New Study Highlights Economic Impact of GrowFL Pilot Program on Job Creation

Florida Economic Gardening Institute Announces Continuation of Services to Help More Companies Achieve Similar Success
By: Florida Economic Gardening Institute
 
Sept. 1, 2011 - PRLog -- ORLANDO, Fla.– On the heels of an economic study showing an impact of 3,285 jobs created, the Florida Economic Gardening Institute at the University of Central Florida has secured funding to continue the second phase of its successful GrowFL program that offers business support services to growth-oriented entrepreneurial companies.  Starting September 1, additional companies are eligible to receive the primary services offered by the Institute including business strategy and market research support—assistance which helped participating firms generate an estimated economic output of $510 million in the state.

According to the results of the study, conducted by Tucker/Hall, GrowFL has created an impact of more than $267.4 million on the state’s gross regional product.  GrowFL also helped generate $18.17 million in state and local taxes, above and beyond the cost of the state-funded pilot program.  Since November 2009, GrowFL has had 312 engagements with 250 companies in its technical assistance business consulting program, sponsored more than 150 companies to participate in CEO roundtables and hosted dozens of special events, CEO forums, Webinars and entrepreneurial workshops.  

Also, an additional analysis was conducted using employer data provided by the Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation (AWI)/Bureau of Labor Statistics that compared job growth of GrowFL participant companies against similar companies in Florida that did not participate in the program.  From 2009 to 2010, non-participant companies reported an average net job loss of 3.5 percent.  In that same period, GrowFL companies reported an average net job gain of 7.4 percent.  Although there is a large statistical margin of error in the comparison (state’s available historical data allowed consideration of only 20 GrowFL companies), at face value GrowFL companies grew 10.9 percent faster than their peers from 2009 to 2010

“Our pilot program successfully introduced the concept of economic gardening to a statewide audience, and this study demonstrates its capacity for extensive company growth and job creation,” said Dr. Tom O’Neal, executive director of the Florida Economic Gardening Institute at the University of Central Florida and associate vice president for UCF’s Office of Research and Commercialization.  “Fortunately we have partners who have seen the effect economic gardening is having in this state and have stepped up to keep the program moving forward and extend its reach into local entrepreneurial ecosystems throughout Florida.”

As the program begins its next phase, funding contributions from Orange County, the Florida High Tech Corridor Council (FHTCC), the University of Central Florida (UCF) and other economic development agencies will allow GrowFL to expand the existing eligibility criteria of the pilot program, effectively opening applications to a larger pool of second-stage companies.  Interested growth-oriented companies with seven to 100 employees are eligible for assistance.  Previous criteria related to industry or revenue/employee growth requirements have been eliminated.  

As part of FHTCC’s partnership, GrowFL will provide services to a limited number of companies in the 23-county Florida High Tech Corridor region.  FEGI is also reaching out to county representatives within the region to discuss the merits of a matching sponsorship for increased access to service in their communities.  Interested companies are encouraged to apply for assistance via the application form on http://www.GrowFL.com.  The deadline for the first round of company applications will run through September 30.

The Florida Economic Gardening Institute is also in the planning stage with many Florida counties and municipalities to establish customized economic gardening programs at a local level that best fit the needs of their community.  By utilizing the Institute’s proven technical assistance expertise and other services, local communities can initiate a program immediately.  In addition, as the only organization nationally certified in Economic Gardening, the Florida Economic Gardening Institute will assist local and regional partners with navigating the accreditation process so they too can create a nationally certified Economic Gardening program in their local area.  This model is intended to seed new Economic Gardening programs throughout the state by helping eliminate startup costs of individual programs.  

Communities with interest in establishing an economic gardening program are encouraged to contact the Institute directly at (407) 823-6384 or info@growfl.com.  

To view a copy of the Florida Economic Gardening Institute’s impact study, visit http://www.growfl.com/news-reports-studies.html.

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About The Florida Economic Gardening Institute/GrowFL
The Florida Economic Gardening Institute at the University of Central Florida was established in 2009. Initially funded by the Florida Legislature, the Institute has provided services via the State of Florida’s Economic Gardening Technical Assistance Pilot Program, known as GrowFL. With various partnerships throughout the state, including Orange County and the Florida High Tech Corridor Council, the Institute collaborates with statewide partners to support the growth of second-stage businesses through localized entrepreneurial ecosystems. Additional information is available at http://GrowFL.com.
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