Planting Seeds for Success
During the past year, SFMSDC has expanded its staff and added more programs to contribute to the economic success of MBEs. One example is the new GrowFL Program, a partnership with the Florida Economic Gardening Institute at the University of Central Florida. The program workswith a host of statewide partners committed to the local delivery of services to help second-stage companies achieve their potential. The Economic Gardening Team of highly trained and experienced analysts offer in-depth strategic research and function as an extension of participating companies. Strategic research services provided include strategy analysis, capital and labor referrals, management and technical assistance, search engine optimization (SEO), CEO peer roundtables and forums, database research, geographic information systems (GIS), network mapping, social media implementation assistance and networking events.
The GrowFL program through the Florida Economic Gardening Institute at the University of Central Florida creates investment in the state of Florida’s economy and is designed to stimulate job growth and have a positive financial impact. Since it was established in 2009, the program has helped create an economic output of $510 million and 3,285 jobs both directly or indirectly.
To be considered for the GrowFL Program, ALL of the following criteria MUST be met:
- A privately held company
- Primary business operation in Florida for at least the previous 2 years
- Employs between 7 persons, but not more than 100 at the end of 2012
- Generates at least $1M, but not more than $25M in annual revenue at end of 2012
- During 3 of the past 5 yrs., has increased its number of full-time employees in Florida
- During 3 of the past 5 yrs., has increased its gross revenues
- Will be able to enter into an agreement with the Florida Economic Gardening Institute at the University of Central Florida
- Will provide financial data and report job creation data
- Is in a qualifying industry noted below
- Finance and Insurance Services
- Wholesale Trade
- Information Industries
- Professional, Scientific & Technical Services
- Management Services
- Administrative and Supportive Services
GrowFL is based on Economic Gardening, a philosophy that centers on assisting emerging second-stage growth companies as they continue to prosper. Specific tools are applied to help them identify new customers, increase revenue, share best practices and ultimately create primary jobs that support the local economy.
Economic Gardening focuses on companies and the entrepreneurs that are already in a community and delivers a balanced approach to economic development. The practice first became popular in the 1980s in cities such as Littleton, Colorado. Community leaders decided that "economic gardening" was a better approach than "economic hunting." In short, they chose to grow their own jobs through entrepreneurial activity instead of recruiting them. This approach is based on research by David Birch of MIT showing that the vast majority of all new jobs in any local economy are produced by small local businesses already in the community. SFMSDC encourages qualified MBEs to apply for the GrowFL Program to help take their company to the next level.
Application Deadline: May 24, 2013