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Most data on commercialization needs to be collected from regional sources, such as trade publications or business journals. Users can also conduct surveys and interviews at local companies to develop a system for benchmarking commercialization in the region. One way to indirectly measure commercialization is to collect data on business growth. Dynamic growth rates usually result from key innovations in products or services.

Gazelles

Economic developers use the term “gazelle” to describe a company with annual sales revenue that has grown 20 percent or more as a share of total employment for at least four years. The number of gazelle companies in a region is indicative of an environment that supports rapid company growth. Sales data is available from business intelligence companies such as Dun & Bradstreet, Hoover’s, and InfoUSA. The Progressive Policy Institute publishes rankings of states according to their number of gazelles. The rankings, based on data from Cognetics, are available from the PPI’s New Economic Index (http://www.neweconomyindex.org/states/2002/03_dynamism_02.html).

Inc. 500

Inc. magazine’s annual Inc. 500 list (www.inc.com/inc500) shows the fastest growing privately held companies in the U.S. The data is searchable by state, and users can then scroll through the list and identify companies in cities of interest. Inc. contacts more than 500,000 firms to compile the list, and data is currently available from 1988-2004. Access to the full database requires purchasing a subscription. Users should consult the magazine’s list methodology before comparing data from multiple years.

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