Two Lutz-based companies, Dixie Belle Paint Co., and Lap of Love Veterinary Hospice, are among an elite group of 50 finalists named as “Florida Companies to Watch,” according to a news release from GrowFl.
“These stand-out companies are all led by entrepreneurs, and have demonstrated their capacity and intent to grow,” Tom O’ Neal said, in the release. “They also all have critical intellectual property or a niche position that gives them a competitive edge in their markets.”
O’Neal is executive director of the Florida Economic Gardening Institute and associate vice president for the University of Central Florida’s Office of Research and Commercialization.
Dixie Belle sells chalk mineral paint and other related products. Founder Suzanne Fulford opened her company in 2013. She is a 2015 graduate of the CO.STARTER program managed by the Pasco Economic Development Council.
The program aids startups or small business owners seeking to expand their enterprises.
Lap of Love Veterinary Hospice is a mobile unit-based service that provides hospice and in-home euthanasia for pets. Co-founders and veterinarians, Dani McVety and Mary Gardner, started their company in 2009.
McVety received the “Pet Industry Woman of the Year” award in 2016 from the Women in the Pet Industry Network.
GrowFl selected the 50 honorees from more than 500 nominees.
Florida Companies to Watch is a statewide program managed by the economic development group, GrowFl, in association with the Edward Lowe Foundation.
The finalists are described as “second stage companies” with momentum for significant growth. GrowFl is the only program that focuses solely on these kinds of companies rather than startups or incubator businesses, the release says.
To qualify as second stage, the businesses must employ six to 150 people and have $750,000 to $100 million in annual revenue.
Together the award-winning companies generated a total of more than $1 billion in revenue, and added more than 1,300 jobs between 2011 and 2015. Also, collectively for 2017, they anticipate a 53 percent increase in revenue and a 36 percent increase in job growth, compared to 2016.
An awards ceremony will be held Oct. 14 at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa.
Published July 26, 2017