SARASOTA (November 14, 2012) Eleven Sarasota County area businesses have qualified to participate in the 2013 GrowFL Economic Gardening class coordinated locally by the Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County (EDC). Now in its third year, GrowFL fosters growth among “second-stage” businesses that have grown beyond the startup or first stage of business development.
“As a partner in the GrowFL program, the EDC offers qualified area businesses a robust and, for first-time participants, cost-free program of custom strategic research, peer interaction and mentoring that has already paid off for Sarasota County businesses,” said Mark Huey, EDC president and chief executive officer. “With funding from the State of Florida and assistance from the statewide program based at the Florida Economic Gardening Institute at the University of Central Florida, GrowFL is a powerful tool for assisting entrepreneurial businesses with strong potential for job creation.”
Companies named to the 2013 GrowFL class in the Sarasota County program are Ambo Foods Inc., Anexio, Biolife LLC, Datum, JMX International, Karins Engineering Group, Resource One, SouthTech, Voalté, Voice Tech and Weber Manufacturing
The GrowFL class of chief executives meets monthly for peer discussions, and twice yearly, CEO Forums allow participants to learn from other business owners who have grown businesses through and beyond second stage. Additionally, participating businesses receive no-cost research services on business development that accelerates product development, marketing, sales or process improvement.
Recently, an earlier GrowFL participant based in Sarasota, FLORIKAN, announced a major technology licensing deal that will mean substantial growth for the company. GrowFL helped to clarify the strategy, gave the company confidence to proceed, and supported the business in how to get it done.
“FLORIKAN’s success demonstrates the power of delivering sophisticated research and consulting to small businesses that could otherwise never afford such expertise,” Huey said. “If we can mimic this success with others, sustainable job growth will not be far behind.”
Three local GrowFL companies have been listed among 50 Florida Companies to Watch for 2012. Selected from a pool of some 400 applicants, the Companies to Watch are considered top-performing second-stage companies creating sustainable jobs and strengthening Florida’s Economy. The Sarasota County area honorees in 2012 were Biolife LLC (located in Manatee County), MethodFactory and MyGreenBuildings.
Companies continuing in the Sarasota County program from previous years are Certified Fleet Services, Florida Shores Bank, Jimco Maintenance Inc., Pacer Group, Purmort Insurance, Quality Enclosures, Radiant Power Corp., Ram Marine and VisApp LLC.
GrowFL participants must meet criteria for number of employees and level of annual revenues. For more information or to join the waiting list for companies seeking to participate in GrowFL in the Sarasota County area, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County
The EDC of Sarasota County is the private, not-for-profit corporation leading the community’s economic development strategy to add high-wage jobs and diversify the local economy. The EDC provides business assistance to companies in Sarasota County and helps forge solutions to community challenges that affect quality of life. The EDC works in partnership with chambers of commerce, local governments and other organizations throughout the county and the region. For more information, visit www.edcsarasotacounty.com.
Economic gardening is a philosophy that embraces strategies to grow existing businesses in a community, region or state and is the basis for the entrepreneurship programs at the Florida Economic Gardening Institute (GrowFL). Initially created in 2009 as a pilot program, GrowFL, at the University of Central Florida, is now a critical component to Florida’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and the state’s overall economic development strategy. GrowFL focuses its efforts on initiatives that strengthen the service offerings of entrepreneurial support organizations throughout Florida and by delivering critical research and strategy support to help second-stage growth entrepreneurs prosper. GrowFL has helped more than 400 companies create more than 1,400 new jobs statewide since 2009. Website: growfl.com
Florida Department of Economic Opportunity
The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity combines the state’s economic, workforce and community development efforts. This new approach helps expedite economic development projects to fuel job creation in competitive communities. For more information, including valuable resources for employers and job seekers, please visit floridajobs.org.