Melanie Schmees, MBA, Director of Business and Economic Research
Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the legislation, often referred to as the Clean Waterways Act, on June 30. The measure incorporates several recommendations put forth by Blue-Green Algae Task Force and went into effect July 1.
The legislation, among other things, shifts the regulation of septic systems from the Department of Health to the Department of Environmental Protection. It also requires the Department of Environmental Protection to create rules to locate septic systems, which must include establishing setback distance to prevent groundwater and surface water contamination.
It also updates to stormwater regulations; establishes a real-time water quality monitoring program within the Department of Environmental Protection; and directs the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to collect data on how much fertilizer agricultural operations use.
The Greater Naples Chamber has identified water quality as one of its top public policy priorities and, as part of Southwest Florida Alliance of Chambers, advocated for the passage of the legislation during the 2020 Legislative Session.
The Southwest Florida Alliance of Chambers was formed following the 2018 blue-green algae and red tide crisis. The organization advocates at the local, state and federal levels to improve Southwest Florida’s quality of life and serves as a catalyst for positive change impacting business, environment and tourism.
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.