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Lutgert College of Business in the News

This is the text and photo of a story in the Fort Myers News-Press of January 31, 2010.

Lee County entrepreneurs get tips at workshops

FGCU center holds monthly luncheons


You don’t have to spend a lot of dough or skip lunch to learn the basics of starting a business.

Dan Regelski and crew serve up business tips, dos and don’ts through “brown-bag” workshops held monthly at FGCU.

And, if you forgot your lunch, they’ll throw in the fixings for free peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

“Our target audience is individuals starting a business or who are struggling in a business,” said Regelski, who’s director of the Small Business Development Center at the university. The center has seasoned business educators, aided as needed by active entrepreneurs.

Dan Regelski, director of the Small Business Development Center at FGCU, gives tips to new and aspiring entrepreneurs at a brown-bag luncheon seminar. The workshop is offered monthly at the university. (Laura Ruane/

The brown-bag workshop isn’t a course for credit, but can get people started on researching their business idea, identifying their target customer, becoming legally recognized as a business, and more.

Plan on staying from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., if possible. The typical format is a short lecture, a question-and-answer session and networking. “Who is your target client or customer?” will be the topic on Feb. 24.

Wednesday’s workshop attracted people interested in pet care, pressure washing, portable solar energy supply and the healing arts, and other pursuits.

Harvey Gaona of Lehigh Acres is drafting a plan for AAASolar Energy Free, assisted by center certified business counselor Julio Estremera. Gaona was laid off from construction sales, and wants to reinvent himself as an entrepreneur. His dream is to assemble and supply portable solar energy generators on wheels for government agencies, event planners and others. “This is something I can do for energy saving, and for the environment.”

Priscilla McGuire, who teaches science to sixth-graders in Collier County, is launching a photography business she can pursue on the side.

“I love teaching kids, I have no interest in retiring,” said McGuire, a 27-year veteran at Golden Gate Middle School.

She had already had the business name, Priscilla McGuire Photography, registered with the state, but wanted some guidance on securing a business tax receipt (occupational license) and in figuring out the best niche for her photographic services. “I’m thinking weddings, but that can be nerve-racking.”

Finding a niche you enjoy — and which will earn a profit — isn’t automatic, said Regelski. He advised a would-be pet resort owner to make an appointment with a center adviser, subscribe to some pet trade publications, and possibly join an industry association.

“Right now, you’re at the top of the funnel, with load of options,” Regelski said. “Slowly, but surely, you’ve got to narrow it down.”

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