Runway Program

Start something new

Students and Alumni have a place to launch the business of their dreams.


Runway Program Business Incubator


Emily Ennis Runway Program Participant and Founder of Safe Driving Toolkit

The FGCU Runway Program is a free business incubator open to students and alumni that are accepted into the program. Currently located off campus at the FGCU Emergent Technologies Institute Building, participants have access to two 1,300 ft2 shared work spaces, computers, cameras, audio equipment, design and development software, and regular mentoring from our expert faculty, staff, and community startup coaches. 

Participants are required to regularly meet with assigned Runway Program Advisors to receive feedback on ideas and progress, in addition to setting goals towards launching their venture. The Runway Program follows the Lean Start-Up methodology. Participants identify and validate the existence of a problem or opportunity, and then develop solutions and a plan that they can test on real people. At the end of the 16-week program, student participants have the opportunity to pitch for equity-free seed funding to launch their businesses.

When Emily Ennis ('20) first started in the Runway Program, she had a vague idea of what she wanted to do. She had been affected by a traumatic distracted driving incident that sparked a passion for wanting to prevent others from experiencing what she did. Through the Runway Program, Emily went from an Idea to a functional and funded business solution that she is now in the process of growing. 




Over 90%

of all FGCU majors are represented in the Runway Program.

Over $9.9 Million

generated by student and alumni participants since Fall 2016..

Over 300 Students

have participated in the Runway Program since Fall 2016. 



Meet Our Runway Program Entrepreneurs

Andrew Townsend and Amber Redfern started Cattyshack Cafe

Andrew Townsend

Through the FGCU Alumni Runway Program, Andrew Townsend ('18) and his fiancée, Amber Redfern, found a way to reduce feline euthanasia rates and give the community a fun place to hang out with cats with their company, Cattyshack Café.

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Makenzie Whitaker and Olive the Pig creator of Kidney Kronicles

Makenzie Whitaker

Makenzie Whitaker ('19) is a Runway Program Participant, an English Major with an Entrepreneurship Minor, and kidney transplant survivor with a dream of helping kids and families through the process of taking on diseases like the one she had with her book, The Kidney Kronicles.


Runway Program Participant John Ciocca founder of youBelong

John Ciocca

John Ciocca ('22) is a Runway Program Participant, an Interdisciplinary Entrepreneurship Studies Major, and an award winning app developer with the hope of making the internet a safe place for everyone with his startup, youBelong. The app has 2200 users across 26 different countries.

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2019-2020 Runway Program Stats

78 Businesses Started

Participants completed the program by launching their business and pitching for money.

27 Businesses Funded

Participants were awarded equity-free seed funding to start their businesses.

$137,250 Awarded

Dollar amount awarded to qualified participants to launch their businesses.