Alabama’s Fastest Growing Companies by County, 1982-2010. Source: Kauffman

Entrepreneurs help drive Alabama’s economy, and the Alabama SBDC Network is committed to supporting existing companies in the state.  Research shows that most new jobs created in any local economy are produced by the community’s small, local businesses.  “High-growth” companies were responsible for creating the majority of new jobs.  The ASBDC Economic Gardening Initiative seeks to take a closer look at the business that already exist, and asks what would it take for some of these firms to grow?  Instead of chasing after the next mega-project, we’re trying to support, develop, and grow the engines of prosperity that already exist.

How does this work?

The ASBDC’s Economic Gardening Initiative connects entrepreneurs to resources, encourages the development of essential infrastructure, and provides entrepreneurs with valuable information.  ASBDC provides local entrepreneurs with access to competitive intelligence on markets, customers, and competitors that is comparable to the resources customarily only available to large firms.  Database and data mining resources, as well as geographic information systems (mapping) are available to ASBDC clients.

Who qualifies for this initiative?

Companies that fall under the Alabama Economic Gardening Initiative have grown to the point where they are no longer concerned with basic business survival.  Specifically, these companies are significant job creators, and have exceeded the size or scope attained by many standard small businesses or lifestyle entrepreneurs.  During this “second stage” of business growth, entrepreneurs are forced to respond a new set of challenges and opportunities.  Many times, the ideas, products, services, and even people that made the company successful in the early days are not what will allow the company to grow in the future.

In general, we are looking for companies that have attained – and preferably sustained – at least $750,000 to $1 million in annual receipts.  Most of these companies will have at least 7, but generally not more than 100 employees.  The revenue numbers and employment totals are flexible, and tend to vary by industry.

How do I proceed?

To learn more about the ASBDC Economic Gardening Initiative, or to find out if you qualify, please contact one of our professional business advisors.



Economic Gardening December 21, 2012