Twenty four clients of GrowFL, a program administered by UCF’s Florida Economic Gardening Institute, rank in the 2011 Inc. magazine 500/5000, an exclusive ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies.

GrowFL companies account for nearly 14 percent of the top 500 Florida companies and 11 percent of the top 5000 Florida companies on the fifth annual edition of the list.

“This is an impressive affirmation of the quality level of the companies that we assist,” said Tom O’Neal, associate vice president for research and executive director of the Florida Economic Gardening Institute, which oversees the GrowFL program.

“These are the companies that are making a difference in the new economy,” he said.

Jacksonville-based  A. Harold & Associates, ranked 36th on the list, is the top-ranked Grow FL company.  A. Harold, which provides technology, education, engineering and training support services to governments and others, grew 5509 percent over the last three years, and recorded  revenue of $10.9 million.

GrowFL offers business resources to help second-stage companies grow to the next level.

A Harold & Associates CEO Andy Harold credited GrowFL with providing management consulting services in marketing, future growth areas and technology.  He said the individualized  support for a small business would be out of reach if it were not for the GrowFL program.

Inc. reports that in a stagnant economic environment, the median growth rate of 2011 Inc. 500|5000 companies remains 94 percent. The companies on this year’s list report having created 350,000 jobs in the past three years, and aggregate revenue among the honorees reached $366 billion, up 14 percent from last year.

Complete results of the Inc. 5000, including company profiles and an interactive database that can be sorted by industry, region, and other criteria, can be found at

The GrowFL program, which helped 300-plus companies in Florida create more than 3,200 new jobs statewide since November 2009, offers a suite of services including business strategy review, market research and competitive intelligence, internet/social media strategy, and search engine optimization.   

The Florida Economic Gardening Institute at the University of Central Florida was established in 2009.  Initially funded by the Florida Legislature, the Institute has provided services via the State of Florida’s Economic Gardening Technical Assistance Pilot Program, known as GrowFL.  With various partnerships throughout the state, including Orange County and the Florida High Tech Corridor Council, the Institute collaborates with statewide partners to support the growth of second-stage businesses through localized entrepreneurial ecosystems.  Additional information is available at

Other GrowFL companies represented in the rankings include A+ Tutor U (Kimball Companies), Alinean, American Home Companions, Atlantic International Distributors, Avalex Technologies Corporation, Bari Furniture, Bit-Wizards, Cosmetic Solutions, Engineering & Computer Simulations, H2 Performance Consulting, Health Designs, IMS ExpertServices, Infinity Technology Solutions, Innovative Data Solutions, Moore Consulting Group, Moten Tate, MyGreenBuildings,, Telovations, That! Company, Total Medical Solutions and Wireless City.