South Florida Tech HubSouth Florida Tech Hub

By Nikki Cabus

GrowFL Celebrates Induction of Members into Prestigious Mentoring Program

Read Time 4 Minutes

Florida’s entrepreneurial landscape gets a boost as GrowFL inducted its fourth class into the prestigious American Academy of Entrepreneurs (AAE) program on May 6, 2024.

GrowFL is Florida’s leading organization dedicated to empowering second-stage companies. We achieve this by providing them with the focused resources and connections they need to thrive. Through our programs, second-stage companies gain access to a network of experienced leaders and industry professionals, along with the tools and guidance to navigate growth. GrowFL is committed to fostering a vibrant second-stage community that fuels Florida’s economic diversification and prosperity. Second-stage companies, as defined by GrowFL, are those with at least 6 employees, and $750,000 in revenue, and a desire to scale beyond second-stage.

A program created by the Edward Lowe Foundation, AAE was launched in 2020 in partnership with GrowFL, to empower the next generation of business leaders in the state of Florida. Through the support of Stankowski Advanced Strategies, the American Academy of Entrepreneurs offers a unique opportunity for a select group of second-stage business owners. Participants benefit from personalized mentoring by experienced entrepreneurs, comprehensive business management education, and exclusive leadership development opportunities.

The American Academy of Entrepreneurs, a testament to the enduring legacy of Edward Lowe and GrowFL’s commitment, is dedicated to fostering the success of Florida’s second-stage businesses. The culmination of the six-month program is marked by a prestigious induction ceremony, celebrating the participants’ achievements and the strides they’ve made in expanding their businesses. This event officially inducts participants into the American Academy of Entrepreneurs, recognizing them as a select group of business leaders endorsed by GrowFL and the Edward Lowe Foundation for their dedication to their businesses and entrepreneurship in Florida.

Edward Lowe believed America was built on the backs of entrepreneurs and was passionate about supporting them. As an entrepreneur himself and the inventor of Kitty Litter, Lowe understood first-hand the challenges entrepreneurs face. He and his wife, Darlene Lowe, launched the Edward Lowe Foundation in 1985 to provide entrepreneurs with greater support and resources.

“Stankowski Advanced Strategies is proud to partner with GrowFL and the Edward Lowe Foundation to support the American Academy of Entrepreneurs program,” said Barbara Stankowski, CEO of Stankowski Advanced Strategies.

“As an entrepreneur myself and an AAE inductee, I am thrilled about the achievements of these entrepreneurs. Their induction into AAE is a testament to the tireless spirit that defines the entrepreneurial journey. Along with GrowFL, I celebrate your ingenuity, tenacity, and unwavering belief in the power of ideas.”

This esteemed group of five mentors and mentees join others inducted into the Academy from Florida, Louisiana, and Michigan.

To participate as a mentee, you must be a second-stage business owner with at least 6 employees and $750,000 in revenue. For mentors, you must currently be or have previously owned and exited a second-stage business and are willing to sponsor a mentee to participate. Mentors and mentees who qualify for the AAE program have previously participated in programs of GrowFL and/or the Edward Lowe Foundation and successfully completed the application process.

Owner of Tank Wizards, and 2021 GrowFL Florida Companies to Watch Honoree, Wendall Stroderd notes that “The mentors in the American Academy of Entrepreneurs program are business owners, or former business owners, who just want to give back, and share their experiences and talents to help other entrepreneurs to flourish rather than flounder.” Furthermore, Founder and CEO of Impresiv Health and 2020 GrowFL Florida Companies to Watch Honoree, Marcus Fontaine, encourages other CEOs to participate, “Anyone who is the founder and CEO/President of a second-stage company would benefit from the program as long as they put the effort into what they expect to receive.”

GrowFL is thrilled to celebrate the induction of our 2024 American Academy of Entrepreneurs class – both esteemed mentors and inspiring mentees. These talented individuals are vital in propelling Florida’s entrepreneurial ecosystem forward,” stated Pete Previte, Board Chair for GrowFL and Commercial and Investment Banking M&A, CRES Corp International.

“The mentors bring invaluable wisdom and guidance, while the mentees represent the future. This exchange of knowledge and experience fuels innovation and sets the stage for continued growth.”

The American Academy of Entrepreneurs proudly welcomes the following accomplished Florida business leaders into its esteemed ranks:

MENTEES:

  • Bill Zachary, Zgraph (Daytona)
  • Jeremy Valverde, Affinity Tech Solutions (Eustis)
  • Jonathen Warren, Critical Frequency Design (Melbourne)
  • Marcus Fontaine, Impresiv Health (Longwood)
  • Nancy Crews, Ph.D., Custom Manufacturing & Engineering (Pinellas Park)
  • Wendall Stroderd, Tank Wizards (Melbourne)

MENTORS:

  • Ashley Schappert, MG Business Consulting LLC (Ocala)
  • Barbara Stankowski, Stankowski Advanced Strategies (Orlando)
  • David Hartmann, TheSilver Logic (Boca Raton)
  • Jayson Meyer, Synergy Billings (Holly Hill)

“I have mentored for multiple organizations and enjoy guiding other entrepreneurs on their journey to help avoid some of the pitfalls and detours I’ve taken over the last 12 years,” mentor, past GrowFL Company to Watch nominee, and CEO of The SilverLogic, David Hartmann, told South Florida Tech Hub.

“There are so many details to pay attention to that can be tremendously helpful to have someone to talk to about. Plus some topics, it takes a fellow entrepreneur, as talking to your team how to make payroll or how to structure benefits might not feel as comfortable. Since I discovered the value of peers and mentors for myself, I give back whatever my time allows to similarly help others.”

To apply as a mentor or a mentee for future programs, visit https://growfl.com/business-growth-program/american-academy-of-entrepreneurs/.

By Nikki Cabus

GrowFL celebrates top 50 second-stage companies in Florida at 13th annual awards

Read Time 6 Minutes

The 13th GrowFL Florida Companies to Watch Awards Celebration honored 50 outstanding second-stage companies from throughout the state for their innovation, growth, and communit impact. 

The annual event was held February 15th, 2024 at the Hard Rock Live, Universal CityWalk in Orlando, Florida with Duke Energy Florida, a subsidiary of Duke Energy Corporation, as this year’s presenting sponsor.

GrowFL, through diverse programs and services, provides proven methods to help overcome unique challenges facing second-stage companies as they grow. The organization is Florida’s only organization focused exclusively on supporting second-stage businesses. The awards program 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.

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. This small but mighty group of companies make up only 12% of the businesses in Florida yet create 34% of the jobs in our state. In fact, from 2019 to 2022, the 13th Annual GrowFL Florida Companies to Watch Honorees generated close to 2 billion dollars in revenue and created more than 870 jobs. These businesses, beyond their startup phase, play a significant role in boosting regional economies.

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.

“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.

“Second-stage businesses are the lifeblood of our state’s economy, driving innovation, creating jobs, and fueling prosperity. This year’s Honorees span 20 different counties, represent 18 different industries and 32% 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!”

Of the 50 honorees, there were five companies from South Florida represented. Those companies are:

  • Hollywood Woodwork (Broward) – manuafacturing
  • Pointer Construction Group (Broward) – construction
  • Spot Pet Insurance (Miami-Dade) – finance & insurance
  • Streann Media (Miami-Dade) – information technology
  • Weedoo Greenboat, Inc. (Palm Beach) – manuafacturing

South Florida Tech Hub member company, Streann Media, took home an award. Their Founder and CEO, Gio Punzo, made a ststement on social media, “We are super excited about the award that we received. Thank you, GrowFL, for giving us the award and having us attend the wonderful event.”

“What’s amazing about the reward is not just about the products that we have created that are touching millions of users. It’s about the jobs that our technology has created. Millions of people around the world are using our technology, but there’s thousands of people that are working thanks to the technology that we built. We are very blessed that through our technologies, our company is helping communities around the world create new jobs. We are forever grateful.”

“As Chair of GrowFL’s Advisory Board, I am honored to witness the remarkable growth and ongoing success of Florida’s businesses year after year,” said Pete Previte.

“These companies truly embody the true spirit of entrepreneurship and resilience. Like the 600 Honorees before them, they have overcome challenges, continued to innovate, and successfully lead their team. Their inspiring stories of triumph stand as a testament to the exceptional business environment that thrives here in Florida. It is our privilege to celebrate them and their remarkable achievements.”

As an annual awards celebration since 2011, GrowFL Florida Companies to Watch celebrates growing second-stage companies headquartered in 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.” To date, 650 companies across the state have been recognized as Honorees. Many of the past honorees have now grown their companies to stage 3 and stage 4 businesses employing more than 500.

In his congratulatory letter to the 13th Annual GrowFL Florida Companies to Watch Honorees, Dan Wyant, President and Chairman of the Edward Lowe Foundation, highlighted how second-stage companies are truly our most valuable players.

“Historically, this group has been underserved in economic-development circles where the majority of effort and investment is spent on recruiting large companies from other regions or states. Yet when it comes to job creation, second-stagers punch above their weight, generating more than double their market share. Case in point: In 2022 second-stage companies represented 16% of all business establishments in the United States, but they generated 38.5% of all jobs, according to YourEconomy.org. This is even more pronounced in Florida, where second-stagers made up only 11.9% of the state’s companies in 2022 but represented 34% of all jobs.” You can read the full letter here.

The Edward Lowe Foundation was established in 1985 by Ed and Darlene Lowe to leverage entrepreneurship as a strategy for economic growth and community development. The foundation’s entrepreneurship initiatives focus on second-stage companies, which are growth-oriented firms that have moved beyond startup but have not yet reached maturity. Its peer learning, leadership education, and strategic information programs are geared to help these companies continue growing.

Below is the list of the companies named 13th Annual GrowFL Florida Companies to Watch Honorees:

Company Name County Industry
Alternative Repair & Machining Services Duval Other Services (except Public Administration)
AME International Hernando Wholesale Trade
Aspire Communications Seminole Telecommunications
Baker Design Build Duval Construction
Billed Right LLC Seminole Other Services (except Public Administration)
BlueWind Technology LLC Escambia Manufacturing
Charter Research Sumter Scientific Research and Development
Cigent Technology Inc. Lee Information Technology
Continuum Health IT St. Johns Scientific and Technical Consulting Services
Cromulence LLC Brevard Scientific Research and Development
DACKOR Orange Manufacturing
Data Graphics Inc. Lake Manufacturing
Delamere Industries Inc Hernando Manufacturing
Design Interactive, Inc. Orange Scientific Research and Development
Fort Myers Brewing Company Lee Manufacturing
Fox Logistics Bradford Transportation and Warehousing
GRACE Aerospace, LLC Duval Manufacturing
HOLLYWOOD WOODWORK Broward Manufacturing
Integrated Security Consultants Hillsborough Utilities
INTELLITEC PRODUCTS LLC Volusia Manufacturing
International Insulation Products Orange Manufacturing
Kinley Construction Brevard Construction
KMI International Orange Other Services (except Public Administration)
Macrocap Labs Seminole Manufacturing
Mainstream Engineering Corporation Brevard Manufacturing
Martin Aquatic Orange Architectural, Engineering, and Related Services
Martinez Construction Services Brevard Construction
McGaw.io Orange Management Consulting Services
NLP Logix Duval Information Technology
Nona Scientific Laboratory Marion Health Care and Social Assistance
Optimus Energy Solutions Lake Construction
Paragon Cyber Solutions, LLC Hillsborough Information Technology
Pem-Air Turbine Engine Services Hernando Manufacturing
Pointer Construction Group Broward Construction
Pro-Tec Plumbing Collier Other Services (except Public Administration)
ProfileGorilla Duval Information/Media
PVM, Inc. Pinellas Information Technology
Spot Pet Insurance Miami-Dade Finance and Insurance
SSM Enterprises Duval Manufacturing
Streann Miami-Dade Information Technology
SunBlest Gardens Wakulla Wholesale Trade
SwiftPaws Brevard Retail Trade
SYL Roofing Supply Orange Wholesale Trade
Tech Rage IT Seminole Information Technology
The Association Partner St. Johns Advertising, Public Relations, and Related Services
Thompson Pump Volusia Manufacturing
TruPoint Communication Solutions Seminole Telecommunications
Volt Lighting Hillsborough Manufacturing
Weedoo Greenboat, Inc. Palm Beach Manufacturing
Young Innovators Academy Seminole Educational Services

By Nikki Cabus

GrowFL Announces 13th Annual Florida Companies to Watch Honorees

Read Time 5 Minutes

GrowFL has announced the 50 companies selected as the 13th Annual GrowFL Florida Companies to Watch Honorees.

The awards program – now in its thirteenth 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 13th Annual GrowFL Florida Companies to Watch awards celebration is brought to you by Duke Energy and Nperspective CFO & Strategic Services, in association with the Edward Lowe Foundation.

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.

71 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.

“GrowFL Florida Companies to Watch was designed to celebrate the spirit of entrepreneurship and to shine a spotlight on the deserving second-stage businesses in our state,” said Jennifer Taylor, president, and CEO of GrowFL. “Second-stage companies are the lifeblood of our economy, creating jobs and fueling prosperity. This diverse group, spanning 20 different counties, representing 18 different industries and 32% of them being woman, veteran, or minority owned, proves Florida is a place where entrepreneurs can thrive. We look forward to celebrating their success for years to come.”

Since the first awards celebration in 2011, GrowFL has honored 600 companies from throughout Florida with this prestigious award. With this year’s honorees, GrowFL has now recognized 650 companies throughout the state 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.

“The companies selected as Honorees are some of the most vibrant and dedicated entrepreneurs in our state,” said Pete Previte, GrowFL Advisory Board Chair. “They are the visionaries and trailblazers of our economy who face challenges head on, lead with innovation and give back to their communities. It is our privilege to recognize them and their achievements.”

To qualify for the award, companies must be headquartered in Florida and have between 6 and 150 employees and revenue between $750,000 and $100 million. From 2019 through 2022, these companies generated close to $2 billion in revenue and added 871 employees, reflecting a 99% increase in revenue and a 62% increase in jobs for the four-year period. That translates into a 27% average annual revenue growth and a 19% average annual growth in employees.

These companies projected continued growth in 2023, with a 28% revenue increase and a 22% growth in employees compared to 2022. If their projections hold, these companies will have generated more than $2.8 billion in revenue and added 1,370 employees over the last five years — a 155% increase in revenue and 97% increase in jobs since 2018.

Companies named to the list will be officially recognized at the 13th Annual GrowFL Florida Companies to Watch Celebration on February 15, 2024, 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/.

Five of the companies hailed from South Florida and the Treasure Coast. One of those companies was Streann Media.

One of the second-stage company honorees is Streann Media, a content-creation and streaming company, disrupting the content landscape. The company has built the most complete OTT platform in the world with a powerful Content Management System, Content App Editor and 150 tools to distribute, engage and monetize live and on demand content. Streann’s innovations include proprietary integration with Artificial Intelligence and Patent Technologies for Monetization. The Miami-based company has won multiple industry awards, has millions of active users and has been deployed in 141 countries.

Founder and CEO of Streann Media, Gio Punzo, told South Florida Tech Hub, “We are thrilled to be selected for the GrowFL Florida Companies to Watch Awards. This reconfirms the dedication and expertise of our talented team who consistently strive to provide innovative solutions and exceptional service to our clients.”

He continued, “We are delighted to be a part of Florida’s thriving business community and look forward to continuing our growth trajectory. We have grown to 70 million unique viewers in 141 countries around the world thanks to our breakthrough technology made in Florida.”

Below is the complete list of the companies named 13th Annual GrowFL Florida Companies to Watch Honorees:

Company Name County Industry
Alternative Repair & Machining Services Duval Other Services (except Public Administration)
AME International Hernando Wholesale Trade
Aspire Communications Seminole Telecommunications
Baker Design Build Duval Construction
Billed Right LLC Seminole Other Services (except Public Administration)
BlueWind Technology LLC Escambia Manufacturing
Charter Research Sumter Scientific Research and Development
Cigent Technology Inc. Lee Information Technology
Continuum Health IT St. Johns Scientific and Technical Consulting Services
Cromulence LLC Brevard Scientific Research and Development
DACKOR Orange Manufacturing
Data Graphics Inc. Lake Manufacturing
Delamere Industries Inc Hernando Manufacturing
Design Interactive, Inc. Orange Scientific Research and Development
Fort Myers Brewing Company Lee Manufacturing
Fox Logistics Bradford Transportation and Warehousing
GRACE Aerospace, LLC Duval Manufacturing
HOLLYWOOD WOODWORK Broward Manufacturing
Integrated Security Consultants Hillsborough Utilities
INTELLITEC PRODUCTS LLC Volusia Manufacturing
International Insulation Products Orange Manufacturing
Kinley Construction Brevard Construction
KMI International Orange Architecture and Engineering Related Services
Macrocap Labs Seminole Manufacturing
Mainstream Engineering Corporation Brevard Manufacturing
Martin Aquatic Orange Architectural, Engineering, and Related Services
Martinez Construction Services Brevard Construction
McGaw.io Orange Management Consulting Services
NLP Logix Duval Information Technology
Nona Scientific Laboratory Marion Health Care and Social Assistance
Optimus Energy Solutions Lake Construction
Paragon Cyber Solutions, LLC Hillsborough Information Technology
Pem-Air Turbine Engine Services Hernando Manufacturing
Pointer Construction Group Broward Construction
Pro-Tec Plumbing Collier Other Services (except Public Administration)
ProfileGorilla Duval Information/Media
PVM, Inc. Pinellas Information Technology
Spot Pet Insurance Miami-Dade Finance and Insurance
SSM Enterprises Duval Manufacturing
Streann Miami-Dade Information Technology
SunBlest Gardens Wakulla Wholesale Trade
SwiftPaws Brevard Retail Trade
SYL Roofing Supply Orange Wholesale Trade
Tech Rage IT Seminole Information Technology
The Association Partner St. Johns Advertising, Public Relations, and Related Services
Thompson Pump Volusia Manufacturing
TruPoint Communication Solutions Seminole Telecommunications
Volt Lighting Hillsborough Manufacturing
Weedoo Greenboat, Inc. Palm Beach Manufacturing
Young Innovators Academy Seminole Educational Services

By Nikki Cabus

Finalists Announced for the 13th Annual GrowFL Florida Companies to Watch

Read Time 3 Minutes

GrowFL just announced the Finalists for the 13th Annual Florida Companies to Watch Awards and nine South Florida and Treasure Coast companies made the list!

A prestigious recognition program celebrating high-performing second-stage companies that demonstrate innovative business strategies and excellent potential for future growth, the 13th Annual GrowFL Florida Companies to Watch is brought to you by Duke Energy and Nperspective CFO & Strategic Services, in association with the Edward Lowe Foundation.

Companies to Watch is a unique way to acknowledge the remarkable achievements of second-stage companies that contribute significantly to the state’s economic vitality. These companies have successfully navigated through challenges and exhibited outstanding entrepreneurial leadership and innovation, creating a positive impact on their communities and industries. Since 2011, GrowFL has recognized 600 companies with this prestigious award. Many of the past honorees have now grown their companies to stage 3 and stage 4 businesses employing more than 500.

More than 150,000 high-growth second stage companies headquartered in Florida represent nearly 4 Million jobs. That’s almost 30% of the jobs from less than 5% of the state. Second stage companies are no longer worried about failing, but focused on growth and job creation bringing real economic impact to their geographic regions.

To qualify for the award, companies must have between 6 and 150 employees and revenue between $750,000 and $100 million in 2022. The finalists were selected from more than 550 nominations from throughout Florida and represent a diverse group of growing companies representing a variety of industries. Together, they reported a total of more than 2,770 jobs and generated close to $813 million in revenue in 2022. These companies anticipate growth of 29 percent in revenue and 21 percent in employment by the end of 2023.

“The companies selected as Finalists are a testament to the resilience and creativity of Florida’s entrepreneurs. They are thriving in an ever-changing business landscape, and their accomplishments inspire others to strive for excellence,” said Jennifer Taylor, president and CEO of GrowFL.

“Each finalist has demonstrated outstanding growth and innovation, positioning them as leaders within their industries. We are honored, year after year, to celebrate the outstanding success of the entrepreneurs in our state.”

One of the second-stage company Finalists in the running is Streann Media, a content-creation and streaming company, disrupting the content landscape. The company has built the most complete OTT platform in the world with a powerful Content Management System, Content App Editor and 150 tools to distribute, engage and monetize live and on demand content. Streann’s innovations include proprietary integration with Artificial Intelligence and Patent Technologies for Monetization. The Miami-based company has won multiple industry awards, has millions of active users and has been deployed in 141 countries.

Founder and CEO of Streann Media, Gio Punzo, told South Florida Tech Hub, “We are thrilled to be selected as a Finalist for the GrowFL Florida Companies to Watch Awards. This reconfirms the dedication and expertise of our talented team who consistently strive to provide innovative solutions and exceptional service to our clients.”

He continued, “We are delighted to be a part of Florida’s thriving business community and look forward to continuing our growth trajectory. We have grown to 70 million unique viewers in 141 countries around the world thanks to our breakthrough technology made in Florida.”

Finalists undergo a second round of judging before the top 50 companies are selected and emerge as Honorees. Honorees will be announced in early October and will be recognized at the awards ceremony on Thursday, February 15, 2024, at the Hard Rock Live, Universal CityWalk in Orlando, Florida. Tickets will go on sale in September.

GrowFL is driven by one goal – to cultivate second-stage growth companies across the state. Second-stage companies are the backbone of Florida’s economy and the definition of economic success and prosperity. Through our diverse programs and services, GrowFL provides proven methods to help overcome unique challenges facing second-stage companies as they grow.

Congratulations to the 12th Annual GrowFL Florida Companies to Watch Finalists from South Florida & Treasure Coast:

  • Flexxbuy (St. Lucie)
  • HelixVM (Palm Beach)
  • Hollywood Woodwork, Inc. (Broward)
  • Loupe Tech, Inc (Miami-Dade)
  • Pointer Construction Group LLC. (Broward)
  • PUR-FORM (Palm Beach)
  • Spot Pet Insurance, LLC. (Miami-Dade)
  • Streann Media (Miami-Dade)
  • Weedoo Greenboat, Inc. (Palm Beach)

To view the full list of Finalists, click here.

By Nikki Cabus

9 South Florida & Treasure Coast companies honored at GrowFL Awards 2023

Read Time 4 Minutes

GrowFL recently awarded the 50 companies selected as 12th Annual GrowFL Florida Companies to Watch Honorees and 9 of them came from South Florida and the Treasure Coast region!

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. 

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. 

66 finalists were announced last 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. 

“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!” 

Since the first awards celebration in 2011, GrowFL has honored 550 companies from throughout Florida with this prestigious award. With this year’s honorees, GrowFL has now recognized 600 companies throughout the state 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. 

“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. 

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. 

Below is the list of the 12th Annual GrowFL Florida Companies to Watch Honorees from South Florida & Treasure Coast:

  • 2TON Agency | Advertising, Public Relations, and Related Services  (Palm Beach)
  • Affinity Management Services | Management Consulting Services (Miami-Dade)
  • Bug Bite Thing | Retail Trade (St. Lucie)
  • Casabianca Home | Wholesale Trade (Miami-Dade)
  • Earth And Sugar LLC | Wholesale Trade (Palm Beach)
  • FloSpine LLC | Scientific Research and Development (Palm Beach)
  • Misfits Gaming Group | Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation (Palm Beach)
  • Pharma Natural Inc. | Manufacturing (Miami-Dade)
  • Sloane Staffing | workforce staffing (Palm Beach)

One of those companies, Sloane Staffing, specializes in filling Marketing Technology, Digital Marketing, SaaS Sales, and Technology positions. The were founded in Palm Beach County in 2018. From 2018 – 2021, the company saw a 91% increase in revenue and 300% increase in employee growth.

When asked what’s his advice for entrepreneurs, Founder & President, Max Spanier, told GrowFL “Take the leap. It’s going to be scary. It’s going to be tough. You’re going to be anxious. You’ll probably get anxiety even if you’ve never had anxiety. But, if you have a good idea, why not give it a try? Otherwise, you might go through your whole life wondering what if. Failing at something is way better than never doing something.”

To read Sloane Staffing’s full interview with GrowFL, click here

 

 

 

By Nikki Cabus

18 South Florida companies announced as finalists for the 12th Annual GrowFL companies to watch

Read Time 3 Minutes

Nineteen South Florida companies were announced as finalists for the upcoming 12th annual GrowFL Florida companies to watch.

Each year GrowFL announced the second-stage growth companies who are in the running to be named GrowFL Florida Companies to Watch Honorees. The finalists are selected from more than 400 nominations from throughout Florida and represent a diverse group of growing companies representing a variety of industries. Finalists completed a second-round application and underwent a final round of judging before the top 50 companies were selected.

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. This year’s awards celebration is brought to you by Nperspective CFO & Strategic Services, in association with the Edward Lowe Foundation.

To qualify for the award, companies must have between 6 and 150 employees and revenue between $750,000 and $100 million in 2021. Knowing these companies were reporting on employment and revenue after a pandemic, it is remarkable to note that in 2021, the companies reported a total of more than 2,000 jobs and generated close to $430 million in revenue. These companies anticipate growth of 40-percent in revenue and 18-percent in employment by the end of 2022.

“This group of business owners represents the remarkable second-stage businesses operating across the state of Florida,” said Jennifer Taylor, President, and CEO of GrowFL.

“They demonstrate the agility, perseverance and innovation needed to take their business to the next level. GrowFL is proud to support Florida’s second-stage entrepreneurs and help to play a part in celebrating their success. This group of Finalists are only just getting started and we look forward to watching their continued growth and impact on Florida’s economy. “

Congratulations to all the 12th Annual GrowFL Florida Companies to Watch finalists. Honorees for this year’s award will be announced in October and GrowFL will host its annual awards celebration on February 23, 2023, at Hard Rock Live, Universal City Walk, Orlando, FL.

Below are the South Florida companies by county now in the running to be selected as an Honoree for this year’s award.

BROWARD (2)

  • Advanced Care Solutions, Inc
  • Hoffer Pest Solutions, Inc.

MIAMI-DADE (7)

  • Affinity Management Services
  • ARK Solvers
  • Casabianca Home
  • Gables Construction Group
  • IOS Partners Inc.
  • Moveo Technologies Corporation
  • Pharma Natural Inc.

PALM BEACH COUNTY (9)

  • 2TON Agency
  • Earth And Sugar LLC
  • FloSpine LLC
  • Helix Virtual Medicine
  • Misfits Gaming Group
  • Petstore.Direct
  • ReachLink
  • Sloane Staffing
  • StillDragon North America LLC

By Nancy Dahlberg

Two Palm Beach Tech Members Named Florida Companies to Watch

Read Time 4 Minutes

Congratulations to Palm Beach Tech Members Salesmsg and The SilverLogic, who were selected from more than 400 nominations as premier Florida companies expected to see significant growth over the next several years.

The two companies were among 50 named to Florida Companies to Watch, a statewide competition to honor excellent small businesses organized by GrowFL. Their management teams, competitive market positions and strong community involvement were among factors that sealed the wins for them. 

 

In all, 13 companies from South Florida were awarded. 

Companies to Watch was developed by the Edward Lowe Foundation to recognize and honor second-stage companies that demonstrate high performance in the marketplace with innovative strategies and processes, making them “worth watching.” 

“These stand-out companies are all led by entrepreneurs, and have demonstrated not only their willingness to grow, but their capacity to do it successfully,” said Dr. Tom O’Neal, GrowFL’s founder.  “They are all positioned to make a significant impact on Florida’s economy with their products, services, critical intellectual property or a niche position that gives them a competitive edge in their markets. These business owners demonstrate strong leadership, philanthropic involvement, perseverance and all it means to be an entrepreneur.” 

 

Let’s look at Salesmsg, The SilverLogic, and some of the other tech winners from South Florida:

Salesmsg, based in Delray Beach and founded in 2017 by CEO Chris Brisson, enables simple, scalable, two-way business texting, allowing professionals to easily send, receive, and manage text message conversations online. Salesmsg also makes it easy to have instant real-time conversations over SMS.

The SilverLogic, based in Boca Raton and founded in 2012 by CEO David Hartmann , is a software consulting and development company, The innovative company’s motto “we make ideas happen”, whether they require sophisticated apps, websites, business automation, artificial intelligence (AI) or augmented reality (AR), basically any technology. 

4ocean PBC, based in Boca Raton, is a mission-driven for-profit business dedicated to removing trash from oceans and coastlines while inspiring individuals to work together for cleaner oceans. It was founded in 2017 by Andrew Cooper and Alex Schulze, a pair of surfers-turned-entrepreneurs disgusted by filthy beaches on a trip to Bali. Made from recycled materials, 4ocean bracelets purchased so far have funded the cleanup of more than  7 million pounds of trash.

Aventusoft, based in Boca Raton, is the inventor of the “HEMOTAG CPAS” cardiac diagnostic system. Aventusoft developed the diagnostic system at the Research Park at Florida Atlantic University, worked on clinical trial testing at local healthcare facilities, and intends to manufacture the product in Palm Beach Gardens. The company was recently awarded $3 million to expand the technology through a SBIR FastTrack grant.

Xendoo, based in Fort Lauderdale and founded by Lil Roberts in 2016, simplifies bookkeeping and accounting for small businesses by providing three simple monthly rates that include bookkeeping, sales tax, tax planning, corporate tax return filing, and unlimited access to a dedicated CPA team. 

To see a list of all 50 winning companies, go here.

 

Second-stage companies are defined as those with 6 to 150 full-time employees and between $750,000 and $100 million in annual revenue. 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.

With this year’s honorees, GrowFL has now recognized 500 companies throughout Florida.  From 2016 through 2019, these companies have during the 4 years period:

  • Generated $813 million in revenue
  • Added 668 total employees
  • Had 103% increase in revenue growth (27% avg annual)
  • Had 113% increase in job growth (20% avg annual)

Even through the pandemic, these companies projected continued growth in 2020, with a 15% revenue increase and 17% growth in employees compared to 2019. If their projections hold, these companies will have generated $1.14 billion in revenue and added 887 employees over the last five years — a 133% increase in revenue and 150% increase in jobs since 2016.

Companies named to the list will be officially recognized at the 10th Annual GrowFL Florida Companies to Watch Celebration on February 18, 2021 at the Hammock Beach Resort and Spa in Palm Coast, FL, and the event will also be broadcast live.

For more information: https://www.growfl.com/flctw20/about-flctw/ 

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