The Florida Small Business Development Center (FSBDC) at Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) announced the 2017 Distinguished Entrepreneur of Southwest Florida awards at its annual dinner on Wednesday, May 10.
The FSBDC awards are held annually to recognize three Southwest Florida small businesses for their innovation, advocacy and business growth. This year’s Distinguished Entrepreneur of Southwest Florida is Dr. Anais Aurora Badia, owner of Florida Skin Centers. Guido A. Minaya, owner of Minaya Learning Global Solutions, was named Innovator of the Year. Advocate of the Year is Brian Rist, owner of Storm Smart. An additional honor, the William O. Webb award, was presented to A & E Auto Repair.
“We celebrate the business owners that took an idea, grew that idea into a business and created a positive impact on the economy in the Southwest Florida community,” said FSBDC Regional Director Lois Knox.
Dr. Badia, a board certified dermatologist and the only pediatric dermatologist in Lee County, opened Florida Skin Center in Fort Myers in 2001. She has since expanded her operations into Cape Coral and Lehigh Acres, with the community’s public opinion polls naming her Cape Coral and Fort Myers dermatology centers “The Best” in 2014, 2015 and 2016.
Guido A. Minaya has a deep background working directly for Fortune 500 companies and more than 25 years of corporate learning and development management expertise. His company, Minaya Learning Global Solutions, helps clients define a path forward to accomplish their business and workforce performance improvement goals.
Brian Rist is sought out by local companies seeking insight, dedication to the community, and commitment to excellence. The Storm Smart president is actively involved with seven different non-profit associations and has engaged in numerous community initiatives over the company’s history.
Christopher Spiro, the owner of Spiro and Associates and 2016 Distinguished Entrepreneur of Southwest Florida, stated post-ceremony, “Being both a professional contemporary and personal friend of Brian’s, I have had the pleasure to watch his firm grow and give back to this great community of ours. This award is well deserved. Congratulations!”
The awards ceremony was made possible through the support of Hallmark Sponsor Markham, Norton, Mosteller, Wright, and Company, P.A. Other sponsors include The News-Press, Gulfshore Business, Southwest Florida Business Today, Florida Gulf Coast University Foundation, CONRIC PR & Marketing, Spiro and Associates, Spada Salon & Day Spa, Tamiami Florida Angel Funds, and Grasmeier Business Consulting.
The FSBDC at FGCU offers one-on-one, confidential, no-cost consulting and low-cost workshops for businesses throughout Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. The state designates the Florida SBDC Network as Florida’s principal provider of business assistance. The FSBDC at FGCU is a member of the Florida SBDC Network, a statewide service funded in part through cooperative agreements with the U.S. Small Business Administration, Defense Logistics Agency, State of Florida and other private and public partners, and is hosted by Florida Gulf Coast University and nationally accredited by the Association of SBDCs.