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Moore About Business: New Cape Coral Economic and Business Development Officer has big plans to boost commercial development

Special to WGCU
Cape Coral
Construction of new buildings at the intersection of Pine Island Road and Del Prado Boulevard.

Cape Coral Economic and Business Development Officer, Sharon Woodberry, worked her way up the Economic Development department ladder for Youngstown, Ohio, starting as Development Officer in 1998 and capping her career there as Economic Development Director.

So how does Woodberry plan to increase commercial development in Cape Coral? She noted, “The first incentive I’m going to talk about is our Arts Incentive Program.”

This $250,000 grant supports a capital investment in the cultural arts and can be used towards purchasing inventory, equipment or re-financing debt.

The second incentive program is called Cape Collaborate. Woodberry explained: "It’s our investment in the future. It’s for small businesses that we feel have some growth opportunities, that will provide some jobs, give that foundation for those businesses to grow. I’ve only been here for two months but I know, there’s a lot of need for small businesses."

Qualified businesses have 5 to 50 employees, including businesses such as professional positions, health care or light manufacturing — offering both long-term and good income potential.

The third incentive, for companies with 10 or less employees and in some very specific types of industries, offers a zero-interest, 5-year forgivable loan for $5000 to $50,000.

The fourth program incentivizes companies to provide infrastructure supporting foundational development such as road improvements, water, sewer and telecommunications systems. The city supports this development by supporting the business itself, requiring a minimum capital investment of $500,000. The grant is for $50,000-$250,000.

The final grant program, designed to attract larger-scale private investment for mixed-use development, encourages commercial development while creating walkable communities. A $10M minimum investment is required.

Details will follow in the next several months. Woodberry noted, “These are just some of the tools we are looking at in the toolbox that we put together and that we are working on.”

Publisher of SWFL Business Today