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"I came here and built a company:" How FGCU is encouraging young entrepreneurs

FGCU student creates the Bite Belt, which can make sure your fishing gear can travel with you in one piece.
Posted at 10:38 PM, Mar 25, 2024

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Thomas Sear, an FGCU student, has many long days out on the water with his friends.

He's a part of the university’s runway program. It helps entrepreneurial students start successful businesses.

Sear says, one thing has always been in the way of transporting his fishing rods without damaging them, until now.

"I created a rod holder to transport fishing rods safely in truck beds," he said.

After some market research he found many anglers create makeshift rod holders. This is what led him to offer a solution called the Bite Belt.

"I came here and built a company," FGCU grows entrepreneurs through Runway Program

"I saw it was a big gap in the market and we just started from there," he said.

Kelly Wilson works for FGCU and mentors students like Thomas.

"When students have specific areas they're interested in, we try to connect them with community members that are experts in that particular field," Wilson said.

Her help in building the prototype led Thomas to connect with manufacturers and competitions that award funding.

Sear demonstrates how Bite Belt is used

With the schools support, he was a finalist in entrepreneurial competitions like CEO global and eix. He says the runway program is paving the way for students to make their goals a tangible reality.