Enrollment in GrowFL Economic Gardening Program Passes 200 Company Mark

Florida Economic Gardening Institute’s Technical Assistance Program Impacts Growth-Oriented Firms
By: Florida Economic Gardening Institute
 
April 14, 2011 - PRLog -- ORLANDO, Fla. – The Florida Economic Gardening Institute reached another milestone this week when its GrowFL initiative accepted the 200th company into the advanced technical assistance program.  As the only program in the country to earn official accreditation in economic gardening, GrowFL provides client companies with a suite of economic gardening tools including sophisticated market research and recommendations to prepare second-stage companies to grow to the next level.  Collectively, the 200 companies that have received assistance from the program generated $860 million in revenue and employed 4,725 workers in 2010.

The newest company to receive this free assistance is Telovations, a Tampa-based telecommunications company that provides business communications services in the cloud.  Telovations has already been ranked 213th in Inc. magazine’s Inc. 500, an exclusive ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies.  

“We’re looking forward to continuing our growth on that same scale with the help of GrowFL and some of the tools they provide,” said president and CEO of Telovations, Mark Swanson.  “One of our goals is to better define and tailor our offering to vertical markets, and GrowFL will be helping us identify and target those customers.”

The GrowFL program’s team of economic gardening analysts has helped second-stage companies from across Florida with advanced tools to help them evaluate competitor markets, define their core business strategies, optimize Internet marketing and utilize geographical information systems to enhance business development and sales efforts.  

“The 200 businesses that we’ve served demonstrate the unique qualities of growth-oriented companies,” said Dr. Tom O’Neal, executive director of the Florida Economic Gardening Institute and associate vice president for the University of Central Florida’s Office of Research and Commercialization, “and they represent those most likely to grow Florida’s economy.  By giving them advanced market research tools, our GrowFL Economic Gardening team can prepare these companies to grow to the next level.”

“There are several organizations that help bigger businesses grow, like Enterprise Florida, and then there are others like Incubators, SCORE and the Small Business Development Centers that help startups.  GrowFL serves companies in a critical state of development – those that are past the startup phase and aggressively growing,” said Swanson.  “The transition from successful startup to successful mid-size business is challenging for many businesses, and we’re excited to work with GrowFL to help us move to the next level.”

In a survey conducted in October 2010, 124 GrowFL companies reported creating 418 jobs as a result of participating in the economic gardening program.  In addition to creating new jobs, companies that have participated in the program have reported other anecdotal benefits to their company’s bottom line.

“The information they provided us would have taken several months to do ourselves,” said Amjad Shamim, CEO of Fort Lauderdale-based AAJ Technologies.  “Because of this program we have added five new full-time employees to the payroll.”

“Immediately I started getting information that was very helpful and actionable in the short-term, but also very good information to make long-term strategic decisions,” said Joe Buckheit, CEO of Naples-based MediaBrains.  “It was 35 hours of free consulting.”

The one-on-one technical assistance program is complemented by GrowFL’s other economic gardening services including CEO roundtables, CEO forums and referral services, administered in conjunction with statewide economic development organization partners.

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The Florida Economic Gardening Institute was created by the 2009 Florida Legislature as the Economic Gardening Technical Assistance Program to stimulate investment in Florida’s economy by providing technical assistance for expanding businesses in the state. Qualified companies must be engaged in the following sectors to receive no-cost technical assistance: Manufacturing; Finance & Insurance Services; Wholesale Trade; Information Industries; Professional, Scientific & Technical Services; Management Services; and, Administrative & Support Services. Additional information is available at http://www.GrowFL.com.
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