The program is called the Economic Gardening Class through GrowFL. The program, based out of the University of Central Florida, provides strategic research, CEO Roundtables and other help for existing businesses ready to take the next step on growth. Manatee County's own BioLife is a part of the class, participating since 2009, too. The company makes a bandage alternative in powder form that creates a scab to stop bleeding. The program helped the company get into more retail chains like Target and Bed, Bath and Beyond, CVS, Walgreens and Publix.
Better late than never, right? Well, it's not exactly late. Despite the push for applications to be turned it by May 24, applications are still accepted on a rolling basis, according to Fran Korosec, director of client services for GrowFL. The push was partly to align with the state's fiscal year, he explained.
Scott's veto did cause the program to scale back its offering statewide, and so the Economic Gardening program is still available in areas that have other funding. Manatee and Sarasota counties are two of those areas because they are funded through the Florida High Tech Corridor Council, which includes 23 counties, Korosec explained. The program is still capable to be done statewide if funding is available through other sources, he said.
If your business is interested, apply on the GrowFL website.
Here are the requirements, according to GrowFL:
To be eligible for assistance under this program, a business must:
- Be a for-profit, privately held business, with principle place of business in Florida
- Has a proven product or service (grown beyond the startup phase)
- Has an interest in growing beyond 2nd stage
- Have employed between 10 and 99 people at the end of the preceding fiscal year
- Have generated revenues between $1M and $50M at the end of the preceding fiscal year
- Generates revenue, or an ability to generate revenue, outside the regional or state geography