Winter Park Import Company Selected for State’s GrowFL Economic Gardening Program
WINTER PARK , Fla. (Aug. 24, 2011) – Bajalia International Group– a local importer of designer-quality products – recently was selected to participate in the state-funded GrowFL program, part of the Florida Economic Gardening Institute.
Debbie Farah, company founder and chief executive officer, said Bajalia’s designation as a GrowFL company simply translates into one thing for her eight-year-old company: growth.
“This means our company will get the necessary support-services as we are a fast-growth company. We’ve hired nine employees so far this year,” said Farah, a Jacksonville native and former banking and advertising executive who started the Winter Park-based company in 2003.
The GrowFL program was created in 2009 by the Florida Legislature and is based at the University of Central Florida in Orlando. When selecting businesses to participate, members of the Florida Economic Gardening Institute look for companies that have the potential for success, according to Dr. Tom O’Neal, executive director of the Florida Economic Gardening Institute. GrowFL will support Bajalia through a number of free services, including access to market research and technology, strategy analysis, CEO roundtables and forums, database research and website optimization.
“Bajalia is ideal for the program as it has a strong business leader with a philanthropic foundation,” said Dr. O’Neal, who also is associate vice president for the University of Central Florida’s Office of Research and Commercialization.
Currently, Bajalia has 11 full-time and numerous part-time employees, who work from the Winter Park headquarters and from a satellite office in Dallas, Texas.
Farah describes herself as a social entrepreneur as she is CEO for both Bajalia Trading Company and Bajalia International Group. The two companies – one for profit and the other a non-profit – work simultaneously in 22 countries around the world. Eighty percent of Bajalia International Group’s production workforce is made up of women artisans who craft handmade fair-trade creations in developing countries.
The for-profit component of the business – which began selling products on the Home Shopping Network earlier this year – leads sales and marketing efforts, while the non-profit arm provides entrepreneurial training and developmental workshops, and incubates businesses in emerging economies.
“Our mission is to alleviate poverty and empower low-income earners around the world through trade, training and other forms of community development while marketing their products to bring about sustainable, empowering, change in their lives,” Farah said. “Having access to the experts and consultants that GrowFL is providing to us is helping us do that.”
For more information about this release, please contact:
Debbie Farah, Founder/CEO, Bajalia Trading Company, 321-295-7918, firstname.lastname@example.org
Linda Nelson, Outreach Services, GrowFL, 407-882-0046, Linda@growfl.com
Charlene Hager-Van Dyke, Larry Vershel Communications, 407-644-4142, email@example.com.
About Bajalia Trading Company: With a mission of alleviating poverty and empowering low-income earners around the world, Bajalia uses the sale of its products to bring about sustainable, empowering change in people’s lives. Influenced by the impact of her Palestinian ancestry, founder Debbie Farah longed to do something to strengthen women throughout the world and left a lucrative creative director career to do so. Her company is committed to alleviating poverty “one entrepreneur at a time.” Earlier this year, she was named one of “150 Women Who Shake the World” by Newsweek Magazine for her philanthropic efforts. For more information about Bajalia, visit www.bajalia.com.
About the Florida Economic Gardening Institute: The Florida Economic Gardening Institute was created by the 2009 Florida Legislature as the Economic Gardening Technical Assistance Program to stimulate investment in Florida’s economy by providing technical assistance for expanding businesses in the state. Qualified companies must be engaged in the following sectors to receive no-cost technical assistance: Manufacturing; Finance & Insurance Services; Wholesale Trade; Information Industries; Professional, Scientific & Technical Services; Management Services; and, Administrative & Support Services. Additional information is available at www.GrowFL.com.