There’s something about being in a room full of people who thrive on the idea that nothing can stop them. Risk-takers, idea-generators and self-starters – when they come together, their energy sets the scene for great things to come.
If you couple that mood with an air of celebration, you’ll have an idea of what it felt like to be at Inc. Magazine’s headquarters last Tuesday night. Hosted by Inc.’s Business Owners Council, a membership community for top entrepreneurs, the evening brought together Greater New York area honorees of the recently released Inc. 500|5000 list of America’s fastest-growing private companies.
Achieving the list’s high-growth and revenue requirements is no easy task, and Inc. Magazine’s editor-in-chief Eric Schurenberg remarked on the determination, the bravery – and yes, the craziness – inherent in the CEOs whose companies made the cut. Pointing to the circumstance that about 20% of companies in the Inc. 5000 launched in 2007 or 2008, Schurenburg said, “That fact alone sums up this group and the grit, resilience and cockeyed optimism needed to prevail during these past few years.”
For Farid Ali and partner George Constantinou, 2012 is not the first year their Brooklyn-based Bogota Latin Bistro has made the Inc. 500|5000. “This is our third time on the list,” said Ali. “It’s really a celebration of what we do as entrepreneurs.” Ranked No. 3398, the restaurateurs have seen their business grow by 56% over the last three years, propelling the pair to mull over the very real option of opening a second location in the near future.
Other honorees attending Tuesday’s celebration ran the gamut from solar energy providers (OnForce Solar, Inc. at No. 43) and IT services (among others, Atyeti Inc. at No. 270), to pediatric therapy (Tiny Tots Therapy at No. 390) and yearbook publishing (Entourage Yearbooks at No. 778).
Common threads that tie a lot of these seemingly disparate businesses together came out in results from a survey given to this year’s list makers: 49% had a parent who was an entrepreneur, 90% are men and 77% founded their company out of personal savings. What’s more, a lot of respondents noted that it helps in the entrepreneurship business to have had a major life obstacle to overcome: arriving in the United States with little money, or overcoming dyslexia.
At the end of the day, the same energy that drove these businesses to achieve the growth and revenue of an Inc. 500|5000 honoree, is palpable at their celebration. “It’s great. It feels fantastic,” said Anthony Lolli of Rapid Realty NYC, Inc., which made the list at No. 4190. “Now time to celebrate together and hopefully learn from each other. It’s a great feeling.”