Ask us and we will gladly tell you that, in our opinion, New England leads the world in business, innovation, entrepreneurship, education, sports and recreation, art and culture, cuisine and quality of life. Our sense of regional pride is beyond reproach. However, sometimes the numbers don’t support our beliefs – as in the case of the newly released Inc. 500.
Annually, Inc. magazine presents a list of the 500 fastest-growing private companies in the U.S.A. Published this year in the September issue, the Inc. 500 provides an interesting insight for those of us living in the New England region: We need to do a better job of fostering economic development, innovation and entrepreneurship within our region in order to remain competitive in the knowledge-based economy.
The 2010 Inc. 500 contains 20 companies with a headquarters presence in New England (Maine = 1, Vermont = 0, New Hampshire = 4, Massachusetts = 8, Rhode Island = 1, Connecticut = 6). Thus, our regional businesses make up a mere four percent of the total businesses included in the Inc. 500. The New York Metro Area serves as home to 48 of the Inc. 500 (9.6 percent) as does the Washington, D.C./Maryland/Virginia suburban area (48 or 9.6 percent). To catch our Atlantic coast neighbors (read competitors) requires us to more than double our efforts.
The highlights of the New England 20 (NE20) are impressive. The NE20 have been in business for an average of 7.5 years, with start dates ranging from 1980 to 2006. The total revenue generated by the NE20 in 2009 is nearly $475 million, with an average revenue of $23.73 million. The NE20 employ 3,205 people in total, for an average of 160.25 employees per business, with only two businesses in the NE20 larger than SME status (Listen Up Espanol and PlumChoice). The three year growth rate (the key criteria for the Inc. 500) for the NE20 ranges from 613.8 to 11,207.6 percent with an average three year growth rate of 2,211.8 percent.
Looking at the broader Inc. 5000 provides some hope for the future. There are 333 companies with a headquarters in New England listed in the 2010 Inc. 5000. New England businesses account for 6.67 percent of all businesses listed, a greater presence than our four percent in the Inc. 500. The breakdown of New England businesses included in the Inc. 5000 is as follows:
The onus is on us to provide an environment that supports and enables New England businesses not included in the Inc. 500 to grow rapidly. The only way that we’ll match the success of our Atlantic coast neighbors is to outperform them. Our economic future is at stake.
Congratulations to all, especially the NE20, for making the cut – we’re wicked proud of you!