2017-05-17 / Business News

Distinguished Entrepreneur of Southwest Florida awardees announced

The Florida Small Business Development Center at Florida Gulf Coast University announced the winners of the 2017 Distinguished Entrepreneur of Southwest Florida Awards at the annual awards dinner on 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 awardees include Distinguished Entrepreneur of SW Florida, Dr. Anais Aurora Badia, owner of Florida Skin Centers; Innovator of the Year, Guido A. Minaya, owner of Minaya Learning Global Solutions; and Advocate of the Year, Brian Rist, owner of Storm Smart.

An additional award presentation included the William O. Webb award, which 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 Lois Knox, FSBDC regional director.

Dr. Badia is a board certified dermatologist and the only pediatric dermatologist in Lee County. In 2001, Dr. Badia opened Florida Skin Center in Fort Myers. Since 2001, she has expanded her operations into Cape Coral and Lehigh Acres.

Mr. Minaya, CEO and chief learning officer of Minaya Learning Global Solutions, has a deep background working directly for Fortune 500 companies. He has over 25 years of corporate learning and development management expertise. Mr. Minaya’s company helps clients define a path forward to accomplish their business and workforce performance improvement goals. His education and experience are the driving force of his company’s success to innovate from a position of strength and knowledge.

Mr. Rist, president of Storm Smart, is sought out by local companies seeking insight, dedication to the community and commitment to excellence. He is actively engaged in seven different nonprofit associations and has engaged in numerous community initiatives over the company’s history, including Harry Chapin Food Bank Hunger Walk, Golisano

Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida and Lee County Public Schools Continuous Systematic Improvement.

Christopher Spiro, the owner of Spiro and Associates and 2016 Distinguished Entrepreneur award, said, “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.”

The FSBDC at FGCU offers oneon 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. ¦

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