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FGCU’S Regional Economic Recovery Initiative

Restart logoGood health makes good business, so it makes sense for FGCU’s Lutgert College of Business and Marieb College of Health & Human Services to unite to mobilize their expertise and resources, along with those of our local partners, to help businesses respond to the impact of COVID-19 on their operations, work forces, vendors and customers.


Check out RESTART SWFL business directory

Learn about Seal of Confidence recipients

The initiative includes the following components:

The RESTART SWFL Seal of Confidence: A campaign to bring a renewed sense of confidence and prosperity to the region through which business owners pledge to adhere to a set of four standards involving health, business and ethical practices and to participate in two business- or health-related discussions to earn the seal.
  • Earning the seal is a two-step process: Get Pledge Details


RESTART Resources

Small Business Development Center

Statistics show that 40% of businesses forced to close because of a disaster never reopen. To help businesses regain their footing and thrive, the SBDC offers a range of services that include recovery plan assistance, cybersecurity training, risk assessment and other invaluable tools at little to no cost. The center has recently added staff members in anticipation of greater need. For details, visit fsbdcswfl.org.

Ongoing Impact Surveys

Lutgert College’s Regional Economic Research Institute conducts monthly surveys of 950 executives from Lee, Collier and Charlotte counties to track the impact of COVID-19 and the progress of each community currently and through the coming months. These ongoing surveys help business owners see how the region is recovering over time, the demand for loans and employee willingness to return to work.


Resource QuickLinks


RESTART SWFL Web-Based Discussions

Upcoming Events


Event Archives/Resources

Good Health Makes Good Business: Public Health Strategies to Ensure Responsible Business Operations
Recorded May 26

Panelists: Marieb College of Health & Human Services Dean Dr. Ann Cary, moderator and participant; Dr. Rosann Spiegel, Nurse Anesthesiology Program Director; Dr. Jayanta Gupta, Public Health Program Director

Content: A discussion of health initiatives that businesses need as they reopen.

Business Survival: Managing for Success
Recorded May 28

Panelists: Lutgert College of Business SBDC Director Lois Knox, moderator and participant; Dr. Craig Randall, Assistant Professor; Dr. Trip Knoche, Assistant Professor; Dr. Joe Leah, Assistant Professor; Dr. Diana Fandel, Instructor

Content: Lutgert College of Business management professors with extensive private sector experience will provide insight and strategies for running your business during times of crisis.

Leading Heroically and Ethically in the Coronavirus Era
Recorded June 9

Panelists: Lutgert College of Business Professor and Uncommon Friends Endowed Chair in Ethics Dr. Eric Dent, moderator and participant; Michael Wynn, ’05 MBA, President of Sunshine Ace Hardware; Gail Markham, Founding Partner of Markham Norton Marsteller Wright & Company, P.A.; Dawn-Marie Driscoll, Emeritus Executive Fellow at Hoffman Center for Business Ethics, Bentley University

Content: COVID-19 has changed the social contract between businesses and their customers and employees. Join SWFL experts as they discuss how to lead heroically and think about the mindset shift needed to thrive during times of unprecedented crisis management.

Business Survival: Accounting for Success
Recorded June 23

Panelists: Lutgert College of Business Accounting Department Chair Tanya Benford, CPA, moderator; Accounting Advisory Board Chair Jeffrey M. Tuscan, CPA; Assistant Professor Elizabeth Johnson, CPA; Professor Raymond Placid JD, CPA; Professor Ara Volkan, CPA 

Content: Lutgert College of Business Accounting Advisory Board chair and accounting professors with significant private-sector experience will address accounting questions frequently asked during times of crisis and provide insight on practical strategies for moving forward.

Restaurants and COVID-19: Assuring Safety while Delivering Value
Recorded July 7

Panelists: Kelly Livingston, Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association Food Safety and Sanitation Trainer; Jay Johnson, Owner of Bubba’s Roadhouse and President of FRLA Lee Chapter; Fred Malone, VP Sales and General Manager of Fort Myers Brewing; Laurie Farlow, Owner of Farlow’s on the Water (Englewood) and VP, Restaurants for FRLA Gulf Island Coast Chapter; Veljko Pavicevic, Owner of Sails Restaurant (Naples); Michael Collins, Associate Professor of Resort & Hospitality Management in the Lutgert College of Business, will serve as moderator

Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association logoContent: Restaurant owners, operators and a food sanitation expert discuss the industry’s response to, as well as the lasting impact of, the COVID-19 pandemic on the restaurant industry. This event is cosponsored by the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association.

Managing Stress and Anxiety Among Employees and Self
Recorded July 21

Panelists: Marieb College of Health & Human Services Dean Dr. Ann Cary, moderator and participant; Dr. Tom Felke, Chair and Associate Professor, Department of Social Work; Dr. Suzanne Dugger, Chair and Professor, Department of Counseling

Content: This session will assist participants in understanding COVID-related stress employees may experience, recognize implications of this stress for the work place, and identify strategies for helping employees manage COVID-related stress and anxiety.

Economic Impact on Small Businesses


Closed businesses won't reopen


Decreased demand due to COVID


Decline in sales revenue


Have no contingency plans


RESTART SWFL Press Conference

Learn more about FGCU's economic recovery initiative and hear from faculty experts on topics that impact our region.