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Institute for Entrepreneurship

Institute for Entrepreneurship

Meet Our Students


Meet Benjamin Barile, a graduate of the Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Program and founder of Eco-Spacers LLC!

Ben Check

Barile started in the marines after he graduated in high school and remained an active military member for a total of 10 years.

After moving to Florida, Barile inquired about programs for veterans, learned about VFEP's partnership with FGCU's Institute for Entrepreneruship and contacted us to participate. His original plan was to start his own paving business, but after discovering that recycle pavers were being made he decided to pursue this more eco-conscious route to paving. 

Barile also started to identify a problem in the roofing construction industry. He is now working on his first startup Rocky Top V Paving company to fund and make time for his newest business idea, Eco-Spacers. Eco-Spacers LLC is an innovative, cost effective and recyclable product company that helps contractors save time, material and labor. 
The Eco-Spacer is a product that will revolutionize the roofing industry. This product is made of environmentally friendly material which spaces roof tresses. Traditionally, this product would be left on the house, which causes an increased expense for builders since they have to be replaced and also creates significant waste. The Eco-Spacer is a reusable spacer which will alleviate many of these issues in the roofing industry.
The most beneficial thing about the veterans program for Barile was learning about the Lean Startup Method in order to start his business with the least amount of capital possible. Barile has recently acquired his paving license and plans to start paving for another company to raise more capital to launch his own business. Barile also received $10,000 in seed funding through the VFEP's Compassionate Shark Tank pitch competition. 
Barile noted that he has done two other veterans programs online - Boots to Business and another program from Syracuse - that really didn’t give him direction or motivation.
“This program pushed me to think. It removed my fears and gave me the call to action. To step up and make it real. It gave me confidence!”

Meet Richard Martin, one of the newest participants of IFE's Runway Program. 

 Richard Martin Runway Participant Fall 2017
This is Richard Martin! He’s one of our students in the Runway Program this year. He’s a Freshman majoring in Finance and his business idea is related to law enforcement. He found our runway program through our instagram page. This semester he’s most looking forward to being around like-minded people in the program.
Fun fact about Richard, he’s born and raised in Florida and he loves to read Business Insider and Forbes.