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GrowFl economic gardening program surpasses 100 companies

Two companies admitted to the Florida Economic Gardening Institute’s GrowFL technical assistancegrowfl program the last week of July have pushed the statewide initiative over the 100 company mark as the Institute works to help second-stage growth companies create employment through sophisticated business tools.

Companies in St. Petersburg and Fort Lauderdale are the latest second-stage companies to be accepted into the program that offers free intensive analysis from GrowFL’s team of business analysts. “These businesses demonstrate the unique qualities of growth-oriented companies,” said Dr. Tom O’Neal, executive director of the Florida Economic Gardening Institute and associate vice president for the University of Central Florida’s Office of Research and Commercialization, “and they represent those most likely to grow Florida’s economy. By giving them advanced market research tools, our GrowFL Economic Gardening team can prepare these companies to grow to the next level.”

“We’re looking forward to working with the Institute’s team to optimize our performance and growth,” said Daniel West, CEO of UNITY Mobile, St. Petersburg-based digital media company that develops solutions in mobile Web, cross-platform applications, and high-performance text message marketing.  “As a young company that has gained quick traction due to a high demand product offering and highly disruptive business model, we face certain challenges in choosing what market segments to focus on over others.”

“My company has faced growth challenges as it expanded its offerings and we experienced new surges of business in the technology realm,” said Michael Medipor CEO of Enterprise Resource Technologies Group in Fort Lauderdale, which provides clients with technology solutions designed to help simplify processes, boost efficiency and increase profitability. “We believe that GrowFL will help ERT Group continue to expand our capabilities in helping more clients outperform their competitors.” 

GrowFL supports the growth of Florida businesses by providing a free suite of economic gardening support services, as well as unique access to market research and technology. In addition to creating new jobs, companies that have participated in the program have reported other anecdotal benefits to their company’s bottom line. 

One CEO who has completed the program, Pam Butler of Aegis Business Technologies in Tallahassee, has already added one position to her company. “Since enrolling in the economic gardening program just this past December, we have gained clients in other regions of Florida, Georgia, and even Maryland,” said Butler.

The one-on-one technical assistance program is complemented by GrowFL’s other economic gardening services including CEO peer roundtables, CEO forums and referral services, administered in conjunction with statewide economic development organization partners. To date, GrowFL and its partners have held 11 CEO forums, 25 CEO roundtables, and countless information sessions across the state.

 “There’s just a tremendous appetite for this kind of activity that allows second stage growth companies to share best practices and explore tools that are available to them to help grow their companies, take them to the next stage and create jobs and revenue,” said Tammie Nemecek, president of the Economic Development Council of Collier County and immediate past chairman of the Florida Economic Development Council.

Another business owner who participated early on in the program, Amjad Shamim, has added three new full time employees to his payroll. Shamim’s company, AAJ Technologies in Fort Lauderdale, qualified for the Economic Gardening Business Loan Program, a financial assistance program simultaneously funded by the Legislature and managed separately from GrowFL by the Black Business Investment Fund (BBIF). He is one of 10 other GrowFL participants who has benefited from the BBIF’s low-cost loan program to aid second-stage growth companies.


The Florida Economic Gardening Institute was created by the 2009 Florida Legislature as the Economic Gardening Technical Assistance Program to stimulate investment in Florida’s economy by providing technical assistance for expanding businesses in the state. Qualified companies must be engaged in the following sectors to receive no-cost technical assistance: Manufacturing; finance and insurance services; wholesale trade; information industries; professional, scientific and technical Services; management services; and, administrative and support services. Additional information is available at

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