Runway Program

The FGCU Student and Alumni Business Incubator

The Runway Program is a free incubator open to students and alumni that are accepted to the program. Currently located at the FGCU Emergent Technologies Institute Building, accepted participants have access to two 1,300 ft2 shared work spaces, cubicles, and Entrepreneurship Faculty, Staff, and Mentors. 

Participants meet with a Program Advisor once a week to receive feedback, and to set goals for the following week. The program follows the Lean Start-Up process. Participants identify and validate the existence of a problem or opportunity, and then develop solutions and a plan that they can test the market with. At the end of the 16-week program, student participants have the opportunity to pitch for equity-free seed funding to launch their businesses.


Runway Program Logo


Over 85%

of FGCU's majors are represented in the Runway Program.

Over $2.5 Million

generated by Runway Program students.

Over 200 Students

have been a part of the Runway Program since Fall 2016.


Meet Our Runway Program Entrepreneurs

Runway Program Austin Engle

Austin Engle

Founder and President of Liftup Life, Austin is a recent recipient of $5,000 in seed funding to further the development of his company. Liftup is made up of Austin and his partner Michael Amen. They are currently generating revenue, and have positively impacted the lives of over 200 people. 

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Runway Program Ryan Smith

Ryan Smith

Ryan is the creator of FindArtists.Net, a platform that helps artists sell their art. He first noticed the problem at an art fair in Southwest Florida. Ryan quickly grew a Facebook group, focused around the problem, to over 4,000 members in only one month. His platform development was funded in Spring 2018, and will be online in early August 2018.


Runway Program Jakub Adamowicz

Jakub Adamowicz

Co-Founder and Co-Creator of RoomDig, the one-of-a-kind housing app for college students. Jakub and his team are generating revenue, and represented FGCU and won the State Competition at the 2018 Governors Cup. They have been in business for a little over a year and have already helped thousands of college students find the best housing options.

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2017-2018 Student Runway Program Stats

72 Ventures Started

Students completed 80 hours at the IFE, created a business plan, and built a prototype

29 Ventures Pitched

Students pitched to an independent investment committee

20 Ventures Funded

Students were awarded seed funding to launch their businesses




Entrepreneurship Living Learning Community

The entrepreneurial freshman experience

  • Multi-disciplinary

  • Working towards graduation requirements

  • Co-curricular activities

  • Mentors


Entrepreneurship Living Learning Community Logo

LLC Community and Benefits FAQs

  • Where is it located?

  • What will participants do?

  • What classes do participants take?

  • What is the Runway Program?

  • Faculty and Staff Participation

  • Can I select my roommate?

  • What if I don’t like it?

  • Can I still be part of the FYRE program?

  • I'm interested in participating, what do I do now?

Apply Today 


Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Program

Serving those who served our country

Nearly one in four active duty service members and veterans want to open and operate their own business. Opportunity, freedom and solving problems attract them to the challenge of owning a business. Are you one of them?
Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Program Logo - Programs Page

The Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Program offers qualifying veterans tuition-free, online and on-campus instruction in the nationally-recognized Lean Startup Method. Designed to work around your busy schedule, the program provides you instruction at one of our network partners’ campuses, access to local resources such as business leaders and mentors, and much more.

The program offers three learning pathways in entrepreneurship and includes a year round self paced online program, in-person open enrollment workshops in the Fall, and the advanced program offered in the Spring for fifteen weeks.  The advanced program has limited slots, so be sure to sign up early!

The Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Program is free to Veterans who have been honorably discharged, active guard/reserve, active duty within one year of separation, and reside in Florida. 

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As you look towards the next step in your entrepreneurial career, we can help you succeed. 

Veteran Entrepreneur Ed Dort of Directional CommandDepartments of the Military on the American Flag


Ed received valuable mentorship from community business leaders and experts in supporting fields.

Mentorship at the IFE

"It was a true privilege to have participated in the Veterans Entrepreneurship Program at FGCU this spring"

2017-2018 Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Program Stats

11 Pitched

in our Compassionate Sharktank.

6 Funded

$88,000 was awarded in seed funding to start their ventures

3 In Kind

$6,000 was awarded in pro bono marketing services and laptop computers.



Entrepreneurship Mentor Program

The secret to our success

This is where the magic happens! Our community mentors are the key drivers of success in all of our entrepreneurship programs. Our students receive team mentoring in the classroom and individual mentoring in our Runway Program, Entrepreneurship Living Learning Community, and Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Program. With backgrounds ranging from engineers and designers to CEOs and directors, our mentors provide our students, veterans, and alumni with a wealth of experiential knowledge that can only be found right here in Southwest Florida.


Mentorship Opportunities

New Venture Lab Class Session

New Venture Lab

The capstone course in the Interdisciplinary Entrepreneurship Degree, New Venture Lab is a course highly dependent on our mentor community. Teams of 5-7 students work together to develop a functional business plan for a solution that solves a problem. Mentors work closely to provide assistance with teams' financials, manufacturing, design, packaging, software development, and more. If you are interested in becoming a mentor for this class click Get Involved.

Get Involved
Mentoring at FGCU Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Program

Veterans Program

The Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Program (VFEP) is a one of a kind program in the state of Florida. Although several Florida Universities are partners of the VFEP, Florida Gulf Coast University is the only one to award participants with a one on one mentor experience and substantial seed funding for veterans to launch their businesses. If you are interested in becoming a mentor, click More Information. If you would like to learn more about VFEP, click Get Involved.

Runway Program Mentoring Session

Runway & LLC Programs

The FGCU Runway Program and Entrepreneurship Living Learning Community (LLC) are two of our flagship university-wide programs. Students from all backgrounds and disciplines work to develop a business solution to a real problem. The outcome of the Runway Program is for participants to actually start a business. Students in the LLC will be able to take ideas that they develop into the Runway Program, click Get Involved.



Faculty Fellows Program

Spreading entrepreneurship through university collaboration 

  • Establishes partnerships with other departments throughout the University to promote campus-wide entrepreneurship.
  • Offers stipends for faculty to integrate entrepreneurship coursework into their home discipline.
  • Non-entrepreneurship faculty work alongside entrepreneurship faculty to develop unique curriculum.
  • Interdisciplinary work is showcased and celebrated on campus.

The 2017-2018 Entrepreneurship Faculty Fellows

Name Department Email
Lura, Derek Bioengineering
McManus, Greg Chemistry and Physics
Mirjafari, Arsalan Chemistry and Physics
Frost, Laura Chemistry and Physics / STEM
Hoyt, Eugene Computer Information Systems
Gilbert, Shelby Curriculum, Instruction and Culture
Salmond, Michael Digital Media
Sweeney, Carol Economics
Kenny, Robert Educational Technology
Arseneau, Eric Entrepreneurship
Kauanui, Sandra Entrepreneurship
Lennertz, Reid Entrepreneurship
Lortie, Jason Entrepreneurship
Stout, Annie Entrepreneurship
Kim, Jong-Yeop Environmental Engineering
Simpson, Mark ESOL
Kleeger, Jeff Justice Studies
Nairruti, Jani Macro Social Work
Girimurugan, Senthil Mathematics
Connor, Annemarie Rehabilitation Services
Collins, Michael Resort & Hospitality Management
Werder, Kelly Resort & Hospitality Management


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