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Sussex County is launching the Economic Gardening Initiative for growth companies

20 August, 2019 | Holly Quinn | Technical.ly Delaware

Sussex County has a new economic development program for growing businesses: the Economic Gardening Initiative, a program offering resources and capital to “second-stage companies.”

It’s not about growing vegetation, but local businesses. Economic gardening was developed by the Naitional Center for Economic Gardening in 2001; this will be its first launch in Delaware.

Companies targeted in the county’s Economic Gardening Initiative will be those that have grown out of the “startup” level (also known as scaling or emerging growth companies) but are not yet mature companies. Generally these companies employ about 10 to 99 workers, with annual sales revenues of $1 million to $50 million.

Sussex County Council has authorized up to $25,000 for the initiative, with a maximum of $5,000 per second-stage business in the first year. Selected businesses will also be assigned a national strategic research team focusing on the areas of core strategies, market dynamics, innovation and qualified sales leads.

The program is “not a program established for companies that are in trouble or companies that need specific assistance, such as an inventory type of process,” Sussex County Economic Development Director Bill Pfaff said in a news release. “Rather, this is really for companies that are beyond the start-up phase and have the desire to grow to the next level.”

With the high-speed wireless broadband being built into Sussex County’s infrastructure, downstate businesses, from agriculture to IT, have a lot of growth potential over the next few years. A goal of the initiative is to bring money and jobs into the county. If your company is on track to do that, it may be worth applying.

There’s no online application — instead, you’ll have to call the Sussex County Economic Development Office at 302-855-7770. The application deadline is Aug. 26.