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The Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Program hosted at FGCU is geared towards facilitating veterans who work full time and have families, thus the program blends self-guided training with instructor facilitated training. FGCU’s Institute for Entrepreneurship offers three options to get involved with the program (and then continuous mentorship is offered) to accommodate veterans who are in different stages of their business ventures’ development including, Monthly Networking Events, Frequent Open Forum Workshops, and two cohorts of the Advanced Course. All veterans may, but are not required to, move through each phase of the program in order to attain a well-rounded, entrepreneurial education, a plan to move forward with their business ventures, and a chance to win seed funding during our Compassionate Shark Tank Pitch Competition.

Advanced Program

60 hours of in-class training held at one of our six participating organizations designed to prepare participants for all elements of entrepreneurship. For veterans with well-defined business ideas or early-stage companies. Acceptance required.



Discover Online Courses

Learn the basics of entrepreneurship at your own pace with our online curriculum. Perfect for veterans contemplating entrepreneurship. Open to all vets.

About the Instructors

Amy Andrews, MBA

Amy Andrews earned her Master’s in Business Administration from Florida Gulf Coast University in 2017. Amy currently serves as the Program Coordinator for Florida Gulf Coast University’s Institute for Entrepreneurship (IFE), FGCU’s Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Program, and is also an Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship.

Amy mentors students, community members, and veterans as they start their businesses, from problem identification and ideation to launching their businesses. Additionally, she volunteers her time mentoring and coaching participants of the high school CEO Academy start-up boot camp in partnership with Junior Achievement of SWFL

Eric Arseneau, Ph.D.

Eric is passionate about teaching others the value of an entrepreneurial mindset. He serves as the Associate Director of the Institute for Entrepreneurship at FGCU. This role includes responsibilities such as: developing and leading new programs created by the Institute, interacting with the Institute’s many stakeholders, and actively working with students on startup companies.

Dr. Arseneau has presented his research at numerous academic conferences, and is an active member of the Academy of Management. His research is focused on topics at the intersection of entrepreneurship and management, such as how entrepreneurs decide what, when, and how to delegate work to others.

His teaching experience includes the following courses: Family Business, Introduction to Entrepreneurship, and Entrepreneurship and Creativity.

Eric was previously an undergraduate student at FGCU, and also worked as a financial analyst for a medical billing company in Ft. Myers, FL. Some of his personal interests include learning about new technology, playing sports, and visiting the beach.

Sandra Kauanui, Ph.D.

Dr. Sandra Kauanui is the Director of the Institute for Entrepreneurship and Professor of Management and Entrepreneurship at Florida Gulf Coast University. Dr. Kauanui is serving as a member on the advisory board for the Junior Achievement of Southwest Florida and the Florida Small Business Development Center. Dr. Kauanui is the principle investigator for the Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Program at FGCU and created the curriculum for the Interdisciplinary Entrepreneurship Major & Minor at FGCU along with her team.

Dr. Kauanui received her doctorate in Organizational Behavior with a secondary degree in Entrepreneurship from The George Washington University and has an MBA from William & Mary University.  Dr. Kauanui joined Lutgert College of Business in September 2007. Prior to Dr. Kauanui’s current appointment, she was at the College of Business at California State Polytechnic University for eight years. When leaving the University in 2007, she was awarded Emeritus status. Before becoming an academic, Dr. Kauanui started and ran her own successful business for twenty years. The business, which employed up to forty employees, provided financial, strategic planning and accounting services to entrepreneurial firms.

Dr. Kauanui is an active researcher, keynote speaker and workshop presenter and has authored and co-authored over eighty publications in her academic career primarily in Entrepreneurship. She has been an invited guest speaker in the US, Canada, Europe, South Africa, Puerto Rico and Romania.

Scott Kelly

Scott Kelly is an entrepreneur, engineer, and mentor. He started his first business by innovating swimming pool accessibility with a team of engineering and business students while completing his junior year of Biomedical Engineering at Florida Gulf Coast University. This team went on to become the first team from FGCU and the first team as undergraduates to win the Florida Venture Forum Collegiate Business Pitch Competition in 2013.

After earning his degree, he began working as an engineer for a consortium of Michigan based manufacturers and chemical R&D companies. For two years, he designed products, managed engineering teams, commissioned US and overseas manufacturing, and completed several miscellaneous mechanical, electrical and structural engineering projects in Southwest Florida. During this time, Scott spent several hours per month mentoring at high school, university, and veteran entrepreneurship programs.

Currently working as the Coordinator for the FGCU Runway Program Student and Alumni Business Incubator for the Institute for Entrepreneurship, Scott mentors individuals as they start their businesses, from problem identification to launching a Minimum Viable Product. He is also involved in several personal business ventures, which allows him to stay current in the field of entrepreneurship. Additionally, he volunteers his time by mentoring and coaching participants of the Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Program and high school students of the iWill robotics program in Fort Myers, Florida.

Christopher Little

Chris is an Instructor in Entrepreneurship at Florida Gulf Coast University’s Institute for Entrepreneurship.  Chris joined FGCU from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University.  The Kelley School is the #1 Public Undergraduate US Business School, with over 7,000 undergraduates.  While at Kelley, Chris taught full time MBA and Undergraduate Courses in Entrepreneurship, Strategy and Business Planning.  He also taught in the Kelley Direct On-line MBA Program, as well as several Executive MBA courses, and served as Director of the MBA Consulting Academy. Chris joined Kelley after a highly successful career in the public and private sectors.  Chris holds a B.S. Engineering from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and a Masters’ Degree in International Economics, International Relations and Security Studies from the Nitze School of Advanced International Studies of the Johns Hopkins University in Washington, DC.

Chris also consults with early stage companies, primarily in the Life Science industry. His main client focus is Marketing Strategy, Business Planning, Fund Raising and Commercial Development and Operations.

Jason Lortie, Ph.D.

Dr. Jason Lortie earned his Ph.D. from Florida Atlantic University in 2016 and served as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Management at the University of Mississippi before coming to FGCU in 2017 to teach in the Management Department and Entrepreneurship program. His research focuses on social entrepreneurship as well as new venture funding. He has published his research in the Entrepreneurship and Regional Development, Venture Capital, and the Journal of Business Venturing Insights. He also has presented numerous academic conference presentations.

Dr. Lortie has had industry experience as the owner/operator of a LLC that operates as a holding company for 50+ web properties and generates revenue via buying, selling, and maintaining websites. He also has experience mentoring and consulting with numerous student and community based start-ups.

His entrepreneurial experience and research interests are translated to classroom where he teaches in the entrepreneurship degree program here at FGCU. Dr. Lortie is a member of the Academy of Management, the Southern Management Association, and USASBE.