Inc. magazine and have started the 2004 search for the Inc. 500. The Inc. 500, Inc.'s annual listing of America's 500 fastest growing privately-held companies, is widely regarded as the most prestigious indicator of growth among independent companies in the US.

For the past 22 years, Inc. 500 winners have represented the cream of the entrepreneurial crop. They come from every business sector and from every state and territory across the country. On average, companies that make the list have increased their net sales by more than 300% per year, and many are poised for further growth in the coming years. Last year's fastest growing firm, American Biophysics, came in at 25,615%.

The Inc. 500 boasts an impressive cadre of alumni, from major corporations like Microsoft and Oracle, to such entrepreneurial success stories as Jenny Craig and the Princeton Review. "The Inc. 500 is a great way to get your growing company noticed," says Inc.'s Executive Editor Edward Sussman. "It has been a great resource for hundreds of successful enterprises, and we are excited about this year's recruits."

Application to the 2004 Inc. 500 is open to more enterprises than ever before. Privately-held companies, based in the US, with four full years of operating history are now invited to apply (as compared to five years operating history in prior years.) Companies need only provide their revenues for 2000, 2001 and 2003 to qualify for consideration. Winners will receive coverage in the annual Inc. 500 Special Issue in November of 2004 and will be featured guests at the 2005 prestigious Inc. 500 conference, the nation's most important gathering of rapidly growing companies.

Seen by more than 1.2 million readers each month, Inc. magazine offers insights and tools for entrepreneurs and business owners on how to start and how to grow an independent business. The magazine and its sister site, provide subscribers access to words of wisdom from empire builders such as Ted Turner as well as forums on customer service and financing options. For more information, or to apply to the 2004 Inc. 500, simply visit