The gardening program is proactive, rather than reactionary, allowing economic development councils to have a more nurturing role, helping businesses grow instead of just waiting for it to happen. The program is inexpensive, compared to traditional incentives used for job creation, [Tammie] Nemecek said.
The Economic Gardening Institute has fewer than a dozen employees. Initially, it focused on a handful of regions in the state to deliver its GrowFL program, including Broward, Collier and Sarasota.
The Legislature funded the program for two years, but future funding was vetoed by Gov. Rick Scott after the last legislative session. Now, the institute is hunting for other sources of revenue to keep the program going and looking for support from city and county governments and private groups, said Fran Korosec, director of client services for GrowFL.
The institute has received a grant from the Florida High Tech Corridor Council, which will allow it to continue offering technical assistance to 23 counties in the area of the Interstate 4 corridor.
“We hope to grow on that,” Korosec said.
It’s great to see the Florida program adapting themselves to cuts in State funding. We all can grow and learn something from that.
Edit: Chris Gibbons posted this story to the economic gardening mailing list after I posted:
GrowFL program gets new funding
GrowFl will now receive funding support from several sources including UCF and the Florida High Tech Corridor Council.
“We will continue to provide services in the 23 counties (including Volusia County) that comprise the membership of the council,” said Fran Korosec, a spokeswoman for GrowFl.
The Florida Economic Gardening Institute and its GrowFl program was originally funded by the state Legislature. It assisted 1,000 second-stage companies, helping to create 400 jobs in its first year. The program had been slated to receive $2 million in the current fiscal year.
Korosec said the focus of the original program was very narrow in some instances. Companies, for example, were limited to between 10 and 50 employees and had to show growth in both jobs and revenue in three of the last five years.
The new emphasis will be on companies headquartered in one of the 23 counties that have between seven and 100 employees. They also will have to show growth in revenue or jobs and only in two of the last five years.