Eight aspiring entrepreneurs are now ready to launch their small businesses after graduating from the Southwest Florida MicroEnterprise Project on Thursday, June 29. The ceremony was held in the Cape Coral City Hall complex.
The Southwest Florida MicroEnterprise Project is a training program to help emerging entrepreneurs start new ventures and grow small businesses.
Graduates Michelle Andre, Tanesha Carhart, Jose Clemente, Michael Hutchings,Chad Nunez, Kandace Nelson-Simmons, Tamara Stefanec, and Lori Tabor-Randall each received certificates symbolizing their completion of the six-week course. The courses, which are guided by local small business mentors, have been held at various locations across Southwest Florida, but this was the first class based in Cape Coral.
Several of the graduates had an opportunity to address the crowd. The event became emotional as Nelson-Simmons delivered a poem before receiving her completion certificate.
"Success can be contagious," she told her classmates. Nelson-Simmons added in a prepared statement that the MicroEnterprise class "has given me confidence in what I want to do and direction in what I want to pursue."
In the two years since the MicroEnterprise program has started, the program has graduated 87 aspiring entrepreneurs, more than 25 of whom had started their business ventures.
A former MicroEnterprise graduate was also celebrated at the ceremony. Tyrone Prescott of Lehigh Acres was awarded a $2,500 business start-up grant for his electrical contractor business. The check was presented by Ann Arnall, director of the Lee County Department of Human Services.
The Southwest Florida MicroEnterprise Project is a partnership of several organizations and provides training for individuals with low-to-moderate income and/or other disadvantages to start their own businesses. The program is administrated by Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida. Additional support is provided by the Cape Coral Economic Development Office, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, and the Southwest Florida Enterprise Center, Edison State College, Fifth Third Bank, Florida Community Bank, and Lee County Department of Human Services.
Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida Inc. operates the Goodwill L.I.F.E. Academy. Other supported programs include Goodwill Jo-Link centers, the Four Wheels For Work vehicle assistance program, the SWFL MicroEnterprise project and income-sensitive housing for people with disabilities.
Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida Inc. is headquartered in North Fort Myers, at 4940 Byline Drive. For information, call 995-2106 or go to goodwillswfl.org .