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.
In 2015, it became home to one of the most successful Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Programs in the State. And, shortly after being granted the funds from the Naples Accelerator in Collier County in 2016, it started the FGCU Runway Program Business Incubator, which has helped hundreds of student and alumni owned business get started. In Fall 2018, it launched 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.
The success of our programs have made Entrepreneurship a standalone Pillar of the University and have been the catalyst for the launch of FGCU's fastest growing major. Our Entrepreneurship Programs are ranked 1st in the State of Florida and 30th overall by The Princeton Review.
We have a program for everyone
We support individuals at every stage in their entrepreneurial career.
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.Learn More
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.Learn More
Take your business to the next level with the FGCU - Naples Accelerator Training Program. Gain access to world-class mentors and potential investors.Learn More
We believe that anyone can become an entrepreneur.
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 problem, create prototypes, and pitch to a group of business leaders in the community for a chance to win college scholarships.Learn More
The Southwest Florida business community is extremely supportive of our students. Not only do they hire our grads, but they have also contributed financial support for scholarships. To apply for scholarship opportunities, click the link below.Learn More
"I Will" Robotics
"The I Will Mentorship Foundation (IWMF) empowers youth to make positive life choices through Science, Technology, Engineering, Agriculture and Math (STEAM) based learning and evidence based mentoring programs..." Our staff volunteers their time to coach students in coding, design, and business.
COMING SOON - Student-Run BusinessesToggle More Info
Roundtable of Entrepreneurship Educators of FloridaToggle More Info
Collier County Public Schools INCubator TrainingToggle More Info
Estero CommunityToggle More Info
College Reach-Out ProgramToggle More Info
Champions for LearningToggle More Info
Annual High School Entrepreneurship ChallengeToggle More Info
Entrepreneurship Mentor ProgramToggle More Info
Pick up the BallToggle More Info
National, Regional, and Local CompetitionsToggle More Info