the community by informing, educating, supporting, and growing the local business community and provides relationship building networking opportunities.

City of Cape Coral Economic Development Office (EDO) Assistance in finding a commercial site, permitting,

zoning and licensing information, offers incentives for qualified businesses and is a resource for demographics and business information.

Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) Interested in opening a business in the downtown area in Cape

Coral? The CRA will assist you with the Rental Assistance program, Facade Grants and the many aspects of opening a business in the CRA.

Florida Gulf Coast University–Small Business Development Center (FGCU–SBDC) Offers the small

business owner free counseling, seminars and workshops, and on-line training. If you are thinking of opening a

business, the SBDC offers assistance in developing a business plan which is crucial to obtaining a bank loan.

Services are offered in English and Spanish.

Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) – “Counselors to America’s Small Business” is a non-profit

association that provides free small business advice, mentoring and training to small business owners and

aspiring entrepreneurs regardless of race, age, gender or country of origin. Under the guidance of volunteers, SCORE clients get the assistance they need to transform their lives, build financial wealth and enhance their communities.

Fort Myers Regional Partnership The Lee County Economic Development Office offers incentives to targeted

industries that relocate or expand in Lee County. Provides county demographics and resources and will assist you in finding a commercial site for your business.

Goodwill Industries/MicroEnterprise The newly formed Southwest Florida MicroEnterprise Project provides training and loans for individuals to start their own businesses. Founding partners, including the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida, the Southwest Florida Enterprise Center/City of Fort Myers, SCORE and ACCION, USA, have begun accepting applications from potential participants in Charlotte, Hendry, Glades, Lee and Collier counties. The three-year funding goal is $350,000.

Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTAC)

Assists businesses seeking to compete successfully in federal, state and local government contracting. The Center provides procurement training and seminars for those who want to participate in the Government Marketplace.

The Lee County Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program (DBE) Offers State Government Certification application assistance, business and technical assistance, and procurement assistance specifically for eligible minority, woman, and service-disabled veteran owned businesses.

The Southwest Florida Works (formerly Career & Service Center of Southwest Florida) A One Stop

Career Center that provides individuals with self-service and staff-assisted activities and access to employment,

education and training services from different programs and providers at a single location.

Club Square is located off Southeast 47th Terrace in downtown Cape Coral.

Visit the EDO Website www.bizcapecoral.com for information about participating organizations and the free services offered at this event.

Event Website: tinyurl.com/BAE2012

Source: City of Cape Coral