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2016 Yearly Recap

2016 is coming to an end, and what a year it’s been! The Southwest Florida Economic Development Alliance (SWFLEDA) has gone through so many changes throughout the year. From welcoming new businesses and organizations, to traveling to Europe, to becoming a leader in out-of-state organizations, to making waves in our very own back yard, SWFLEDA has certainly had a successful year.

To celebrate our achievements and see what the future has in store for us, let’s take a look at everything that we accomplished together.

FGCU Emergent Technologies Institute Opens Doors in SWFL

Southwest FFGCU Emergent Technology Institutelorida started 2016 with success! Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) opened its doors to the Emergent Technologies Institute (ETI) in February.

Built within the Innovation Hub research park off of Alico Road in Fort Myers, this 24,000 square foot facility is home to 6.5 acres of donated land. Two and a half of those acres are comprised of a solar energy park. The purpose of the ETI is to become a southwest Florida incubator for the creation and advancement of new technology.

“The Emergent Technologies Institute expands FGCU’s comprehensive offerings,” Southwest Florida Economic Development Alliance President Eric Berglund said. “It’s a major selling point for business relocation proving we have a highly skilled workforce.”

The Emergent Technologies Institute alone will create 215 jobs; a number that will only be expanded by the Innovation Hub, which will bring more than 1,000 jobs to Lee County over the next 10 years. The workforce development plan was driven by training solar installers and has continued to grow to new educational opportunity and technology training!

Skyplex and RSW Sprout New Futures for Fort Myers

skyplex fort myers rswFort Myers welcomed a new hub for growth, alongside Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW). The Skyplex is located around the bustling airport in Fort Myers, a great location for business due to the steady flow of tourists, business professionals, and Florida residents. The development area, still available for leasing, brings a wide range of opportunities for businesses within the commercial and aviation industries looking to relocate or open its doors in southwest Florida.

Situated just beside southwest Florida’s largest airport, Skyplex has the opportunity to take advantage of passengers stopping in Fort Myers. RSW has transformed in past years to one of the top 50 airports in the United States for passenger traffic. It is growing into a professional powerhouse that’s renewing Fort Myers.

Title Sponsor of the CCIM

SWFLEDA proudly became the  2016 title sponsor  for the Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM) Institute.  Year-long sponsorship includes 30 days of free digital marketing, 5 full-page ads designed by iPartnerMedia, and a significant presence at two major CCIM events in April and October.

CCIM Thrive 2016 will bring the leading names of top commercial real estate professionals together to trade ideas to help shape the future of this growing industry. Topics will include hot topic items such as crowdfunding, big data, and

At CCIM Thrive 2016, SWFLEDA, the only economic development sponsor, joined big names in business in Atlanta, including: Luntz Global, Ten-X, Sperry Commercial Global Affiliates, and many more! The success of both events has enticed and tantalized. There could be future projects with CCIM to look forward to in 2017!

SWFLEDA Keeps Southwest Florida Global

Eric Berglund and his team were bitten by wanderlust this year! The team traveled to Europe several times this year. SWFLEDA had a strong presence at the Hanover Messe Trade Show in Germany in June. They traded their flip-flops for beer steins, presenting southwest Florida as a leading area for businesses and industries.

They didn’t stop there! Paris was also on the docket! Eric Bergland joined business representatives from the Naples Accelerator across the Atlantic to beautiful Paris, France to meet with the French Innovation Network, RETIS. RETIS visited southwest Florida twice between 2015 and 2016. During their time in the Sunshine state, RETIS brought six companies with them to tour southwest Florida.  

SWFLEDA also did their fair share of traveling within the United States, as well. The team joined area professionals in Little Rock, Arkansas for the 2016 Fall Forum, October 24-26. The Fall Forum brings professionals together to discuss the importance of site selection. SWFLEDA joined people from all over the country, presenting southwest Florida as a thriving opportunity for businesses.

Thank You, Southwest Florida

We had a powerful year as an organization, as well! President and CEO of SWFLEDA, Eric E. Berglund, was named one of Gulfshore Business’ 40 Under 40. As an “agent of change” Berglund and SWFLEDA was featured in the Naples Daily News and The News-Press for their dedication to bring business to southwest Florida.

The success of this year has been a team effort. Without the support of our members, loyal businesses, and our community, southwest Florida would not be the growing economic powerhouse it is today.

2017 is already shaping up to be a great, if not better year for the area. Make sure to follow us on Facebook and visit our website for new events, exciting new developments, and stay up-to-date with the community.