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Institute for Entrepreneurship

Institute for Entrepreneurship

Message from the Director


Welcome to the Institute for Entrepreneurship at Florida Gulf Coast University! I am truly passionate about helping our students find their passion in their chosen work. I believe everyone should find work they love to do and enjoy doing. I have lived my life by this and have always been lucky enough to be able to follow my passion in my work. For twenty years, I was a successful entrepreneur and truly loved what I did. I built my business and enjoyed making a difference in my community and with my clients. When I no longer had the passion, I was able to sell my business, complete my education and become a professor—something I had always wanted to do as well.

For the last eighteen years I have enjoyed teaching, research and mentoring students to find meaning and purpose in their work, specifically through entrepreneurship. Throughout my career, my research has been in entrepreneurship; recently my research has been about developing a better understanding of how entrepreneurs’ definition of success is related to their creativity and productivity.  

 At the Institute for Entrepreneurship, the faculty and staff are working hard to provide students opportunities to experience what it is like to be an entrepreneur. Through our community relationships, various business plan competitions and pitch contests, internship opportunities, guest speakers, outside projects and coursework, we provide students a variety of opportunities to learn by doing. We also provide numerous mentorship opportunities through partnerships with successful entrepreneurs in the community. 

We are extremely motivated to add value to our entrepreneurial community in SW Florida. The faculty are engaged in supplying research and volunteering as guest speakers for our entrepreneurial community.  Our goal is to support entrepreneurship throughout FGCU and support the continued growth of the entrepreneurship ecosystem. If I can be of service to you, please contact me.


Dr. K headshot 
Dr. Sandra Kauanui is Director of the Institute for Entrepreneurship. Dr. Kauanui has a Ph.D. from George Washington University and is a professor of Management and Entrepreneurship. Dr. Kauanui is serving as a member on the advisory board for the Junior Achievement of Southwest Florida and the Small Business Development Center.