About Economic Development
Economic Development seeks to improve the economic well-being and quality of life of the community through the creation and retention of jobs to provide a sustainable tax base for the provision of services. The City enhances regional activities by preparing areas for development, incentivizing redevelopment, and providing amenities and events that enrich the quality of life for people to live, work, play, and invest in Fort Myers. The primary economic development agency in Fort Myers is the Fort Myers Regional Partnership, Lee County’s Economic Development Office.
Useful mapping tool with information layers needed to locate property and buildings for development and redevelopment in the commercial and industrial areas of the City. The vacant property feature identifies vacant properties by various sizes, economic incentive areas, land use data, and physical features. A user’s guide is provided to assist first time users.
The one-stop online employment service that assists job seekers locate employment education, and training opportunities. For employers, Employ Florida Marketplace offers resources to find the perfect candidate, create job listings, review market trends, and more.
LoopNet is an interactive mapping program that provides enhanced economic development and site selection services to the business community. The tool speeds up and simplifies the process of finding the optimal location for a business in Lee County by providing access to a range of valuable information, allowing users to search for selected available commercial buildings and land as well as generate site-specific demographic and business analysis reports. Lee County Economic Development provides a commercial property search engine and an available property locator.
Shop Fort Myers is a new City program providing an interactive, on-line directory of businesses in Fort Myers. Participating businesses may offer special online promotions, job openings, business location maps, and product information through the website. The City encourages visitors and citizens to Shop Fort Myers to help support the local economy and small businesses. A user’s guide is provided to assist businesses learn more about the program and get started here.
Programs & Financial Incentives
Fort Myers understands that business development creates jobs, investment in our community, and adds to the quality of life enjoyed by our citizens and visitors. Incentives to promote economic growth are offered by the State, County, and City and include technical assistance, cash grants, tax credits and refunds, and tax exemptions.
Business Development and Redevelopment in the City of Fort Myers
Municipal services, programs, and facilities are used to enhance the business environment and develop a desirable City to live, work, play, and invest through 14 redevelopment districts, a business incubator, and 3 locally designated brownfield areas.
City of Fort Myers Incentives
Fort Myers Community Redevelopment Agency
SWFL Enterprise Center
Local Brownfield Program
The Fort Myers Regional Partnership administers the Fort Myers/Lee County Enterprise Zone program in coordination with the City of Fort Myers. The enterprise zone is a 10 square mile area with State and Local incentives to encourage business location and expansion. Bonus incentives are provided to businesses that hire residents of the Enterprise Zone.
Enterprise Zone Map
Enterprise Zone Program Brochure
State & Local Incentives
The Fort Myers Regional Partnership is the lead economic development agency in Lee County that works to attract new and diversified businesses resulting in high-wage, high-skilled jobs, retain and encourage expansion of existing businesses, and improve the overall business environment.
Fort Myers Regional Partnership Incentives
Industrial Development Authority
Enterprise Florida is the official economic development organization for the state of Florida and assists in locating a business, expanding an existing business, starting a new business, and exporting goods and services from Florida. Access to State incentive programs are available locally through the Fort Myers Regional Partnership.
Community Profile & Demographics
The following resources are available to assist in making sound business decisions to locate or expand businesses in Fort Myers
City of Fort Myers
Demographic information for the City is provided by the Community Development Department to assist developers and site selectors with specific data and mapping services through economic development GIS layers, demographic data, and consumer trend data.
Fort Myers Community Profile
Fort Myers Demographic Snapshot
Development Assistance Web GIS Tool
The Fort Myers Regional Partnership provides resources for site selectors investigating our area, a corporate planners considering relocation or a business owners seeking assistance to assist the continued growth and development of business through publications. Resources and statistical data available include:
Lee County Demographic Data
SizeUp Lee Demographic & Business Comparison Tool
Local workforce data is available through the EmployFlorida.com labor market statistics section. Information is available on the local labor market by location, industry, and occupation.
The U.S. Census Bureau serves as the leading source of quality data about the nation's people and economy. The American Fact Finder uses the American Community Survey to provide the most current data estimates at the city and county levels on demographics, employment, income, social environment, and more.
U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey
U.S. Census Bureau City & County Quick Facts
Employment & Workforce Development
Workforce development assists citizens achieve employment goals through development of job skills and employment assistance and providing assistance to employers to find the workforce needed to successfully operate. The primary workforce development service provider in Fort Myers is Southwest Florida Works.
Jobs Available with the City of Fort Myers – Identifies current employment opportunities with the City of Fort Myers.
Employ Florida Marketplace – State employment resource that provides job postings, links to employment assistance, and resources for employers to post jobs and seek employees.
One-Stop Career Center – The Lee County location for the SWFL Works One-Stop Career Center is located in Fort Myers off of Colonial Boulevard at 4150 Ford Street Extension. SWFL Works staff at the center provides a variety of services to meet job training and employment services needs for employers and job seekers.
SWFL Works uses Federal funding to provide employment and training services for employers in the following program areas;
• Employed Worker Training
• On-the-Job Training
• Work Opportunity Tax Credit
• Job Fairs and Resume Building
• Applicant Screening and Interview Services
Residents seeking employment, seeking to enhance skills needed for growth industries, or needing assistance in returning to the workforce are provided assistance at SWFL Works or visit the One-Stop Career Center at 4150 Ford Street Extension to speak with an employment counselor.
Tourism, Sports & Healthcare
World class beaches, professional and amateur athletics, and health services are good reasons to visit the Fort Myers area. Explore why Fort Myers is the perfect place to live, work, and play.
The Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau (VCB) serves to market the entire area globally, facilitate travel to the area, and preserve and protect the area's unique attributes for the continual benefit of its residents and the travel and tourism industry. Fort Myers lures visitors away from the beaches to explore the winter estates of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford, an international award winning historic downtown, shopping districts, restaurants, and River District weddings and events.
The Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel
VCB Performance Dashboard
Edison-Ford Winter Estates
Downtown Business Map
Downtown Parking Guide
Shop Fort Myers
SWFL Attractions Association
SWFL Welcome Guide Interactive Map
Sports & Recreation
From baseball diamonds to ice rinks and golf courses to open water, professional and amateur athletic organizations, visitors, and residents know that Fort Myers offers exceptional customer service and venues for year-round active lifestyles. The Lee County Sports Authority is the dedicated sports development agency to attract and retain sporting activities and events to the area - watch video.
Lee County Sports Organizing Committee
Fort Myers Parks & Recreation
Lee County Parks & Recreation
Great Calusa Blueway
City of Palms Park
Jet Blue Park – Red Sox Spring Training Facility
Hammonds Stadium – Minnesota Twins Spring Training Facility
Fort Myers Miracle – Minor League Baseball
Residents and visitors to Fort Myers benefit from the presence of an active and talented healthcare industry. Lee Memorial Health System is the lead public healthcare provider in Lee County providing 1,633 beds, 5 hospital facilities and a staff of 1,130 physicians and 9,500 total employees. The favorable business environment, customer base, and climate attract health industry businesses and health service providers to Fort Myers.
Lee Memorial Health System
Health & Medical Services Cluster
Special Events, Arts, Film & Entrepreneurs
Fort Myers recognizes that the Arts represent business that reflects the cultural character and diversity of the community. The historic downtown and Caloosahatchee River are stunning backdrops for special events, conferences, and film sets. Special events highlight the rich history, innovation, diversity, and affinity to culture of Fort Myers and attract visitors into the city to experience the restaurants and shopping opportunities.
Few communities support special events in number or scale as Fort Myers from operating the 42,000 sq. ft. of exhibit and event space at Harborside Event Center, promoting special events in Centennial Park, to providing special event funding and permitting to a wide-range of events throughout the City.
Harborside Event Center
River District Alliance – Downtown Events
Fort Myers Special Event Grant
Special Event Listing - coming soon
Special Event Permitting – Recreation Division
Art and Film
If culture builds Florida communities, then the Arts represent the cornerstone of Fort Myers. The expression of the arts takes all forms from organizations that promote the arts, performing art venues, art galleries, special art events, art education, City art grants, film locations and public art.
Lee County Alliance for the Arts
2010 Economic Impact Report for Non-Profit Arts in Lee County
Film Fort Myers
Lee County VCB – Film Office
Arts and Attractions Grant
Art Walk – Monthly Downtown Event
ArtFest – Annual Riverfront Event
Music Walk – Monthly Downtown Event
City of Fort Myers Art Grants - coming soon
SWFL Community Foundation – Arts and Attractions Grant
If you can be creative anywhere… why be anywhere else? The Fort Myers area provides the technological infrastructure, campus settings, industrial spaces, and business professionals to grow your next business venture. Incubator opportunities at the SWFL Enterprise Center, small business assistance at the FGCU Small Business Development Center, networking through the Chamber of Commerce and SCORE, and lending programs through the Fort Myers Regional Partnership and U.S. Small Business Administration provide opportunities for business to grow local.
Southwest Florida Enterprise Center
Steps to Start a Business
Commercial Space Checklist
Small Business Development Center
Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce
Entrepreneurship Concentration at FGCU
Quality of Life, Education & Infrastructure
Fort Myers provides amenities and events that enrich the quality of life for people to live, work, play, and invest. Education opportunities exist to develop the local workforce and raise families in the community. Fort Myers is a full-service municipality with an infrastructure that allows the historically preserved hub of Southwest Florida to serve as the logistical base for business and culture.
Quality of Life
The City of Fort Myers understands that successful business requires more than good locations and financial opportunity. Business depends on a high quality of life that provides for cultural venues, a clean environment, leisure activities, and housing options for employees and residents.
Historic & Cultural Sites GIS Map coming soon!
Parks & Recreation
Fort Myers is aptly named the City of Palms as a repeat Tree City USA, horticultural clubs, several farmers markets, and over 33 parks in the City. Designated as a Playful City USA, the City offers a wide range of recreation programs and facilities. Two City golf courses, fishing piers, and waterfront community provide alternatives to boardrooms for business meetings.
The beauty of the natural environment provides the perfect setting for sailing, kayaking, fishing, watching wildlife, or visiting nearby beaches. The Riverfront Water Basin and the Billy’s Creek Preserve facilities join programs for recycling, stormwater, re-use water, and green building to confirm the ongoing commitment of Fort Myers as an environmental steward.
Museums & Culture
Cultural and historic opportunities abound in Fort Myers representing the civic nature, community spirit, and diversity of its residents.
The Fort Myers Yacht Basin provides a safe berth on the Caloosahatchee River and provides free daily dockage to visit downtown.
From historic downtown boutique shops, restaurants, and nightlife to traditional shopping opportunities of Edison Mall, Royal Palm Square, and the Forum, Fort Myers can provide for all your shopping needs and environments.
Shop Fort Myers
Downtown Business Map
Downtown Parking Guide
From urban, waterfront high-rise condos to early 20th Century Spanish Colonial homes, Fort Myers has a diversity of housing options and price points for multi-family and new construction single-family homes.
REALTOR Association of Greater Fort Myers and the Beach
Fort Myers is served K-12 education by the Lee County School District, the 9th largest district in Florida and among the 50 largest school systems in the United States. Fort Myers High School is regularly identified as a national top 100 best high schools and Dunbar High School a STEM magnet school of merit and the first Microsoft Certified High School. Higher education needs are met by Florida Gulf Coast University and Edison State College. Seven private college campuses and 33 private K-12 schools augment the public education system in Lee County. The Fort Myers Regional Partnership provides an Education Fact Book to assist companies.
Florida Gulf Coast University
Edison State College
Lee County Public Schools
Centrally located between Miami and Tampa on Interstate 75, Fort Myers is the logistics hub for transportation and digital infrastructure for Southwest Florida. Business can move freight and personnel by air, ground, rail, boat, and digital data to the world market. As a full-service City, infrastructure is available to meet the needs of developing businesses. The Fort Myers Regional Partnership provides an Infrastructure Fact Book to assist companies.
Southwest Florida International Airport
Page Field General Aviation Airport
Seminole Gulf Railway
Florida Power & Light
Fort Myers Utilities – Water, Sewer, Re-use, and Solid Waste.
TECO Peoples Gas
The Purchasing & Contracts Administration Division should be your first point of contact to conduct business with the City. The Division ensures that the City receives the best value for the services, materials, supplies and equipment needed to operate the City.
The Purchasing Process: How the City Buys – Useful information on the processes and rules related to City purchasing.
Becoming a City Vendor – Access to local vendor policies and application required to conduct business with the City. The City has a local vendor preference of 5% for City businesses and 3% for County businesses.
Minority Business Enterprise Program – The City values diversity and the participation of all groups and persons in the local economy. Minority owned business resources and registry certification are available at the Florida Office of Supplier Diversity.
Helpful Purchasing Resources – Helpful links to additional national, state and local purchasing resources.
City Property Inquiries – The acquisition, purchase, and lease of City properties and buildings are administered by the Housing & Real Estate Division of the Community Development Department.
Doing Business in Fort Myers
The Community Development Department is the gateway to developing and operating a business in Fort Myers. City staff takes pride in providing exemplary customer service through timely reviews, knowledgeable permit staff, and inspections and licensing services geared to ensure a safe, compliant business environment for your employees and customers.
Pay Fees – Pay your Business Tax, Permit Fees & Code Fees
Permitting Services – Information on the planning, permitting, inspections and licensing processes contact the Building, Permitting, and Inspections Division. The City offers complimentary pre-application meetings either on-site or in the office to best meet the needs of the prospective project. The City offers the on-line iView program to check the status of existing permits and business tax receipts submitted to the City.
How to Start a Business – Assistance provided by to guide prospective business owners and entrepreneurs start a business in the City and Lee County.
Business Tax Receipts – The Planning Division of the Community Development Department administers the business tax process for the City. Obtaining a business tax receipt and inspection is the final step in opening a business.
Shop Fort Myers – A new City program providing an interactive, on-line directory of businesses in the City of Fort Myers. Participating businesses may offer special online promotions, job openings, maps, and product information through the website. Shop Fort Myers to help support the local economy and small businesses that give back to the community throughout the year. Existing businesses needing assistance can access the Shop Fort Myers User Guide for reference.
Becoming Part of Fort Myers
As the historic transportation hub, oldest city, and governmental seat, Fort Myers is known internationally as the business center of Southwest Florida. Doing business in Fort Myers provides companies a marketing advantage.
Comparative Service Analysis
City residency and operating a business with a Fort Myers address is a competitive advantage and offers enhanced service levels. Properties near the City can become part of Fort Myers by requesting annexation into the City. Submit a completed annexation inquiry form to learn more about the process and receive a no-cost service analysis and pre-application consultation.