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Bridging Innovation and Industry

There are two sides to technology: ideation and implementation. Eliminating the hurdles between bold ideas and real-world solutions is the goal of BRIDG — Bridging the Innovation Development Gap — and the opening of the Florida Advanced Manufacturing Research Center at NeoCity, located in Kissimmee, Florida.

BRIDG, a consortium led by the University of Central Florida, Osceola County and the Florida High Tech Corridor Council, offers the opportunity to share equipment and conduct research needed to profitably access the next-generation smart sensor economy — an area where UCF is positioned to lead Florida and the nation.

By providing commercialization infrastructure in tandem with IP protection and pilot production, UCF and its partners are helping close the gap between groundbreaking research and cost-effective manufacturing.

Identifying the core business strategy of a company helps determine if it is in the right market; if its products and services are sustainable; and how it can tap into the most successful markets at the lowest cost. GrowFL experts work directly with CEOs and their teams to answer these questions and provide the clearest path toward increasing top-line revenues.

Second-stage companies are beyond the startup stage, but are yet to be identified as a large company and
have one basic commonality — they are poised for growth. Focusing efforts on these companies means strengthening the economy of the region and supporting the entrepreneurs who live among us, which in turn creates jobs.

GrowFL is driven by one goal — to cultivate second-stage growth companies across the state. These companies are the backbone of Florida’s economy and the definition of economic growth and prosperity. Through its nationally certified team of experts, GrowFL provides proven methods to help overcome the unique challenges facing second-stage companies.

Working with statewide partners and entrepreneur support organizations, GrowFL is committed to the local delivery of services that will help these companies achieve their goals.


“Innovative business owners are the backbone of economic development in regions across the state of Florida. GrowFL has done a great job of celebrating these entrepreneurs and providing the tools needed to successfully navigate growth, get to the next level and benefit entire communities.”


WHY GrowFL

900

Companies assisted through Strategic Research & CEO Roundtable programs


350

Entrepreneurs recognized through its annual awards program, Florida Companies to Watch


16,737+

People employed by GrowFL assisted companies


RETURN ON INVESTMENT

$9.10  for every $1 invested in the GrowFL program


TOTAL INVESTMENT

$8.04 million from private and public sources


REGIONAL SALES

$1.88 billion total impact on regional sales


TAXES

$81.2 million total impact on state and local taxes


REGIONAL GDP

$942 Total Impact on Regional GDP


DIRECT JOB CREATION

4,067 Jobs created by GrowFL assisted companies


INDIRECT JOB CREATION

6,875 Jobs created by GrowFL assisted companies


Meet Tammie Sweet

Director, GrowFL

Few have been involved in shaping the direction of Florida’s economic development like Tammie Sweet. As the former chairperson of the Florida Economic Development Council, she understands what it takes to both realize and sustain economic growth on the state and regional level.

Sweet was an early adopter of the Economic Gardening model, which she helped grow in Collier County and continues to support throughout the state as the director of GrowFL. Created in 2009 by the Florida legislature as an economic development program, GrowFL assists second-stage growth companies by providing them with the tools needed to succeed.

“What attracted me to economic development was the opportunity to work at a non-profit and give back to the community in a meaningful way. With so much diversity in a regional or state economy, I believe there is so much that can be achieved when you bring people together.”


STAFF LEADERSHIP

Mike Bobroff

INVESTOR RELATIONS
CONSULTANT

Carla Mroz

MANAGER

BUSINESS GROWTH PROGRAMS

Stephanie Kempton

STRATEGIC RESEARCH TEAM LEAD

Steve Quello

CEO ROUNDTABLE FACILITATOR

STRATEGIC PARTNERS

Alisha Crabtree

EDITOR FLORIDA TREP

Kevin Carr

CEO FLORIDAMAKES


“I’m engaged with GrowFL and other entrepreneur-centered programs because I believe Florida has all the ingredients necessary to continue to be a significant job creator.  I’m happy to do my part in making this a reality.”


Chairman’s Council: Join the Movement

Second-stage companies have only one organization dedicated solely to their success: GrowFL. CEOs of these entities are an untapped resource for galvanizing Florida’s community of business leaders into one collective, proactive voice. Achieving this united message leads to enhanced corporate success.

GrowFL Advisory Board Leadership

Tom O’Neal, Ph.D., GrowFL Executive Director

Tammie Sweet, Director, GrowFL

Christopher Morton, Ph.D., GrowFL Advisory Board Chairman, CEO & Founder, NanoPhontonica

Mark Williams, Immediate Past Chair and Outreach Chair, Wells Fargo

Waymon Armstrong, Chairman’s Council Chair, President, Engineering & Computer Simulations

Jeff Piersall, Marketing Chair, CEO & Founder, SCB Marketing

Mike Bobroff, Fundraising Chair, GrowFL

GrowFL Advisory Board

Maria Alfano
FloridaMakes

Marc Angle
U.S. Trust, Bank of America

Jennifer Barrows
WithumSmith+Brown, PC

Randy Blass, Ph.D.
Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship

Lori Brundage
Enterprise Florida

Kevin Burgoyne
Florida Venture Forum

Christine Burres
Research Park at Florida Atlantic University

Kevin Carr
FloridaMakes

David Carrier
QuantumFlo

Craig Castor
Cresa Orlando    

Cari Coats
Rollins College Center for Advanced Entrepreneurship

Robert Collins
OUC – The Reliable One

Andy Corty
Florida Trend

Nancy Crews
Custom Manufacturing and Engineering, Inc.

Hunt Dawkins
SunTrust

Andrew Duffell
Research Park at Florida Atlantic University

Gabbi Feulner
Rollins College Center for Advanced Entrepreneurship

Bill Mang
CenterState Bank

Joan McGill
Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County

Lisa McIntosh
Wells Fargo

Maria Morales CliftonLarsonAllen LLP

Carla Mroz
GrowFL

Elizabeth Nelson
USF CONNECT

Michael O’Donnell
University of Central Florida

Chuck Owston
Florida Capital Advisors

Steve Quello
GrowFL

Ed Schons
The Corridor

Russell Slappey
Nperspective – CFO Services

Marni Spence
CliftonLarsonAllen

Jeff Holder
Insperity

Kenneth Johnson
Blue Sentry, Inc.

Stephanie Kempton
GrowFL

Beth Kirkland
Florida Economic Development Council

Joy Kitamori
Edward Lowe Foundation

Barbara Stankowski
AMTIS, INC.

Crystal Stiles
Florida Power & Light Company

Kevin Strickland

SunTrust

Zoraida Velasco
FloridaMakes

Audra Walters
Wells Fargo

Chris White
Traction in Florida

Kate Wilson
Wells Fargo

Michael Zaharios
Florida Virtual Entrepreneur Center

GrowFL’s 2017 Top 50 Florida Companies to Watch Honorees

Presented by GrowFL, in association with the Edward Lowe Foundation

Presented by GrowFL, in association with the Edward Lowe Foundation

A1A Solar
Contracting, Inc.
Jacksonville
J. PETE
WILKING

PRESIDENT

AdRizer
Sarasota
KEN
BOND
CO-FOUNDER/
CEO

Amazing
Explorers Academy

Oviedo
MARNIE
FORESTIERI

PRINCIPAL

Azure Water Company
Leesburg
ALLY
LIU
PRESIDENT

Big Top
Brewing
Company, LLC

Sarasota
MIKE
BISAHA
CHIEF EXECUTIVE
OFFICER

Boys Electrical Contractors
Melbourne
KIMBERLY BROWN

President

Captozyme, Inc.

Gainesville
HELENA
COWLEY
CEO

Cribb Philbeck Weaver Group
Tampa
STEVE
TARTE

MANAGING
PRINCIPal

Dixie Belle
Paint Co.

Lutz
SUZANNE FULFORD
FOUNDER/CEO

Dougherty Manufacturing
Edgewater
STEPHEN DOUGHERTY
CEO

GenCare
Resources Home
Healthcare

Orlando
OLIVE
GAYE
PRESIDENT/CEO

Global ETS, LLC
Odessa
DAN
TANG
President

Global Safety Management
Tampa

JULIE
MACGREGOR
President

Grimaldi Candy Company
Rockledge
JIM
FRAZIER
PRESIDENT

Human Potential Healthcare
Workforce Solutions, LL
C
Ocala
KRISTIN
VAN METER
PRESIDENT

Hydra
Engineering &
Construction, LLC

Crawfordville
LESLIE
HOPE

PRESIDENT

Hydro-Dyne Engineering Inc.
Clearwater
JAY
CONROY
PRESIDENT

Inspired
Technologies, Inc.

Tallahassee
CRAIG
GOODSON
MANAGING PARTNER

iProcedures, LLC

Tampa
RAJ
POPURI
CEO

JAX
Refrigeration, Inc.

Jacksonville Beach
MARK
LOWERY
PRESIDENT

Jaycon
Systems, LLC

Melbourne
JITEN
CHANDIRAMANI
CEO/FOUNDER

Just Ryt
Foods, Inc.

Pompano Beach
JUSTIN
COMPARETTO
President

K. Parks
Consulting, Inc.(KPC)

Melbourne
KIZZY
DOMINGUEZ
PRESIDENT

Lap of Love
Veterinary Hospice

Lutz
DANI
McVETY, DVM
CO-FOUNDER/CEO

Lap of Love
Veterinary Hospice

Lutz
DANI
McVETY, DVM
CO-FOUNDER/CEO

Lightspeed Voice
Venice
BRAD
FULLER
CEO

LiveTrends Design Group, LLC
Apopka
BISSER
GEORGIEV
CEO/FOUNDER

Lukos
Tampa
GARTH
AREVALO
CEO

Madrid
Engineering Group, Inc.

Bartow
LARRY
MADRID
PRESIDENT

Marion
Precision
Tool, Inc.

Ocala
BARBARA
LUIDER
PRESIDENT

MICROJIG, Inc.
Winter Park
BRUCE
WANG
CEO

Mini Doughnut Factory
Tampa
ZEZURA
RUDDELL
OWNER

MzeroA.com
Ocala
JASON
SCHAPPERT
OWNER

Natural
Vitamins
Laboratory, LLC

Opa-locka

RACHANA
ARORA
DIRECTOR

PropLogix
Sarasota
TIMOTHY
HEALY
CEO

Raney’s, Inc.
Ocala
JOEL
RANEY
CEO

REDCON
Solutions Groups, LLC

Orlando
KYLE
EVANS
CEO/PRESIDENT

RedTeam
Software, LLC

Orlando
MICHAEL
WRIGHT
CEO

SawStreet, LLC
Orlando
JAMES
YOUNG
PRESIDENT/CEO

Skybolt
Aeromotive Corp.
Leesburg
NED
BOWERS
PRESIDENT

Society+

Melbourne
MICHELLE

CRAWFORD
CEO/ CO-FOUNDER

Sorensen
Moving & Storage

Melbourne
SCOTT
SORENSEN
CEO

Spoleto My Italian Kitchen
Winter Park
JOHN
VALASQUEZ

PRESIDENT

Stickboy Creative
Fort Myers
MATTHEW
BERNHARDT
CEO

Up-Rev, Inc.
Melbourne
JASON
PETRO
CEO/PRESIDENT

Verdex
Construction, LLC

West Palm Beach
REX
KIRBY
PRESIDENT

Winco Mfg., LLC
Ocala
TOM
LORICK
PRESIDENT

Xplor, Inc.
Bradenton
ANJU
LYNN
PRESIDENT/CEO

Yachtico, Inc.
Boca Raton
STEFFEN
BRUENN
CEO/FOUNDER

Zennergy, LLC
Tampa
John
Venzon
CEO


Promoting  Next-Level Growth  Through Quality Programs

What is Second-Stage Growth?

If a startup is successful, it eventually achieves the “second-stage” of growth, a time that arrives somewhere between a company hitting $1 million and $50 million in revenues as well as a start of 10 to 99 employees. These companies are where economic growth and job creation are happening, but the evolution can be painful. At this point in a company’s growth, there is often a lack of clear understanding among employees of the firm’s goals and what others are doing. Second-stage executives also become bogged down in the details of operational tasks. In a culture celebrating the startup, not enough consideration is given to the challenges of running a company to the point it is generating jobs, supporting communities and contributing to the generation of lasting wealth.

This is where GrowFL helps companies overcome obstacles to growth and accelerates economic prosperity. GrowFL identifies, serves and celebrates these companies to strengthen the backbone of Florida’s economy.

A recent economic impact report shows second-stage companies assisted by GrowFL grew three times faster than industry peers and five times faster than all Florida industries.

Strategic Research Program

GrowFL Strategic Research puts the capabilities of a Fortune 500 company’s market research department into the hands of second-stage businesses to increase top-line revenue. It matches second-stage business owners with a trained team of certified specialists in unique areas to help analyze business strategies.

Following an initial diagnostic conference call, each team member works virtually, from offices across the state through an online collaboration tool, to send reports, recommendations and data lists. The team works with second-stage business owners to provide additional perspective on potential issues or opportunities they may not have seen.

The Strategic Research Program includes the following services:

Market Research/Competitive Intelligence

Internal and Social Media Strategy/Search Engine Optimization

Geographic Information Systems

Core Strategy Review

Referrals


“Being part of GrowFL has been very beneficial. The access to other successful business leaders and sharing their experiences has given me ideas and different approaches to considering our planning processes. It gives me an ongoing opportunity to grow and to learn as a CEO.

Barbara Stankowski, President and CEO, AMTIS, Inc.”


Peer Learning Program

GrowFL’s CEO Roundtables are peer groups that give executives the opportunity to discuss business practices and management strategies with CEOs who dealt with similar growth challenges. CEO Roundtables provide a structured format that ensure balanced group discussion not dominated by any one individual; professional facilitators who are trained at the foundation; and an emphasis on sharing experiences rather than giving advice.  Participants come from diverse, non-competing industries and provide a confidential environment for discussing sensitive issues  – both in their business and personal lives. Roundtable participants inform that they have gotten new ideas on everything from marketing strategies and financial issues to dealing with difficult personnel problems. The roundtables also spark accountability and strong bonds among members.

The CEO Forum is a program series that brings together leaders of established growth-stage businesses in a confidential setting to meet and learn from CEO peers. It provides new perspectives on management techniques through the eyes of business owners who have grown their companies into a more advanced stage of business development. CEOs and other company executives discuss the issues and challenges that confront growing companies. This program is provided on a quarterly basis in the Tampa Bay, Northwest Florida, Central Florida and South Florida regions.


“We were excited to be selected by GrowFL as a company that is expected to see significant growth over the next several years. My focus is on doubling the size of the company within the next five years, reaching $50 million in sales. That will enable us to create more jobs, purchase more American-made materials and supplies, and invest more money into the local economy.”

Robert Sires, Founder and CEO, American Elite Molding 2016 Florida Companies to Watch Honoree


Leadership Development Programs

Leadership Development is a necessary step for all entrepreneurs as they grow their companies and move from being a small business owner to the CEO of the organization. GrowFL provides a number of opportunities for educational and leadership training, retreats and recognition for second-stage companies in local communities. View upcoming events at www.growfl.com/events and learn more about Florida Companies to Watch, an awards program that celebrates growing second-stage companies headquartered in Florida. Florida 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, making them “worth watching.” Presented by GrowFL, in association with the Edward Lowe Foundation, Florida Companies to Watch is an awards program like no other. www.GrowFL.com/flctw


Thank you to our  Florida Companies to Watch Sponsors

FloridaMakes

Wells Fargo

University of Central Florida

Orange County

Research Park at Florida Atlantic University

USF CONNECT

The Corridor

SCB Marketing

Traction in Florida

Blue Sentry, Inc.

Coastal Cloud

Engineering & Computer Simulations

Enterprise Florida

Florida Power & Light Company

NanoPhotonica

OUC – The Reliable One

WithumSmith+Brown, PC

Florida Angel Nexus

Brand Advance

Florida Virtual Entrepreneur Center

AMTIS, Inc.

CenterState Bank

CliftonLarsonAllen LLP

Cresa Orlando

Custom Manufacturing & Engineering, Inc.

Florida Capital Advisors

Graylan Ventures

Insperity

Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship

Nperspective – CFO Services

QuantumFlo

SunTrust

U.S. Trust/Bank of America
Florida Trend

Florida Economic Development Council

Florida Venture Forum
United Capital Funding


Events

GrowFL hosts numerous events throughout the year to help promote second-stage growth companies and provide them with valuable educational tools to help
them succeed.

Events include:

Florida Companies to Watch Awards Program

The CEO Forum

Northwest Florida Region

     Tampa Bay Region

     Central Florida Region

     South Florida Region

Workshops

Webinars


GrowFL & FloridaMakes

Growing Manufacturing in Florida

FloridaMakes is the state of Florida affiliate of the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Hollings Manufacturing Extension Program (NIST MEP). This nonprofit, industry-led, public-private partnership was created by manufacturers, for manufacturers, and has a profound impact on a critical business sector. Kevin Carr, CEO of FloridaMakes, understands the unique needs facing manufacturers, and that real-world insight is powering the nonprofit’s strategies to strengthen Florida’s manufacturing sector. Carr works directly with GrowFL to help second-stage manufacturing companies evolve to the next level.

FloridaMakes measures what it does by whether it can help retain sales, increase cost savings, preserve capital investment, and more. To date, 55 Florida manufacturers reported economic results of more than $86 million from FloridaMakes provided services. These companies also retained or added a total of 884 manufacturing jobs as a direct result of FloridaMakes efforts. These results are powerful because they are reported directly by companies.

Strengthening its manufacturing base has a multiplier effect on Florida’s economy. That is because, according to the Manufacturing Alliance for Productivity and Innovation, every dollar invested in manufactured goods creates another $3.60 in other sectors. The goal is to accelerate that impact by supporting the creation of high-value products and high-wage career opportunities for this generation of Floridians and the next.

“We work with small and medium-sized manufacturing companies on talent development, technology and business growth to improve productivity, value and technological performance. GrowFL is a great partner in this regard. By helping companies better use their internal capabilities and access third party providers from the private and public sectors, we build a bridge between the problem and the solution and accelerate their progress, based on the company’s growth objectives.”

Kevin Carr, CEO, FloridaMakes


Manufacturing companies that have taken advantage of FloridaMakes and GrowFL services include Karins Engineering Group, Custom Manufacturing & Engineering and Quality Enclosures.

Karins Engineering Group

Launched in 1999, Karins Engineering Group provides restoration consulting, structural engineering and building science services to clients throughout Florida. Based out of Sarasota with offices in St. Petersburg, Naples, Fort Myers and Fort Lauderdale, the company has grown 15 to 20 percent over the last few years. The GrowFL Strategic Research program helped the company find success in the market and identify the location, magnitude and quality of its target markets. This enabled the firm to focus its efforts on potential clients that would best fit its services.

“GrowFL has been an invaluable component of my experience as a business leader. The relationships I’ve developed with other CEOs, our shared experiences and the accountability to one another have contributed significantly to the success of my company.”

David Karins, CEO, Karins Engineering Group
2016 Florida Companies to Watch Honoree


Custom Manufacturing & Engineering

Established in 1997, Custom Manufacturing & Engineering specializes in organic designed, build-to-print and build-to-spec solutions from power supplies to testing equipment and any ancillary equipment in between. Originally, the Pinellas Park-based company focused heavily on servicing the defense industry; when sequestration and budget cuts reduced defense spending, Nancy Crews, the company’s founder, sought assistance from GrowFL to help the company diversify.

“The GrowFL facilitator educated us on market strategy and business planning to bring us up to date. GrowFL helped build a business plan, conduct competitive analysis and secure target customer lists. Now we have diversified into different markets, and that’s a big investment for us. Our participation in the GrowFL program has increased sales by 10 to 20 percent.”

Nancy Crews, Founder, Custom Manufacturing & Engineering
GrowFL Chairman’s Council Member


Quality Enclosures

Sarasota-based Quality Enclosures provides high-quality shower enclosures and tempered glass. Consisting of multiple tempering and manufacturing facilities, the company is vertically integrated to provide customers with numerous services, including glass tempering, enclosure manufacturing, welding and powder coating. The company reached out to GrowFL in 2010 when the economy stumbled and was heavily tied to home markets. Steve Schwartz, CEO of the company, worked directly with GrowFL’s experienced research specialists to discuss strategic planning and conduct market analysis. As a result, Quality Enclosures decided to become vertically integrated and take ownership of its product lines.

“GrowFL gave us direction regarding market penetration and tools to define our marketplace. It provided resources from the executive roundtable. I benefited from this by discussing pain points with other owners. I can’t tell you how many times I was shaken by the economy and came out of those meetings thinking, ‘Wow, I have some direction.’”

Steve Schwartz, CEO, Quality Enclosures
2015 Florida Companies to Watch Honoree

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