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what is a 2ND stageR?


Second-stage companies are defined as follows:

  • Typically, being a for-profit and privately owned business

  • Have $1million – $50 million in revenue and 10 – 99 employees

  • Intentions and deliberate investments to grow locally and regional area

  • Moved beyond startup and have the aptitude and appetite to continue


Why are 2nd Stage Companies important to local economy?

Considered Work Horses of USA economy:

  • From 2005 to 2015 2nd Stagers represented 17% of ALL USA Businesses

  • Yet 2005 to 2015 2nd Stagers only represented 37% of Jobs and 36% of Sales in the Nation

Economic Gardening


Our home-grown businesses need nurturing to grown by investing in the training and resources to be fully matured companies.

It used to be that natural resources, low-cost labor and tax incentives were key factors in economic development. Today, however, the ability to assist innovative companies has become a key driver of economic growth and prosperity.

Supporting entrepreneurs isn’t a new idea, points out Colleen Killen-Roberts, director of entrepreneurship at the Edward Lowe Foundation, which hosts the National Center for Economic Gardening (NCEG). “Yet in contrast to startup or relocation initiatives, Economic Gardening® takes a different approach to business assistance by focusing on second-stage companies already operating in a community,” she explains. “Economic Gardening helps these existing businesses grow larger by providing customized information they need to address strategic issues.” Second-stagers are companies that have advanced beyond the startup phase but haven’t reached maturity. They typically have 10 to 99 employees and generate about $1 million to $50 million in annual revenue, although these numbers can vary, especially in rural areas. Other important hallmarks are their desire and ability to scale. Why help second-stage entrepreneurs? For one thing, they are significant job creators. Indeed, between 2005 and 2015 second-stagers represented about 17 percent of all U.S. business establishments, but generated more than 37 percent of jobs and 36 percent of sales, according to “In addition, second-stagers often have national or global markets, which means they’re bringing outside dollars into their communities,” says Paul Bateson, the foundation’s general manager of Economic Gardening. “With greater experience and financial bandwidth, second-stagers are expanding into new markets and introducing innovations that impact their industries. 

For more information, Companion Document Library | Edward Lowe Foundation

edward lowe foundation


The foundation’s entrepreneurship initiatives are focused on second-stage companies — growth-oriented firms that have moved beyond  startup but haven’t yet reached maturity. Our peer learning, leadership education and strategic information programs are geared to help these companies continue growing. We also educate communities about the challenges second-stagers face and how to work with them.

ceo roundatables


Unique CEO Roundtable system designed especially for leaders of second stage companies, it enhances leadership abilities and improves decision making. These roundtables, which involve ten business executives, provide a forum where each can share challenges and experiences.

system for innovative growth


Are you struggling to scale your business?  Do you need to build out departments and bring on more tactical expertise so you can work on your business instead of in it? The system for integrated growth (CSIG) enables second-stage CEO's to tap vetted experts in specific operational areas. 

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