During the 2010-11 fiscal year, the Florida Economic Gardening Institute (FEGI) will utilize up to $2 million to provide economic gardening technical assistance and other programs to participating small businesses in Florida.
“Small businesses are vital to Florida’s economic recovery, and we are wise to ensure they have access to the resources and assistance they need to grow and reach their full potential,” said Governor Crist. “Entrepreneurs have created new jobs, and Florida’s economy is stronger as a result of Florida’s economic gardening.”
Introduced by Governor Crist in January 2009, the economic gardening economic development plan gives small businesses, with 10 to 50 employees, resources and incentives to expand and create new jobs. Under the Governor’s Office of Tourism, Trade, and Economic Development, the program has provided technical assistance to 157 companies as of September 2010.
In addition, 784 second-stage company encounters have occurred through the institute’s technical assistance projects and program events, which include CEO forums, CEO roundtables, and networking events.
As a result, 327 new jobs have been created since November 2009, representing an average of 4.2 new jobs created per company.
Research shows that established small businesses have the highest potential for growth and job creation. Between 2005 and 2007, small businesses in Florida created nearly 36 percent of all new jobs while accounting for only eight percent all Florida companies.
Between 1997 and 2007, more than 17 percent of new jobs created in Florida came from expanding small businesses.
That job growth exceeded jobs created by newly opened businesses or companies that relocated to Florida.
About the Florida Economic Gardening Institute at UCF
The Florida Economic Gardening Institute (FEGI) was created by a Special Session of the 2009 Florida Legislature, funding a program of One-on-One Technical Assistance for Second-Stage Growth Companies. The program was funded in November 2009 and headquartered at the University of Central Florida’s Office of Research & Commercialization in Orlando, which has been internationally recognized for its network of business incubators.
For more information, visit www.GrowFL.com.
FEGI has established partnerships with Enterprise Florida, Workforce Florida, the Florida High Tech Corridor Council, the Florida Economic Development Council and the Edward Lowe Foundation to identify and qualify second-stage growth companies, provide technical assistance, and deliver a suite of services, including CEO Forums and CEO Peer-to-Peer Roundtables, to nearly 1,000 companies statewide.
About Florida’s Business Friendly Climate
In 2009, Florida was recognized by several business organizations for business-friendly practices:
- American City Business Journal: ranked three Florida cities among the top 20 best areas for small business vitality (#7, Orlando; #12, Miami-Ft. Lauderdale; #20, Cape Coral-Fort Myers).
- Pollina Corp. Real Estate Inc.: ranked Florida the ninth most pro-business state in the nation. The annual national study evaluates the business climates of U.S. states based on 33 factors considered important to business.
- Tax Foundation’s State Business Tax Climate Index: ranked Florida as having the nation’s fifth most business-friendly tax codes.