“As a capstone to all their hard work, our graduates are eagerly looking forward to the presentation by Mr. Hodges,” says Elliott Rittenhouse, Goodwill’s Director of MicroEnterprise. “He’ll provide additional guidance drawn from his very successful career.”
SWFL MicroEnterprise is a training program to help emerging entrepreneurs start new ventures and grow small businesses. The fifteen graduates represent the program’s largest class since the program’s inception in 2010.
“This class is truly a unique group,” says Rittenhouse. “They are all aspiring entrepreneurs who are now on the road to success.”
In addition to honoring its graduates on Thursday, the program is honoring Hodges with its first-ever “Entrepreneurial Spirit” award.
Hodges is no stranger to entrepreneurship. In 1962, Hodges opened the Hodges Funeral Chapel on Tamiami Trail in Collier County. At the time, it was some distance from Naples, and there was concern as to whether or not people would drive the added distance to use his service. They did, and the business grew.
“You have to pay attention to your business,” Hodges says of his secret to success. “Don’t look at the clock.”
After a generous donation in 2007, Hodges University in North Naples and Fort Myers was named after Earl and his wife, Thelma Hodges. He is also the recipient of the Naples Outstanding Citizen Award, International College Humanitarian Award, and the Junior Achievement Leadership Award.
The graduation will take place at 7 p.m. at the Cape Coral Association of Realtors located at 918 S.E. 46th Lane, Cape Coral, 33904.
The SWFL MicroEnterprise program is a partnership of several organizations and provides training for individuals with low-to-moderate income and/or other disadvantages to start their own businesses. The program is administrated by Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida and is part of Goodwill’s mission to help people with disabilities and other disadvantages overcome their barriers to employment and independence.
To learn more about the SWFL MicroEnterprise program, please visit www.goodwillswfl.org/