Small Business Resource
Contact the Economic Development Office (EDO) if you are planning to operate a business in the City of Cape Coral and need assistance starting a new business, locating a business or expanding an existing business. In addition, the EDO creates and administers economic development incentives, including fee deferrals and cash payments.
A countywide resource that provides assistance and resource referrals to local, domestic and international businesses seeking to locate, expand, or start a new business. In addition, the EDO administers state and local incentives for job creation and training.
The Lee County Library System maintains extensive business resources, whether it is in printed form or linked via Internet to general reference, government information, or business and economic sources. In addition, the staff provides help with general business questions through the "Telephone Reference Desk".
SCORE is operated by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and provides free personalized counseling for businesses. This group works on every aspect of a business with counselors who earned their experience in the business world. This organization is also a source for SBA publications and literature.
The SBDC is a non-profit organization and is jointly funded through a partnership between the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and Florida Gulf Coast University’s College of Business. Services provided by the SBDC include one-on-one free business counseling sessions, business seminars, workshops, and tradeshows to provide education and ideas to positively impact the small business owner. The SBDC assists small business owners in obtaining contracts with the Department of Defense, other federal agencies, state/local government agencies, and participating prime contractors. In addition, they are the program administrator for the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program for Lee County.
The Center is operated by the Community Redevelopment Agency. The mission of the SWFEC is to be a “learning laboratory” for entrepreneurs wishing to start and operate a business. The SWFEC offers commercial/warehouse/light manufacturing space as well as professional office space at competitive market rates. The center nurtures its tenants, enabling growth through: space from which to operate their business; shared overhead costs; shared training facilities; training workshops; and the availability of one-on-one business counseling onsite. This combination of reasonably priced space and ongoing support provides the entrepreneur with the opportunity to successfully introduce their products and services into the marketplace.
Enterprise Florida devotes a special section on its website to addressing the needs of the small business community. This tool provides helpful resources on starting a small business in Florida.
The Florida Department of Financial Services offers assistance to businesses in finding health/liability insurance coverage for employees. The website includes a list of companies that offer health/liability insurance to Florida small businesses.
Florida Manufacturing Extension Partnership provides complete manufacturing extension services and direct assistance to Florida manufacturers on a statewide basis. Examples of services are: on-site problem solving of all types of your facility, plant layout, quality assurance, information systems, market development, environmental, access to workforce training and capital services. Modest fees are charged for these services. The FMEP also has local experts who can design more efficient operating methods for a business.
The Office of Supplier Diversity’s (OSD) function is to improve business and economic opportunities for Florida’s women-owned and minority-owned businesses. OSD’s efforts toward this goal can be categorized into four primary functions: Certification of Minority Business Enterprises, Advocacy and Outreach, and Matchmaking Activities.
Click on Vendor on the state’s website to find information on the purchasing process. It includes details on what Florida buys, the vendor registration and bid system, tips on doing business in Florida and an online manual for SPURS, the statewide purchasing system.
FedBizOpps.gov is the single government point-of-entry (GPE) for Federal government procurement opportunities over $25,000. Government buyers are able to publicize their business opportunities by posting information directly to FedBizOpps via the Internet. Through one portal - FedBizOpps (FBO) - commercial vendors seeking federal markets for their products and services can search, monitor and retrieve opportunities solicited by the entire Federal contracting community.
The SBA has designed an Internet site to provide easy on-line access too many of the most frequently asked questions about businesses and the federal government. It also provides interactive tools that can be used to find solutions to situations involving the environment, health and safety, and it permits companies to download many of the forms necessary for regulatory compliance.
Finding overseas markets, dealing with the initial complexities of exporting, and financing export sales are some of the challenges facing smaller firms seeking to participate in international trade. To help you meet these challenges, the SBA offers aid to current and potential small exporters through two major programs: business development assistance and financial assistance.
A virtual one-stop procurement shop for government contracting, making small business profiles available to federal, state, and local government contracting officers, as well as to private-sector businesses looking for contractors, subcontractors, teaming arrangements or partnerships. This database of information is on more than 205,000 small, disadvantaged, 8(a), HUBZone, women-owned, veteran-owned and service disabled veteran-owned businesses. A marketing tool, business profiles in the Pro-Net system include data from SBA’s files and other available databases, plus additional business and marketing information on individual firms. There is no cost to register or to use the system, and registration is open to all small firms.
Prime contractors use SUB-Net to post subcontracting opportunities. These may or may not be reserved for small business, and they may include either solicitation or other notices. Small businesses can review the website to identify opportunities in their areas of expertise. While the website is designed primarily as a place for large business to post solicitations and notices, it is also used by federal agencies, state and local governments, nonprofit organizations, colleges and universities, and even foreign governments for the same purpose.
Tech-net is an electronic gateway of technology information and resources for and about small high tech businesses. It is a search engine for researchers, scientists, state, federal and local government officials, a marketing tool for small firms and a potential “link” to investment opportunities for investors and other sources of capital. A search engine, Tech-Net is an internet based database of information containing Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) awards, Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) awards, Advanced Technology Program (ATP) awards, and Manufacturing Extension Partners (MEP) centers. It is a free service for those seeking small business partners, small business contractors and subcontractors, leading edge technology research, research partners, manufacturing centers and investment opportunities.
Bid lists, vendor/bidder applications and links to state purchasing
Responsible for licensing the alcoholic beverage and tobacco industries, for collection and auditing of taxes and fees paid by the licensees, and for enforcing the laws and regulations of the alcoholic beverage and tobacco industries
Provides applications for permits online, renewal of license, exam information and gets you up to speed on health and safety regulations
The DOR website includes information on the various types of taxes, forms and publications that are available for download
Provides information and links to web resources related to business
Provide workers’ compensation insurance to businesses that are unable to obtain coverage in the private marketplace.
A monthly compilation of economic information on prices, wages, production, business activity, purchasing power, credit, money and Federal finance. Data is available from April 1995 forward.
U. S. Government’s official web portal for comprehensive federal assistance
An IRS site for business assistance
Federal Government’s principal vital and health statistics agency. It includes healthcare industry trends as well as information about vital statistics and topics such as health insurance coverage.
A section called “Industry Research” links to key websites, associations and publications for a small number of major industries. There are also links to SIC and NAICS codes lists; the U.S. Census County Business Patterns, which has county level economic data by industry; the U.S. Economic Census; and BizStats, which has small business industry statistics.
U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis – Industry Economic Accounts
Prepares and publishes a variety of economic statistics.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics – Industry at a Glance
Consists of profiles of 12 industry super sectors such as construction, education and health services, financial activities, and wholesale and retail trade. Each profile contains a variety of facts about the super sector and links to additional statistics.
Includes time-series data covering employment, prices and living conditions, compensation and living conditions, and productivity and technology.
U.S. Census Bureau - Annual Survey of Manufacturers (ASM)
Provides sample estimates of statistics for all manufacturing establishments with one or more paid employee, including employment, payroll, supplemental labor costs, cost of materials consumed, operating expenses, value of shipments, value added by manufacturing, detailed capital expenditures, fuels and electric energy used, and inventories.
U.S. Census Bureau – Economic Census
Profiles American business every 5 years, from the national to the local level. The 2007 Economic Census covers nearly all of the U.S. economy – services-producing industries as well as goods-producing industries – in its basic collection of establishment statistics. Reports are based on 2007 NAICS categories.
Provides economic statistics by geography, sector (e.g., construction, retail trade and transportation), and frequency. The site includes the Economic Census, which profiles American business every five years, from the national to the local level. You’ll also find statistics on county business patterns, e-commerce, foreign trade, monthly wholesale and retail trade, and many other economic topics.
Provides information on wage laws and family leave
Assists small businesses with advice, financing and other business development help
Apply for MBE certification, download and print an application
An online tool designed to provide comprehensive business information and assistance to women
Online application for certification for government contracting opportunities
Offers recent news from more than 40 local business journals. You can search and view articles by topic, industry, or market location. When researching a particular company, this is a good place to view recent news articles about them.
CCH Business Owner’s Toolkit – Marketing Your Product
A free web-based resource designed to introduce the small business owner to some of the concepts and strategies that professional marketing experts in large companies use.
Has a vast array of resources on starting a business, buying a franchise, growing a home-based business, business opportunities, money and finance, sales and marketing, management, e-business, technology, and other topics.
Offers free brief information about companies, as well as news and industry information. For most companies, you can access a description of the company, sales revenues, and key personnel. To access the in-depth information (financials, executive profiles, competitors) you must purchase a subscription, which ranges in price depending on the type of organization and number of users.
Lists more than 14 million businesses and 200 million consumers (104 million households) in its database. You can create a customized list of businesses or residents based on dozens of categories such as geography, demographics, and sales figures. You can also purchase lists of new homeowners. Searching the database is free.
Offers a searchable database of more than 50,000 direct mail lists. You can select the type of list you want (e.g. e-mail, postal mail, or telephone) and search by keyword. Summary information is provided for each list, with the option to pay for a subscription for more information or to contact a list broker. You can also send a message requesting information or a quote directly to the list manager. In addition, the site features articles about direct marketing, web marketing, direct mail legal and regulatory issues, and other topics.
The largest provider of workers compensation, employee injury data and statistics in the nation.
The research arm of the nonprofit small business advocacy organization with more than 600,000 members. NFIB produces the National Small Business Poll, a series of regularly published business survey reports based on data collected from national sources.
From the Edward Lowe Foundation, features articles on topics such as business planning market definition, finances, legal issues, operations, human relations, and technology. Case studies are included.
SBA – Market and Outreach
Helpful information on marketing basics that provides information on all aspects of marketing, including market research and samples of small business employers.
Provides free access to U.S. corporate filings. All companies, foreign and domestic, are required to file registration statements, periodic reports, and other forms electronically through EDGAR. The website offers links to the complete list of filings available through EDGAR and provides instructions for searching the EDGAR database.
An industrial search engine that provides information on more than 650,000 manufacturers, suppliers, and service providers. You can search for product information by category or name; for example, glass bottles or fence posts. You can also search for company information by region for the entire United States and Canada, and for information by brand name. Other options include millions of CAD drawings, and a radius search from a specific location.