• Thu, Jun 11, 2020
  • Florida Gulf Coast University takes the lead on a big project: helping businesses prove they are ready to reopen.
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  • Article by Mark Gordon, published in Business Observer on June 3, 2020.

    Statistically speaking, at least 40% of businesses forced to close because of a disaster never reopen, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

    The dean of Florida Gulf Coast University’s Lutgert College of Business in Fort Myers, Westley doesn’t plan to sit idly by while that ominous nugget comes to fruition. Instead, he’s part of a group of FGCU leaders behind Restart SWFL, an initiative dedicated to helping businesses respond to the impact of COVID-19 on their operations, workforce, vendors and customers. “We want to give consumers a sense of confidence they can enter the marketplace again,” Westley says. “A lot of businesses are doing triage right now: ‘What can I do first? What do I need to do next?”

    The restart program officially launched in late May. Westley’s colleague, Ann Cary, dean of FGCU’s Marieb College of Health & Human Services, joined the business school dean at a press conference kickoff at Lutgert Hall. But the initiative actually dates back to a soft-launch in March with the creation of the Coronavirus Economic Impact Survey. The ongoing surveys, of some 1,000 Southwest Florida business executives, give FGCU a look at how the region is recovering over time, trends in consumer demand and business concerns moving forward.

    To learn more about Westley's restart program, click here

    Steve Niehaus, MBA, CBI
    [email protected]