Congratulations Honorees from the Edward Lowe Foundation

Florida Companies to Watch celebrates growing second-stage companies headquartered in Florida. Companies to Watch was developed by the Edward Lowe Foundation as a unique way to recognize and honor second-stage companies that demonstrate high performance in the marketplace with innovative strategies and processes, making them “worth watching.” Presented by GrowFL, in association with Edward Lowe Foundation, Florida Companies to Watch is an awards program like no other. We all have a compelling story to tell. We encourage you to tell yours! Companies from across the state and all industries may participate. Selection is based on steady growth in employee counts and revenue as well as strength in leadership, corporate culture, community support and philanthropy, innovation in management or technology, or other factors that contribute to an outstanding organization.


In the words of Edward Lowe. Excerpts from his final public comments in October 1995.  Learn more about the Edward Lowe Foundation.

America is literally built upon the backs of the small businessperson and that is the way it has been throughout our more than 200 years. Paul Revere, one of our greatest heroes, for example, was a noted silversmith working out of a small shop behind his home. Abraham Lincoln, before he threw his hat into the political ring, was a self-educated, small town lawyer. The list goes on and on.

Even today’s giant corporations—companies like Apple Computer and Motorola come to mind—once started as small businesses, nothing more than entrepreneurial gleams in the eyes of their founders. It is doubtful that even a visionary like Bill Gates actually imagined that someday the company he began in a garage would become Microsoft, and he perhaps the richest man in the nation.

It is impossible to separate the history of the United States and the unprecedented economic growth that ultimately formed the industrial giant we know today from the history of the entrepreneurs who fueled that growth. Small businesses and economic growth are necessarily and indelibly wed. But while the entrepreneur’s vital link to our past is quite self-evident, his or her role in our future has become clouded.

The bottom line in all of this is that small business owners—the entrepreneurial pioneers who built this country—are still critical to both the American economy and to society in general. Just as entrepreneurs have played a vital role in the American past, they are also the key to the American future. Entrepreneurs provide inventions, products, services and jobs that enhance the quality of our lives and our national prosperity. Perhaps most importantly, entrepreneurs pass on to the next generation the core values and stability that our society so desperately needs—a concept that must be recognized by our nation’s policymakers. Entrepreneurs are hardworking and industrious, because they know they must produce something in order to sell it. They are frugal managers rather than spendthrifts, because they have to meet payroll and pay their bills every month. They are considerate and helpful toward others, because it is their habit to satisfy the wants and needs of customers. They prize quality because they know it determines value.

Above all, entrepreneurs are risk-takers willing to endure hard times, ingratitude, and disappointment because these are often the costs of doing business. They are self-reliant rather than dependent on government because they know that, when it comes to producing a product or fulfilling a need, their efforts in the marketplace will get the best results. They maintain their faith in the system, because, from time to time, they have seen ideas leap from the drawing board to reality, and there is no more satisfying feeling. And entrepreneurs are among the staunchest defenders of freedom because it is freedom that allows them to pursue their dreams—the American dream that we all share.