FGCU professor donates salary to help students pursue entrepreneurship

One FGCU professor is inspiring people to turn their passion into profit through her entrepreneurship program and now she’s sacrificing her own wages to fund her students’ future.

“For me, it’s all about giving back and making the world a better place,” said Doctor Sandra Kauanui.

She will continue making an impact at FGCU.

What is just a patch of grass right now will soon be transformed into a home for the entrepreneurship program Kauanui created—a three-floor building she’s digging into her own pockets to help pay for.

Mockup of new FGCU “Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation building (FGCU)

“I’m getting ready to give back my entire salary for the year,” she said.

It’s not about the money for Kauanui, even though she spends countless hours on campus.

“I work seven days a week, all week long, on campus,” she said, helping hundreds of students every year create and launch their own businesses.

“I said if we do an entrepreneurship degree and we integrate the things they love and they’re passionate about, they can graduate from college and they can start their businesses,” Kauanui said.

Through the program, she shares more than three decades of experience and advice with aspiring entrepreneurs like Jack Hellmer.

“She’s helped me through a lot and she’s kept me at FGCU and brought me to many greater opportunities,” he said.

“This is what I feel like will make a difference in this world and leave it a better place,” Kauanui said.

Inspiring people to turn their ideas into a profitable passion.

The new building breaks ground at FGCU this April. Through Kauanui’s program, entrepreneurship students earned more than $8 million so far from their businesses.

Reporter:Melinda Lee
Writer:Briana Harvath
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