Business Resources

Southwest Florida SCORE – Fort Myers & Lee County

Providing FREE Mentoring, Low Cost and Free Workshops and Other Resources to establish and manage a successful business in Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Bonita Springs, Lehigh Acres, LaBelle and surrounding areas in Lee and Hendry Counties.

Small Business Resource Network (SBRN), Southwest Florida Region,

The SBRN helps businesses succeed by connecting them with interested, experienced professionals, service providers and government agencies.

Southwest Florida Economic Development Resource

They focus on increasing the number of company expansions, providing business information and referrals to local companies and maintaining an early warning system for key business climate issues.  In addition they disseminate information and facilitate meetings with government agencies that can provide assistance to local businesses.

 Lee Entrepreneurs’ Assistance Resource Network (LEARN)

The Lee Entrepreneurs’ Assistance Resource Network (LEARN) provides outreach activities and services to entrepreneurs and businesses in Southwest Florida. Working collaboratively LEARN’s mission is to promote the establishment, retention, and expansion of businesses in Southwest Florida.

State Library of Florida
Visit the Department of State’s comprehensive website with additional resources for starting a business in Florida.

Florida Department of Revenue
File and pay state taxes with the state’s General Tax Administration Program.

Florida Department of State
Search corporate records, and register your business structure or company’s fictitious name with this agency.

U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
If you have employees or file certain types of tax returns, you may be required to register for an Employer Identification Number (EIN).

Florida City Websites
In addition to the state requirements addressed by this portal, business owners should be aware of local government requirements, especially local business taxes (occupational licenses), building permits and inspections, planning and zoning, and community and economic development opportunities.

Florida County Websites
Florida’s county governments require various licenses, permits and filings above and beyond state requirements, depending on the type of business you wish to open.

DBPR Business Brief
The DBPR Business Brief is a comprehensive guide to starting and running a business as told by Florida industry leaders.

Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO)
The DEO assists the Governor in advancing Florida’s economy by championing the state’s economic development vision and by administering state and federal programs and initiatives to help visitors, citizens, businesses, and communities.

Disaster Preparedness and Recovery
Protect your investment by preparing a disaster plan for your business. This website is sponsored by the Florida Division of Emergency Management.

Enterprise Florida (EFI)
EFI is a public-private partnership between Florida’s business and government leaders whose mission is to expand and diversify the state’s economy through job creation.  EFI’s minority and small business partners provide small and minority owned businesses with training, development and financing options.

Florida Association of Counties
Find out about public services and opportunities related to Florida counties and their governments.

Florida League of Cities
Find your municipality to discover information about local events and government requirements.

Florida Lottery
Enhance profits and client base by becoming a lottery retailer.

Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR)
Explore the different insurance options available for businesses in Florida.

Florida’s Small Business Development Center Network (FLSBDC)
State designated as Florida’s principal provider of small business assistance, the network provides no-cost, professional business consulting, in-person and on-demand training, and access to business research resources to help Florida businesses—no matter their stage of business—grow and succeed.

MyFloridaMarketplace (MFMP)
MFMP is the State of Florida’s online exchange for buyers and vendors.  If you would like to do business with state agencies in Florida, you will have to register with MFMP.

Office of Supplier Diversity
This office is a specialized team in the Florida Department of Management Services that helps improve opportunities for Florida businesses owned by women, veterans and minorities.

Opportunity Florida
Opportunity Florida is an economic development organization committed to growing the regional economy in Northwest Florida counties of Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Liberty, Wakulla and Washington.

Visit Florida
Visit Florida is the state’s official sales and marketing organization that promotes Florida tourism through sales, advertising, promotions, public relations and visitor services programs.

BusinessUSA
BusinessUSA is a federal website designed to make it easier for America’s small businesses and exporters to access government services to help them grow and hire.  This group also provides resources for minorities and veterans.

Minority Business Development Agency
This agency in the U.S. Department of Commerce provides opportunities to minority-owned businesses, increasing their global competitive advantage and their capabilities to create jobs.

Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE)
SCORE is a nonprofit organization that provides free business counseling and mentoring services to entrepreneurs and small business owners

Small Business Administration (SBA)
The SBA is a federal agency that counsels and assists small businesses in America with online training and comprehensive business plan tools.

Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) Program  
The SBIC program, which is regulated by the SBA, works with private investment funds to provide growth capital to small businesses in the U.S.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
This bureau in the U.S. Department of Labor is the principal federal agency responsible for measuring labor market activity, working conditions, and price changes in the economy. It is a great resource for nationwide, regional and statewide statistical information affecting business.

U.S. Department of Labor
This federal agency’s mission is to foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights. Its website is a great resource for understanding federal requirements for employers and employees.

New Employee Registration
Florida law requires employers to report new and re-hired employees to the Department of Revenue.

Employee Eligibility
Employers must verify the employment eligibility of newly hired employees by registering at the E-Verify website sponsored by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Posting of Required Notices
Employers are required to display certain posters in an easily-viewed area of the workplace to inform employees of their rights and employer responsibilities under federal and state labor laws.

Division of Vocational Rehabilitation
This is a division of the Florida Department of Education that helps people with disabilities find and maintain employment and enhance their independence.  Visit their website to take advantage of the resources they offer and see the benefits available to employers.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance
More information about worker’s compensation insurance can be found at the Florida Department of Financial Services, Division of Workers’ Compensation website.

Better Business Bureau – Florida Business Toolkit
This toolkit is a valuable resource to help Florida entrepreneurs start, grow and build trust for their business, provided by the West Florida branch of the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Explore their website to find out more about your local chapter and how accreditation can benefit your business.

Business Network International (BNI) America
BNI’s mission is to help members increase their business through a structured, positive and professional referral marketing program that enables them to develop long-term relationships with business professionals.

National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB)
The NFIB represents 325,000 small businesses in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., and is dedicated to leveling the playing field with Big Business, Big Government, and Big Labor in every key area – taxes, healthcare, regulations, and more.

Small Business Nation
This is a project started by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce designed to help small business owners start and grow their business.