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Pensacola businesses honored for making national fastest-growing company list

FloridaWest recognized three local businesses on Tuesday evening that made a national list for their fast growth.

FloridaWest recognized three local businesses on Tuesday evening that made a national list for their fast growth. While two of those businesses have made the Inc.'s "5,000 List of America's Fastest-Growing Companies" before, there is a newcomer this year. Pay Sells Co, an electronic payment program, ranked in the top 500.

"It's surreal," Jibril Sulaiman, owner said. "There's a bubble there."

Rewind five years and you would find Sulaiman inside the building at 418 West Garden Street in Pensacola. He had just brought his business to Gulf Coast Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship as part of an incubator project to bring his business idea to life.

Fast forward today, and his community is applauding his success. In the past three years, Pay Sells Co has seen 783 percent in growth. Last year, the company brought in $9.8 million in revenue.

"Being able to bring in those type of numbers and being able to be on the Inc's 500 list has brought a certain notoriety that I will continue to leverage and to bring the spotlight here to Pensacola," Sulaiman said.

Pay Sells Co ranked 484 out of 5000. AppRiver and Footbridge Media also made the list. AppRiver, the subscription-based product to protect against spam and virus protection, ranked 4,204 and brought in a whopping $64.2 million in revenue in 2015. Footbridge Media, a website design company out of Pensacola ranked 4,603.

"Communities are competing for these companies to be located in their community," Kelly Reeser of Florida West said. "So for one, it's an honor that these companies have chosen to locate and grow and sustain their operations in Pensacola."

Reeser said that the recognition is a testament to the Pensacola area's business climate, work force and community support. Sulaiman agrees.

On top of Pay Sell, he also opened a co-working space off Pine Forest Road. "Work Base," is similar to the incubator project he was part of. It offers space for small businesses owners who just need an area to do transactions, but want be around other entrepreneurs. However, people pay for membership, rather than being funding by taxpayers.

Sulaiman said he is grateful for the recognition. He said that as a minority himself, he hopes his success will inspire other minorities to pursue their dreams.

"There are barriers out there and you can overcome those barriers," Sulaiman said. "It's going to take hard work and tenacity. It's going to take a group effort as well."

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