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Outstanding leadership, culture and growth make these second-stage businesses stand-out

The EDC of Sarasota County and GrowFL are pleased to announce that two companies from Sarasota County were selected as 12th Annual GrowFL Florida Companies to Watch Honorees; DMSI and Four Winds IT. The awards program – now in its twelfth year –  honors impressive second-stage companies from throughout the state for developing valuable products and services, creating quality jobs, enriching communities, and broadening new industries throughout Florida.

The 12th Annual GrowFL Florida Companies to Watch Awards Celebration is brought to you by Nperspective CFO & Strategic Services, in association with the Edward Lowe Foundation.

66 finalists were announced earlier this year, and the 50 honorees were selected after a final round of judging by a panel comprised of past honorees, economic development leaders and corporate partners of GrowFL.  Companies were judged on a number of criteria including growth in number of employees; impact of the business in the job market; increase in sales and/or unit volume; current and past financial reports; innovativeness of the product or service; response to adversity; and contributions to aid community-oriented projects.

Over the last 11 years, GrowFL has honored 550 companies from throughout Florida with this prestigious award. With this year’s honorees, GrowFL has now recognized 600 companies throughout Florida that are making a positive impact on the economy and the communities in which they live.  Many of the past honorees have now grown their companies to stage 3 and stage 4 businesses employing more than 500.

To qualify for the award, companies must be headquartered in Florida and have between 6 and 150 and revenue between $750,000 and $100 million. From 2018 through 2021, these companies generated $1 billion in revenue and added 881 employees, reflecting a 96% increase in revenue and a 104% increase in jobs for the four-year period. That translates into a 24% average annual revenue growth and a 26% average annual growth in employees.

These companies projected continued growth in 2022, with a 40% revenue increase and a 20%  growth in employees compared to 2021. If their projections hold, these companies will have generated $1.5 billion in revenue and added 1,233 employees over the last five years — a 174% increase in revenue and 146% increase in jobs since 2018.

“GrowFL Florida Companies to Watch was designed to celebrate the spirit of entrepreneurship and to shine a spotlight on the most deserving companies,” said Jennifer Taylor, president, and CEO of GrowFL. “This year’s honoree span 21 different counties, represent 22 different industries and 50% of them are woman, veteran, or minority owned. This diverse group of honorees can only mean one thing – Florida is the place where entrepreneurs thrive!”

“These are some of the most vibrant and dedicated entrepreneurs in our state. They are the champions that keep our communities strong by stimulating the economy, keeping the workforce employed, and giving back in ways that will change the course of our state for years to come. Like all the classes before them, this class of GrowFL Florida Companies to Watch honorees truly embody success and I know they’re only getting started,” said Dr. Tom O’Neal, GrowFL founder.

Companies to Watch was developed by the Edward Lowe Foundation as a unique way to recognize and honor second-stage companies that demonstrate high performance in the marketplace with innovative strategies and processes. In addition to evaluating past growth and projected success, applicant companies are judged according to their special strengths and impact in their markets, communities and within the state – thus deeming them “worth watching.”

Companies named to the list will be officially recognized at the 12th Annual GrowFL Florida Companies to Watch Celebration on February 23, 2023, at the Hard Rock Live in Universal CityWalk, Orlando, FL. Tickets are on sale now.  For more information or to purchase tickets, visit https://growfl.com/about-growfl-flctw/.

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About GrowFL:

 GrowFL, through our diverse programs and services, provides proven methods to help overcome unique challenges facing second-stage companies as they grow. Second-stage growth companies have at least 6 employees and $750,000 in revenue and possess the intent and desire to grow beyond second-stage. GrowFL is proud to serve Florida as the state’s only organization focused exclusively on supporting second-stage businesses. Website: https://www.growfl.com.

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