The second annual Naples Children’s Business Fair welcomed an impressive 1,200 attendees to peruse and shop young entrepreneurs’ businesses on Saturday, Jan. 11 at Gulf Coast High School. The fair had participation of 123 youth-run businesses with 211 student participants.
Presented by Barron Collier Companies, the Greater Naples Chamber’s Leadership Collier Foundation hosted the fair in partnership with Collier County Public Schools to give students the experience of entrepreneurship firsthand and sell their original products and services to the public.
“This event is a great opportunity for youth in our community to get early exposure to the kinds of experience many business professionals wish they had had growing up,” said Nikkie Dvorchak, Naples Chamber vice president of events and development. “It was great to see students take their business plans and execute them from start to finish. We were blown away by the quality of their products, marketing, displays and salesmanship. We are already looking forward to how this event will continue to grow next year.”
Throughout the day, attendees had the chance to vote for the “most original business idea,” “highest business potential,” and “most creative business.” Local leaders served as judges and awards were presented in five age groups, with one student awarded the “Sunshine Award” –which granted this year’s winner, Genevieve’s Art, a spot to display and sell her product in a local Sunshine Ace Hardware store.
First place winners also won the opportunity to spend the day with Barron Collier Companies CEO Blake Gable visiting different industries in Collier County and learn what it takes to run a successful business.
Most Original Business: Storm Pet Toys
Benjamin Peterson, Max Varga, Jack Johnson, Macauley Ronninger
Highest Business Potential: VMC Designs
Most Creative: Bree Artiste
Sunshine Award: Genevieve’s Art
Age 6-7 Winners:
1st Place: Taralyn’s Treasures
2nd Place: Emma’s Sweet Art
3rd Place: Boo-Boo Buddies
Dawson Winge, Logan Grove, Janel Elwell
Age 8-10 Winners:
1st Place: John’s Woodworking
2nd Place: Tuti’s Terrific Treasures
3rd Place: S3 Creations
Ella Seidner, Mac Seidner, Devyn Seidner
Age 13-14 Winners:
1st Place – Colony Magic
2nd Place –Water Pros
3rd Place – Ready Cement Go!
Age 11-12 Winners:
1st Place: Stache Your Slime
2nd Place: Jumba’s Cotton Candy
3rd Place: Olivia’s Creation Station
Age 15-17 Winners:
1st Place: Nagen Bakery
2nd Place: Jame’s LeSage Photography
3rd Place: ABC Boba Tea
The Naples Chamber’s Leadership Collier Foundation will work with participants post-event to continue their professional growth, connect them with business leaders and provide support on their entrepreneurial journey.
For more information on the Naples Children’s Business Fair, visit www.napleschamber.org/cbf.
The event was sponsored by Barron Collier Companies, Sunshine Ace Hardware, Arthrex, Naples Daily News, First Florida Integrity Bank, ACI Worldwide, Neapolitan Family, Keiser University, Wintrust Banking Center, Brown & Brown Insurance, Fieldr, Beasley Media, Sugar Shack and Florida Weekly.
The Greater Naples Chamber announced today that Vi at Bentley Village, a continuing care retirement community, is the organization’s newest Legacy Leader. Legacy Leaders serve as corporate underwriters to the overall mission of the Greater Naples Chamber.
“Vi at Bentley Village is thrilled to enhance its affiliation with the Greater Naples and become a Legacy Leader investor,” said Joe Chambers executive sales director, Vi at Bentley Village. “We hope to become more involved in the local community, and to help the chamber and other Legacy Leaders highlight the benefits of living, working and expanding businesses to Collier County.”
Legacy Leaders are considered an influential group of key stakeholders in Collier County, who play a key role in the Chamber’s public policy involvement, economic development efforts and civic engagement. Through their contributions, the Chamber is equipped to educate the public on legislative issues, be a voice for business and strengthen informal ties among government, business and non-profit leaders to spark greater trust, civility and progressive cooperation.
“The decision by Vi at Bentley Village to become a Legacy Leader demonstrates their commitment to help shape and mold our community’s future,” said Michael Dalby, president and CEO of the Greater Naples Chamber.
In addition to Vi at Bentley Village, the Chamber’s Investors include: Arthrex, Collier Enterprises, ACI Worldwide Inc., Bank of America, Barron Collier Companies, CenturyLink, David Lawrence Center, Fifth Third Bank, First Florida Integrity Bank, Gallagher Lutgert Insurance, Lutgert Companies & Premier Sotheby’s, Golisano Children’s Hospital of SWFL, Healthcare Network of SWFL, Hilton Naples, IBERIABANK, Moorings Park, Naples Daily News, NCH Healthcare System, Inc., Stock Development, TECO People’s Gas, BUILD, LLC, Cohen & Grigsby, DeAngelis Diamond, Florida Power & Light, GATES Construction, Grant, Fridkin Pearson, P.A., Hahn Loser & Parks, LLP, Henderson, Franklin, Starnes & Holt, P.A., John R Wood Properties, Lake Michigan Credit Union, London Bay Homes and The Arlington.
Fellowship Provided State and Local Chambers with Opportunities to Engage Nationally on Critical Education and Workforce Issues
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation announced Alex Breault, director of work-based learning of the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce graduated from its premier business leadership program. The inaugural Business Leads Fellowship Program trained and equipped leaders from state and local chambers of commerce with resources, access to experts, and a network of peers to build their capacity to address the most pressing education and workforce challenges.
“It was an honor to participate in this program with so many talented chamber professionals from around the country,” said Breault. “This experience has given me the tools and knowledge to better understand our workforce development opportunities.”
“As clearly displayed throughout this program, state and local leaders know better than anyone the critical link between education and economic development,” says Cheryl Oldham, senior vice president of the Center for Education and Workforce. “Not only did the Fellows gain a network of peers and experts in the field, the program is designed to help these leaders find opportunities to develop initiatives that will continue to advance the growth of their local economy and put education policy into practice.”
Following a competitive application and selection process, Breault was selected along with 32 other state and local chamber executives to participate in the second cohort. The four-month program covered the entire talent pipeline, including early childhood education, K-12, higher education, and workforce development.
Upon completion, Business Leads Fellows join the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s dedicated network of 200 chambers of commerce and statewide associations from around the nation who regularly engage on education and workforce initiatives.
Chamber Membership Intern
Senior at Ave Maria University
Currently studying history with a minor in communications.
What projects did you work on during your internship?
During my six month internship I updated member information, such as adding logos and revising employee information, sent out letters congratulating members on ribbon cuttings or important milestones and supported the Chamber team whenever possible. I also enjoyed working at the annual Chamber Classic Golf Tournament, where I was able to network with some incredible people, as well as attending new member meetings where I saw first hand how the chamber assists business owners and encourages networking with one another.
What surprised you the most during your internship at the Chamber?
I was most surprised by the Chamber’s operations during my internship. Before applying for the position, I had no clue what a Chamber of Commerce was and how it worked. Upon doing research and being a part of the membership team, I was amazed how close businesses worked with the Chamber and how they interacted with one another to build up the business world of the Greater Naples area.
What’s your favorite memory from your internship?
My favorite memory from the internship would have to be assisting in the Chamber Classic Golf Tournament. I was able to interact with many different members and connect with past Florida Senator Garrett Richter. And witness a hole in one!
Do you have advice for students applying to or starting internships?
My advice for students who are applying to internships would be to make sure that you do research on the business or organization you are applying to in order to know what skills or knowledge you can showcase in your future projects. When applying don’t be afraid to possibly go out of your field of study, though being a history major, I have picked up skills and knowledge on how a nonprofit operates and can apply that knowledge later in my career.
For those who are starting an internship, be sure to walk in with a positive attitude and the determination for success. Your internship experience will be based on your attitude towards the work you do and how well you do it.
Now that I have finished my internship, I’m looking to finish up my senior year and after graduation begin the process of commissioning as an officer in the United States Air Force. It’s been a dream of mine since I was a kid to be a pilot and I feel I have what it takes to take on the challenge.
ALEX BREAULT, DIRECTOR OF WORK-BASED LEARNING
With summer quickly approaching, students across the region are starting to sketch out plans for their time off from school. For some, that may mean a part-time job or volunteering. For others, it’s the perfect opportunity to explore an internship.
Volunteer hours are now a graduation requirement at many high schools and colleges. Students try to complete these hours early in their education usually with an organization they are passionate about, but they’re often faced with a question of how they can earn money, while also gaining the valuable experience necessary to excel in their chosen field.
The solution: Internships. As more and more employers throughout Southwest Florida offer paid internships, students can get hand-on experience in their area of interest while earning a small income.
Alex Breault, director of Work-Based Learning for The Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce (Photo: Photo provided)
Internships have a long-term impact on a student’s future. Traditional part-time, summer jobs are beneficial in a wide variety of ways, including teaching students the necessary soft skills – from arriving on time to customer service – that are vital to their future success. But they aren’t always in a student’s desired area of professional growth.
Traditional internships provide students with access to training that will hone their skills, mentors who will encourage their success, and opportunities that will open their eyes to what the future can hold.
While the number of internships is growing, not every student can spend a summer working in their desired field. That means employers across all industries should take steps to create positions that emulate the internship experience. At the Leadership Collier Foundation, an affiliate of the Naples Chamber, we work with local businesses and schools to create the right opportunities for our businesses and future talent.
When our team talks to employers about intern opportunities, we encourage them to consider hiring a student beginning at minimum wage. Although unpaid internships are beneficial to students who receive school credit, employers who can offer paid internships are quickly able to see it was worth the investment. Offering paid internships opens the door to a more diverse pool of interns, allows interns to feel like they are part of the team, and leads to a more productive and positive experience. As students begin their hunt for a summer job, we encourage local businesses to look at ways they can incorporate work-based learning into their offerings.Students who have traditional, part-time jobs – such as working in the mall or at a restaurant – should be able to have the same education-based experience as an intern. Employers can do that by providing student employees with a variety of learning opportunities, from providing an inside look at operations and the opportunity to work in other departments to continued education and constructive feedback.
And traditional internships aren’t always the answer. Employers can consider adding micro-internships to their host of opportunities, opening the door to the next generation of employees. These are short-term, paid professional assignments that can be completed by an entry-level new hire, with minimal guidance or onboarding. Micro-internship projects can be anything from social media monitoring, to data clean up or content creation. Assignments can range from five to 40 hours of work, typically pay between $200 and $600 per project, and can be completed remotely. This type of internship is attractive to employers who either aren’t ready to host an intern or don’t have the resources to hire a part-time intern.
“I believe that the best real-work experience a student can have is through an internship,” said Denise Murphy, general manager at the The Players Club & Spa. “Internships help students develop and learn professional skills that promote growth and development. As an employer, it gives us the opportunity to mentor, teach and guide our interns in their learning process. The best part is we get to nurture their skillset and ideally bring them on as a paid full-time employee.”
Our economy thrives when we provide students with educational and fulfilling work experiences. These opportunities expose students to high-skill, high-wage jobs available in Southwest Florida and help grow the next generation of community leaders.
For more information about work-based learning, visit www.NaplesChamber.org/CollierLeads.
Original Story shared in Naples Daily News
Dave Weston, the chief operating officer at Naples Lumber & Supply, is the 2019 recipient of the Naples Chamber Chairman’s Award. Weston is being honored for his dedication to community betterment and continued support of the Chamber. He will be recognized at the Chamber’s Annual Meeting on Thursday, May 16 at The Ritz Carlton Golf Resort, Naples.
The Chairman’s Award is a chance for the Chamber’s chairman to recognize an individual who has helped the organization reach its goal and fulfill the mission of making Collier County the best place in America to live, work and visit. The recipient is selected by the chairman of the Naples Chamber Board of Directors, in consultation with the president and CEO.
Weston has a long and distinguished career in Collier County. He has served as the chief operating officer at Naples Lumber & Supply since 2007, where he oversees a variety of day-to-day activities and coordinates long-range planning. Prior to joining Naples Lumber, Weston spent more than two decades with Coastal Engineering Consultants.
“I was surprised and humbled by this recognition,” said Weston. “There are so many people working so hard on so many important initiatives through the Chamber that are equally, if not more, deserving.”
Weston, a 1990 graduate of Leadership Collier, served as the chairman of the Naples Chamber Board of Directors from 2001 to 2002. He served on the board from 1997 until 2004, and currently serves as an honorary director.
Weston was chosen because of his continued dedication to community betterment. He played a pivotal role in the Chamber’s involvement in Collier County’s 2018 infrastructure sales surtax campaign, serving as treasurer of the One Collier political committee. In that role, Weston spearheaded the fundraising efforts and served as a key campaign advisor. Collier County voters approved the seven-year, one-cent infrastructure sales tax 51 percent to 49 percent.
“We are honored to present this award to Dave Weston. His commitment to the Chamber and service to the community has had an everlasting impact,” said Bill Barker, president of Naples Daily News and The News Press and Southeast regional president for the USA Today Network and LocalIQ. “His humble leadership over the past several decades is an example for current and future Collier County leaders. We can’t thank Dave enough for his support.”
In addition to his work with the Chamber, Weston has served as the chairman of the Neighborhood Health Clinic Board of Directors; chairman of the Florida Building Materials Association; the vice president of the Collier Building Industry Association; and a member of the International College (Hodges University) President’s Council.
The Chamber’s Annual meeting celebrates the organization’s accomplishments with recognitions, honors and a keynote address. To learn more about the 2019 Annual Meeting visit www.NaplesChamber.org/annualmeeting
We like to think big at the Naples Chamber. On March 12 our team members CEO and President Michael Dalby, Director of Government Relations Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster, and former state Sen. Garrett Richter went to Tallahassee to speak with state leaders about local issues such as water quality, tourism and economic opportunity.
Our roles as Collier County community members does not stop at the polls. By sharing your opinions and ideas with your representatives and senators in Tallahassee, you help them decide what to do about the issues and pending legislation that affect us all. They value your suggestions and encourage you to express them. Click here for tips on how you can effectively communicate with your legislator on issues that are important to you.
Do you know who your legislator is? Visit the Naples Chamber’s Advocacy Action Center to find your legislator, track legislation and sign up for action alerts.
Florida Senate Majority Leader Kathleen Passidomo, Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster, Michael Dalby and former state Sen. Garrett Richter during a trip to the Florida Capitol.
Agriculture Commissioner Nikkie Fried, Michael Dalby, Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster and former state Sen. Garrett Richter.
Rep. Ana Maria Rodriguez with former state Sen. Garrett Richter, Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster and Michael Dalby.
CFO Jimmy Patronis, former state Sen. Garrett Richter, Michael Dalby and Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster
Former state Sen. Garrett Richter, Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster and Michael Dalby during a trip to the Florida Capitol.
Join us Tuesday, March 12 at the Vineyards Country Club from 4 -7 p.m. for our bi-annual Member Showcase!
The Naples Chamber Member Showcase is the perfect gathering of local community members. Under one roof you'll have industry experts that promote innovation and collaboration. We are excited to offer the opportunity for you to connect with others and find a potential new client.
Here are five benefits from attending the Member Showcase:
Enjoy delicious food, refreshing beverages and enjoy strolling through the booths. Don't forget to bring your business cards for our exciting door prize drawings.
The Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce that Melanie Schmees has joined the Naples Chamber as the new director of business & economic research. She will focus on supporting local business development efforts through economic development initiatives, business retention and expansion, and economic research and analysis.
“We are very thrilled to welcome Melanie to our team,” said Michael Dalby, president and CEO of the Naples Chamber. “She will bring a fresh approach to business development in our area. Her extensive background in data and research will prove beneficial to our entire community.”
Melanie grew up in Wellington, FL and earned her Bachelors degree in finance and economics from Florida Gulf Coast University.
“I am excited to join the Chamber and contribute to our mission of making Collier County the best place in America to live, work and visit,” said Schmees. “Through research and community engagement we can identify opportunities for growth that will benefit everyone."
Prior to joining the Naples Chamber, Schmees handled compensation valuation at Healthcare Appraisers. Previously, she conducted economic research at the Lee County Economic Development Office.
Author: Bethany Sawyer, Director of Membership
For more than 70 years, The Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce has been committed to community and business leadership in Collier County. We are grateful to have more than 1,200 businesses representing over 50,000 employees who say “yes” to investing in the Chamber. When you become a member, you are joining into a collective effort to enhance your organization and improve the business climate in Collier County.
Chamber members are a blend of businesses ranging from small to large, with most members employing under 20 staff. We work to keep our business leaders informed of important issues and trends within the community, we are a resource for you. Our staff helps to ensure that our community has a sturdy base of high-value careers, a skilled and prepared workforce and that existing and relocating businesses have the resources grow and thrive in Collier County. The Naples Chamber is focused on enhancing our local workforce training and development efforts. By fostering relationships with community leaders and growing public and private partnerships, we are helping to grow and expand our local workforce.
Research shows that when consumers know that a small business is a member of their local chamber of commerce, they are 44 percent more likely to think favorably of it and 63 percent more likely to purchase goods or services from that company in the future.
“Over the years, I have worked for many different banks in the Naples market. The one constant I can always count on for great business contacts and long-term relationships in the community is The Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce,” says John Coffey, vice president and commercial loan manager for Southwest Florida for Capital Bank. “As a 30-plus year Chamber member, I can attest to the many opportunities that have introduced me to the business movers and shakers in the Naples market, some of them becoming long term excellent customers. The Chamber has provided me with a wide spread knowledge of the Naples business culture as a result of networking, volunteer, committee and ambassador involvement. It would be nearly impossible to meet all the diverse business people I have had the pleasure to interact with through any other organization.”
The Chamber is here to empower our businesses and professionals. Through events and strategic communication, we work to educate and engage our business leaders and have thoughtful discussions about what we wish for the future of our community. Our dedication to building a broad-based network of community leaders continues through the Leadership Collier Foundation (LCF), an affiliate of the Chamber. Graduates of LCF programs use their knowledge and expertise to build alliances, foster goodwill and civic trusteeship that strengthen our community. With thousands of alumni, we recognize this opportunity to give back to Collier County and engage our future talent.
Chambers of commerce are a gathering place for people, ideas and solutions and that is why we are proud to be The Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce, ensuring our Collier County remains the best place to live, work and visit.
Let us help connect, promote & support you. Thank you for saying YES to our community.
To learn more visit www.napleschamber.org/membership.