By Chris Fish
BREVARD -- In an attempt to help strengthen Space Coast small businesses, 10 local business have been participating in an economic development program.
The Florida Economic Gardening Institute at the University of Central Florida designed a program, known as GrowFl, which allows participating businesses to "garden" their economic impact by taking part in an economic growth strategy.
Officials said the strategy offers balance to the traditional economic practice of business recruitment.
Through economic gardening, officials said companies focus on areas of their business they may not have time for in daily operations. The program team worked in a virtual setting with leaders from these companies on business strategy review, social media strategy and market research.
Officials from a partnership between the Florida Economic Gardening Institute and the Economic Development Commission of Florida's Space Coast said the participating businesses have reported positive results, ranging from expanded customer bases to improved websites.
The participating companies, which are all based in Brevard County, were: Address N' Mail; ASG Printing; Carbolosic Corp.; Diamond Systems; Mainstream Engineering; Pit Stop Oil Change; Pridmore Corp; Quix; Southern Photo; and Tactical Electronics Corp.
In a press release, Jane Cardenas, president of Pridmore, an electronic component distributor in Melbourne, commended the program.
"The team of experts was on task, professional and extremely helpful during the process to meet our core strategy and objectives," she said.
Officials said the program allowed Ms. Cardenas to expand her customer base, as well as improve social media awareness and presence.
Officials said the program was created in 1989 in the city of Littleton, Colo., by Chris Gibbons. Since its creation, officials said that Littleton saw a 136 percent increase in new jobs within 15 years.
In a press release, Lynda Weatherman, president and CEO of the Economic Development Commission of Florida's Space Coast, said helping small companies grow is essential for economic development for Brevard County.
"A healthy company is one that will create jobs, while also lending stability and innovation to our economy," she said. "We are thrilled that the companies involved in GrowFL have benefited from the experience, and we look forward to their continued success."