Many of South Florida's privately held companies were able to do more than just weather the recession, but push for growth over the years.
More than a dozen of those showed enough strength and consistency to make Inc. 500's list of the fastest growing companies in the U.S. this year. Every year, Inc. 500, the company behind the business-driven Inc. Magazine, ranks the fastest growing companies based on a minimum of 770 percent sales growth. This year's rankings were published in the September issue of the magazine.
A Miami-based payment processing business, Unified Payments, took the No. 1 spot on the fastest growing list this year. The company achieved a sales growth of 23,646 percent over three years, according to a news release.
"Just to be on the Inc. 500 list is an incredible honor," said Oleg Firer, executive chairman of Unified Payments. "To be recognized as the fastest growing private company in America is overwhelming. The momentum Unified Payments has gained in our industry coupled with this very gracious acknowledgment from Inc. is an entrepreneur's dream come true."
Seventeen other South Florida based companies made the top 500 list, while even more made the top 5,000. Inc. Magazine expanded its list to include the top 5,000 fastest growing companies in 2007 to find a broader understanding of the growth in companies in the U.S.
Fort Lauderdale-based EngagePoint, a healthcare software and technology company, ranked No. 34 on the list this year, making it the highest -ranked company in Broward County. EngagePoint added 110 jobs in three years.
"Earning a top spot on the Inc. 500 list is an honor and a recognition of our team's agility, innovation, and commitment to recognize and quickly meet the growing demands for technology solutions in healthcare," said Pradeep Goel, CEO of EngagePoint.
Boca Raton-based Universal Jet, which specializes in private jet charters, ranked No. 196 on the list, making it the highest-ranked company in Palm Beach County. The company's revenue grew from $462,658 in 2008 to $8.9 million in 2011.
The ranking measures revenue and staff growth from 2008-2011, which were the some of the worst years of the recession.
"Now, more than ever, we depend on Inc. 500/5000 companies to spur innovation, provide jobs and drive the economy forward. Growth companies, not large corporations, are where the action is," said Inc. Magazine Editor Eric Schurenberg in a news release.
The Inc. 500's aggregate revenue is $15.7 billion, with a median three-year growth of 1,431 percent, according to a press release. The companies on this year's list employ more than 48,000 people combined and generated over 40,000 jobs in the past three years.
See the list at SunSentinel.com/inc500.
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