Rist Family Foundation Institute for Entrepreneurship

Our Programs Are Hard to Beat

The Rist Family Foundation Institute for Entrepreneurship houses award winning co-curricular programs for students, alumni, veterans, and our community.

Florida Gulf Coast University's Rist Family Foundation Institute for Entrepreneurship is currently housed within the Daveler & Kauanui School of Entrepreneurship and is the home to all of our co-curricular entrepreneurship programs. The Institute was started in 2005 to support campus and community wide entrepreneurial activities, and in 2013 it sponsored the first undergraduate multidisciplinary team from FGCU to compete at the Florida Venture Forum Collegiate Business Pitch Competition that went on to win 1st place against teams from several major university graduate programs.

Entrepreneurship Student and Runway Program Participant Jamaree Jones

In 2015, it became home to one of the most successful Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Programs in the State. In 2016, it launched the FGCU Runway Program Business Incubator, which has helped hundreds of student and alumni owned business get started. In Fall 2018, it piloted the Freshman Entrepreneurship Living-Learning Community in South Village Housing to provide incoming Eagle Innovators with the opportunity to live with students of all majors and backgrounds, and learn the fundamentals of starting something new.

The Institute also runs several high school and middle school programs in partnership with organizations in Lee, Collier, and Charlotte Counties, such as the Immokalee Foundation Business Management & Entrepreneurship Summer Camp, the CEO Academy with Junior Achievement of Southwest Florida, and the Entrepreneurial Youth Program with Pickup the Ball.

We make the possible real for the university community and beyond."- Sandra Kauanui, Ph.D.


We Have a Program for Everyone

We support individuals at every stage in their entrepreneurial career.

Runway Program Participants working on their businesses together and having funRunway Program Logo Overlay

Runway Program

Start your business while you go to school. Runway Program is a business startup incubator that helps students and alumni from all majors at FGCU start a businesses.

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Veteran Entrepreneur Loki Anthony Owner of Loki Designz receiving check to start his busines after participating in the Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Program at FGCUVeterans Florida Entrepreneurship Program Logo Overlay

Veterans Program

The Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Program at FGCU offers U.S. Military Veterans a tuition-free, online and on-campus help to develop a business from start to launch.

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Summer Camp for High School Students

Summer Camps

One program we offer is for students supported by the Immokalee Foundation. This 4-week long camp teaches students how to develop a business idea that solves a real problem.

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Community Initiatives

We believe that anyone can become an entrepreneur.


  • COMING SOON - Student-Run Businesses

  • Roundtable of Entrepreneurship Educators of Florida 

  • Collier County Public Schools INCubator Training

  • Estero Community

  • College Reach-Out Program

  • Champions for Learning

  • Annual High School Entrepreneurship Challenge

  • Entrepreneurship Mentor Program

  • Pick up the Ball

  • National, Regional, and Local Competitions

Background Image Lucas Hall

We're here to answer your questions

FGCU Institute for Entrepreneurship

Lucas Hall
10501 FGCU Blvd S
Fort Myers, Florida 33965

(239) 745-4040

(239) 590-7324

Experience FGCU