Set on the scenic Caloosahatchee River in Southwest Florida, Lee County is known as the location of Edison-Ford Winter Estates, where Thomas Edison himself did some of his most innovative work in his on-site laboratory and botanical gardens.
Now, through a partnership between the Horizon Council, Horizon Foundation and the City of Fort Myers & Community Redevelopment Agency, Lee County also is the location where modern-day innovation is celebrated through the Edison Awards. Lee County is home to some of the most innovative companies in the United States, including several Edison Award winners.
In 2021, FGCU’s Dr. Sandra Kauanui accepted a Bronze Edison Award for Education – Dynamic Learning Platforms on behalf of the Daveler & Kauanui School of Entrepreneurship. Also in 2021, Arthrex, a Horizon Foundation member, earned an Edison Award. John Ciocca, a Florida Gulf Coast University entrepreneurship major, was among the 2021 Gold Edison Award winners for his product, youBelong Voice, an app that provides alternative augmentative communication to those with speech disabilities. Additionally, local students took part in the Innovation Panel and Community Day, and many Lee County businesses participated in panel discussions or as sponsors.
The next Edison Awards events will take place April 19 through 21 with a Gala on April 20 at the Luminary Hotel and Caloosa Sound Convention Center in the downtown Fort Myers River District.
This is the third year the event will be held in Fort Myers.
Experiencing a Storm of Innovation
Given the quick response and strong recovery of Southwest Florida following Hurricane Ian, Lee County will continue to be a spectacular place for the Edison Awards. The community’s resilience and innovative response to the storm has been nothing short of remarkable – and it will make Lee County a beacon as we focus on the sustainability opportunity we have to look at post-hurricane best practices for rebuilding our community. Thanks to swift action from government, local businesses and public-private partnerships, there has been a significant investment of resources for loans and business-recovery support. Many businesses quickly reopened or adapted their business model to continue their operations. Employees were retrained to serve in other capacities such as construction, recovery and repair roles. As a result, Lee County is recovering and continues to offer vistas and experiences that brighten and inspire innovative minds. Follow the recovery and discover resources for planning your trip to Lee County at www.VisitFortMyers.com.
Who Are These Innovators?
Support from Lee County’s private sector ensures a thriving business climate for Lee County. The Horizon Foundation, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) organization with the mission and purpose to support, foster and encourage the economic development and diversity of business interests in Lee County, Florida. The Foundation provides financial, advisory and other support for the Lee County Economic Development Office (EDO) and the Horizon Council as well as financial and other support to other organizations and entities that the Foundation determines will promote and complement the interests and mission of the Foundation, the EDO, and/or the Horizon Council. For more information visit www.leecountybusiness.com.
Known as the “City of Palms,” Fort Myers is a thriving destination on the Caloosahatchee rich in history, culture, commerce and nature. Since the early 1800s, settlers and visitors have sought out Fort Myers, most notably inventor Thomas A. Edison, who built his home, laboratory and botanical gardens between the river and McGregor Boulevard. With history at its center, downtown is an economic and government hub where restaurants and cultural attractions draw a multitude of visitors. Those who admire nature will discover a range of outdoor activities such as parks, trails and watersports. Learn more at www.cityftmyers.com.