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Office of Vice President and
Chief of Staff
Florida Gulf Coast University
10501 FGCU Blvd S.
Fort Myers, FL. 33965-6565

Phone: (239) 590-1006
Fax:     (239) 590-1066

Press Release


U.S. Department of Commerce Honors FGCU Small Business Development Centered for Post Hurricane Charley Economic Recovery Efforts

FORT MYERS, FL - The U.S. Department of Commerce honored the Small Business Development Center at Florida Gulf Coast University Thursday, along with two other SBDCs as part of the Florida SBDC Network, with a 2005 Excellence in Economic Development Award for the SBDCs' commitment to their small business communities following last year's record hurricane season in Florida.

FGCU SBDC director Dan Regelski and representatives from the SBDCs at the University of South Florida and the University of West Florida traveled to Arlington, Va., with FSBDCN director Jerry Cartwright, who received the "Excellence in Economic Adjustment Strategies" category award on behalf of all three organizations.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Charley, the nine staff members in the SBDC at FGCU helped rescue businesses in Charlotte County, among others in the five county service region, with assistance in completing applications for low interest SBA and FEMA disaster loans, client counseling, and responding to client needs.

The SBDC at FGCU worked closely with regional and county economic development agencies, workforce boards, chambers of commerce, the state's Office of Tourism, Trade and Economic Development, and Enterprise Florida to help bring back the area's economic health to pre-storm conditions.

"The FSBDCN is a small program with many heroes," Cartwright said. "2004 brought the need for a mission adjustment for the SBDC Network. The professional staff organized and implemented a statewide strategy to get the state's small businesses back on track and growing. I'm extremely proud of the efforts our entire Network put forth during last year's hurricane season and that experience has provided us with the necessary tools to now facilitate the recovery efforts of businesses in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama."

The SBDC at FGCU has locations in Cape Coral, Fort Myers, Immokalee and Naples and provides small businesses with ideas for creative solutions and financial approaches. In 2003, the SBDC at FGCU helped local businesses apply for and receive nearly $345 million in federal government grants and another $86 million in federal government procurement contracts.

For more information, media representatives should contact Regelski at (239) 225-4220.

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