Since its establishment in 2014, Nervous Nellie's has become a beloved waterfront restaurant catering to both tourists and locals. Still, like many other businesses in Fort Myers Beach, Florida, Nervous Nellie's suffered unimaginable damages following Hurricane Ian in September 2022. The destruction caused by Hurricane Ian was extensive, with the restaurant's interior left in ruins. The waterline marked a stark reminder of the damage inflicted upon the business. Everything below that line was destroyed, including drywall, electrical systems, plumbing, kitchen equipment, walk-in coolers, and freezers. The owners were forced to discard a thousand pounds of seafood, a significant loss. The devastation extended beyond Nervous Nellie's, as 60 to 70 percent of homes on the beach also suffered significant damage.
"Suzanne Specht… cares about small businesses. She is knowledgeable about the program. She is a great asset to our business. Having her assist makes my job easier and takes my stress level down. People that are dedicated to what they do go the extra mile."
Following Hurricane Ian, co-owner Len Lemmers sought help from the Florida SBDC at FGCU in applying for disaster loan assistance. Understanding the importance of supporting small business owners following such an event, Suzanne Specht, a knowledgeable and dedicated consultant with the Florida SBDC at FGCU, stepped in to provide guidance and assistance. Her expertise in navigating disasters and available loan programs brought hope to Lemmer. Additionally, Suzanne's dedication and commitment to their success gave them confidence throughout the process. Such support and dedication are vital in a disaster, and they instill a sense of gratitude and relief in the business owners.
Abraham Sculley founded Speaks 2 Inspire, a consulting and public speaking agency for colleges, universities, and more. With a focus on maximizing student success and well-being an promoting a positive learning environment, Sculley provides guidance and practical strategies driving meaningful change. Sculley recognized the importance of taking a comprehensive approach to building and expanding his business. For this reason, he approached the Florida SBDC at UWF for support. The SBDC provided him with valuable assistance in navigating the start-up processes, marketing strategies, contract negotiation, sales techniques, and overall business growth necessary to maintain and expand his business.
"I will continue to refer my peers and colleagues to the [Florida] SBDC at UWF, whether they just have an idea, or they are running a small business. The SBDC at UWF team has been instrumental in my professional growth, and the growth of my business since my first meeting in 2021. After many meetings with the team regarding the operations, marketing, and sales of my business, I can confirm that SBDC is truly a resource for small business owners at all levels."
The Florida SBDC at UWF provided Speaks 2 Inspire with consulting, training, and research assistance in areas including: start-up assistance, human resources and hiring, capital formation, and strategies for sales increases. The company's leadership has also attended classes and events ranging from accounting and marketing to government contracting. Leveraging the expertise and resources of the SBDC, Sculley and his company continue to grow their team, business, and community impact to a more robust and more purposeful day-by-day
Starting and growing a new business can be daunting for even the most accomplished entrepreneurs and small business owners. Gladys Salicrup, Owner of Trapline Pest Solutions, had a vision and a sense of determination. Salicrup noticed her business was stagnant and was searching for solutions to continue to grow. She came to the Florida SBDC at UCF for general business consulting, including social media marketing, accounting, staffing, and website analysis, with the goal of growing her business.
"I was extremely impressed by the organization, the staff and the programs that the Florida SBDC had to offer. If I could shout it out on the rooftops to all the entrepreneurs and small business owners out there on how the FSBDC helped pave the way to my business growth, I would! This organization is extremely valuable to have. There are not many places out there that would offer such superior programs and services as the FSBDC."
After meeting with her Florida SBDC at UCF business consultant, Trapline Pest Solutions was enrolled in the FSBDC’s Small Business Institute® (SBI®) program, which connects local small businesses to the resources and management expertise of UCF’s College of Business Administration and the FSBDC at UCF. From there, she was provided with a complete business analysis and presented with an entire business plan, including an expense report tracking plan, marketing tactics, and additional resources to help her business grow.
Through working with the Florida SBDC at UCF and the SBI program, Salicrup has seen an increase in revenue of nearly 45%. Her company has experienced consistent growth through implementing new marketing tactics, increasing brand awareness, and accessing additional small business programs to help her business thrive. With the help of the Florida SBDC at UCF, she was able to meet her goals and grow her business.