Recently, the independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit, public policy research institute, Florida TaxWatch, released a report that shows that GrowFL’s impact statewide over the next 10 years would help produce 25,000 jobs, diversify the state economy and provide a positive return on Florida’s investments.
The GrowFL program works to develop small, but growing, companies with high job creation potential and an average salary of more than $77,000, according to the report. TaxWatch estimates that expanding the program would generate $16.54 million per year over the next 10 years.
“Florida has successfully invested in promoting the state’s innovation economy by targeting entrepreneurial second-stage companies with great growth potential through GrowFL,” said Dominic M. Calabro, president and CEO of Florida TaxWatch. “Expanding the GrowFL program is a great way to grow the state economy by investing in second-stage companies, which are now responsible for more than 30 percent of all Florida jobs.”
Companies selected to participate in GrowFL must be a for-profit company with revenues between $1 million and $50 million employing between 10 and 99 people. They also must be able to sell their products outside of Florida. More than 650 Florida businesses have participated in the program from July 2011 to June 2013, resulting in more than 1,867 net new jobs.
GrowFL helps to grow existing Florida companies, without direct subsidies, such as tax breaks or cash incentives. Instead, GrowFL utilizes economic gardening, where they work to obtain expensive market research to help companies make strategic growth decisions, facilitate peer groups for feedback from other similarly growing companies, and foster statewide recognition for the participating businesses.
“Since its inception, GrowFL has been singularly committed to providing the strategies, resources and support that second-stage companies require to grow and prosper,” said Tom O’Neal, associate vice president of research and commercialization at UCF and executive director of both the UCF Business Incubation Program and GrowFL. “Based on the well-proven economic gardening philosophy, GrowFL continues to serve as a powerful catalyst in Florida’s economic development strategy by helping these companies succeed and create jobs within the state. Research from organizations such as Florida TaxWatch reinforces what our data has continually shown, that GrowFL and economic gardening works.”