The goal of the Economic Outreach Council (EOC) is to engage as many talented and experienced businesspersons who call Estero their home, or their second home, to actively support the efforts of southwest Florida institutions to grow and diversify the economy and otherwise improve the quality of life of the residents of the region.
Scope of Work – For 2017/2018, EOC will focus on three primary initiatives:
- Entrepreneurship Support – Support the FGCU Institute for Entrepreneurship’s Need for Mentors and Other Needs as they Emerge
- Elementary and Secondary Student Support – Support the Lee County School District’s Need for Guest Career Councilors etc.
- Village Center Vision Development and Implementation – Work with the Village of Estero to Develop a Consensus Village Center Vision and to Assist in its Implementation
To further our mission, the members of the EOC will work with the Village of Estero, Bonita Springs Estero Economic Development Council, Lee Health, Hertz, Collier’s International and other area businesses and institutions to help them attract and grow firms that will strengthen and diversify our economy.
Until the Great Recession hit Estero in 2007 there seemed to be no need for the ECCL to focus on business development.
Shortly thereafter, the ECCL joined the Bonita Springs Chamber of Commerce and the City of Bonita Springs in forming the Bonita Springs Estero Economic Development Council. The BSEEDC has represented the economic development interests of south Lee County well over the last decade.
Subsequently, the ECCL collaborated with Lee County’s Economic Development Council (LCEDC) in an effort to create a Catalyst Club, a group of retired businesspersons who were encouraged to help the County attract new firms and facilities to the area. During one “season” the ECCL recruited about 200 retired businesspersons to a series of small workshop/receptions managed by the County.
After Hertz opened their International Headquarters in Estero, the ECCL encouraged Collier’s International, one of the world’s largest commercial realtors, to develop a marketing plan to encourage the location of office and research facilities in the community.
Support the FGCU Institute for Entrepreneurship’s Need for Mentors and Other Needs as they Emerge
Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) is one of three universities throughout the country that are committed to establishing a “School of Entrepreneurship”. Shortly FGCU’s Lutgert School of Business department of Entrepreneurship will leave the Business School and become a separate School where students from all other disciplines can enroll to learn how to create new products and services.
As this transformation is implemented, the rapidly expanding number of students studying in the Entrepreneurship School will need the advice and counsel of mentors with extensive business knowledge and experience, like the members of the EEEOC.
Elementary and Secondary Student Support
Support the Lee County School District’s Need for Guest Career Councilors etc.
Lee County Schools are seeking retired business people to talk to students about their professions as a form of career counseling. Estero resident and Lee County School Board Member Chris Patricca is working with District staff to outline this program. She is identifying other needs where our committee might make an impact on the effectiveness of their students, especially in south Lee County.
Village Center Vision Development and Implementation
More than 5 years ago the ECCL hired Seth Harry, a well-known architect and planner, to help us to plan for the economic development of the community as we started to recover from the great recession. The ECCL, Lutgert Development, and the Collier family, owners of the 100 acre North Point property share the cost of a 3-day charrette focused on the development of the Village Center south of Corkscrew Road. This resulted in a vision for this area as a Village Center as a walkable, transit ready mixed use community. Unfortunately we could never get Lutgert et al to buy into this approach and pursue this kind of development.
Nonetheless, in mid-2015 the Village Council adopted a Comprehensive Plan amendment establishing these kind of goals, objectives and policies for the Village Center area with an incentive scheme to encourage such development.
EEEOC will work to develop a strategy for how to proceed with this component of the Estero Village Council’s agenda, specifically how we might engage national developers who might have an interest in implementing such a development either independently or as a joint venture partner.