FORT MYERS, Fla. (May 5, 2021) – Florida Small Business Development Center (FSBDC) at Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) announced the winners of the 2021 Distinguished Entrepreneur of Southwest Florida Awards during a live-streamed virtual awards ceremony on Tuesday, May 4, 2021.
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, Bill Daubmann of MY Shower Door/D3 Glass; Innovator of the Year, Reema Bhatia of Stickboy Creative; and Advocate of the Year, Ryan Young of Rising Tide Explorers.
The awards recognize three outstanding Southwest Florida business owners for their success, innovative technology, and business advocacy.
“It’s so important to celebrate the resiliency of all our 2021 small business finalists. Small businesses form the backbone of our local economy, generate jobs and improve the quality of life for citizens.”, said Lois Knox, FSBDC Regional Director.
Bill Daubmann, 20-21 Distinguished Entrepreneur of SW Florida Award winner is the president of My Shower Door and D3 Glass. In September 2003, the Daubmann family opened their first frameless shower door showroom in Southwest Florida.
Since then, MY Shower Door has grown to 109 employees. MY Shower Door is the only provider of Frameless Glass Shower enclosures to manufacture, design, install, and warranty their proprietary products. With nine locations through Florida, and new store locations expected in 2021, My Shower Door is poised to be an industry leader. For the last nine consecutive years, readers of the Naples Daily News and The News-Press voted My Shower Door as “the best place to purchase shower doors.”
20-21 Innovator of the Year, Reema Bhatia, a graduate of Oxford University’s CIO Academy and Harvard University’s Business Analytics and Big Data Program grew up in Kuwait and India, is the Managing Partner of an award-winning custom sobware and app development firm, a highly recognized digital marketing agency, and a tech-driven business advisory firm, Stickboy Creative. As an active member of the Forbes Technology Council and the 2019 Technology Woman of the Year award recipient, she believes her contributions will empower companies, communities, and the next generation to embrace the use of technology as a force for good. She hopes to affect lasting and purpose-driven change through emergent technologies and encourage women and minorities to aspire to take on a STEM career.
The Advocate of the Year Awardee, Ryan Young, is the Founder & Lead Explorer at Rising Tide Explorers. the only company in Naples & Marco Island that offers guided excursions led by 100% active local biologists and science professionals. Ryan founded Rising Tide Explorers to help connect people to the most qualified guides in the region and provide them with the most unique adventures in Southwest Florida. Ryan has a master’s degree in Environmental Science from FGCU specializing in wetland ecology, water quality, species identification, biological indicators, restoration ecology, and more.
Previous winners of the awards include Norman Love of Norman Love Confections in 2012, Pam Oakes of Pam’s Motor City in 2013, Felix Lluberes of Position Logic in 2013, Gary K. Mart of Global Tech LED in 2015, Chris Spiro of Spiro and Associates in 2016, Dr. Aurora Badia of Florida Skin Center in 2017, Scoh Fischer of Scoh Fischer Enterprises in 2018, and Ryan Carter, owner of Scotlynn USA Division in 2019.
The award descriptions are as follows:
The “Distinguished Entrepreneur of the Year” is a business owner who demonstrates “innovative and cutting edge approaches to corporate culture, employee programs, and integrated new technologies.”
The “Small Business Advocate of the Year” is a business owner who “actively volunteers their time and resources throughout the Southwest Florida community to inspire, encourage and mentor other small business owners in helping them grow their business.”
The “Distinguished Innovator of the Year” is a business owner who has “adopted or created their own technologies or cutting-edge approaches resulting in accelerated business growth and profits.”
As part of National Small Business Week, the SBA annually recognizes small business owners, entrepreneurs, and advocates from all 50 states and U.S. territories. Clients and nominees of the Florida SBDC Network recognized as national, regional, state, and district-level award winners.
The event provides an opportunity for the local business community to celebrate their achievements. The Hallmark sponsor for the ninth year is Markham Norton Mosteller Wright & Co, P.A.
Other sponsors include: Fibh Third Bank, Suncoast Credit Union, Brennan Manna Diamond, Roetzel Law Firm, Scoh Fischer Enterprises, Path of Being, Spada Salon & Day Spa, Scotlynn, Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant, Fenix Beauty, and U.S. Small Business Administration.
About the Florida SBDC at FGCU:
The FSBDC at FGCU offers one-on-one, confidential, no-cost consulting and low-cost workshops for businesses throughout Lee, Collier, Charlohe, Hendry and Glades counties. The state designates the Florida SBDC Network as Florida’s principal provider of business assistance. The FSBDC at FGCU is a member of the Florida SBDC Network, a statewide service funded in part through cooperative agreements with the U.S. Small Business Administration, Defense Logistics Agency, State of Florida and other private and public partners, and is hosted by Florida Gulf Coast University and nationally accredited by the Association of SBDCs. For more information, please visit www.fsbdcswfl.org