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SunTrust Announced as Presenting Corporate Sponsor for Florida Companies To Watch 2012

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ORLANDO, Fla., July 9, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — The Florida Economic Gardening Institute / GrowFL at the University of Central Florida, in association with the Edward Lowe Foundation, is thrilled to announce SunTrust Banks, Inc. as the presenting corporate sponsor for Florida Companies to Watch 2012. With its headquarters in Atlanta and substantial operations in Florida, SunTrust Bank is one of the nation’s largest banking organizations serving a broad range of consumer, commercial, corporate and institutional clients.

Florida Companies to Watch was developed by the Edward Lowe Foundation as an exclusive way to honor second-stage companies who exhibit innovative business strategies and processes. The companies acknowledged by this award pave the way for second-stage companies and prove themselves to be “worth watching.” The 50 selected companies will be celebrated at the Florida Companies to Watch gala, which takes place on October 19th at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort.

“Encouraging innovation and creativity among business is critical to the economic success of our State,” said David Fuller, Chairman, President and CEO of SunTrust Bank, Central Florida. “We’re pleased to sponsor Florida Companies to Watch and help shine a spotlight on Florida small businesses leading the way in their industries.”

The announcement on the winning companies for 2012 will occur in August. The collective impact of the 50 companies chosen as the inaugural winners of 2011 Florida Companies to Watch was $419 million in total annual revenue, 1972 fulltime equivalent employees and 510 new net jobs created compared to 2009. From 2006 to 2010, these companies generated $1.4 billion in revenue and added 1,153 employees (both in Florida and out of state), reflecting a 162 percent increase in revenue and 141 percent increase in jobs for the five-year period. This translates into a 32 percent annual revenue growth and 28 percent annual growth in employees. A look at one of the second-stage winners of Florida Companies to Watch shows the incredible potential for Florida’s economic rebound.

For more information, visit www.florida.companiestowatch.org or email FloridaCTW@lowe.org.

About the Edward Lowe Foundation
Established in 1985, the Edward Lowe Foundation is a nonprofit organization that supports entrepreneurship through research, recognition and educational programs, which are delivered through entrepreneur support organizations (ESOs). The foundation focuses on second-stage companies—those that have moved beyond the start-up phase and seek significant, steady growth. For more information, visit www.EdwardLowe.org.

About the Florida Economic Gardening Institute / GrowFL
Initially created in 2009 as a pilot program, the Florida Economic Gardening Institute (GrowFL) at the University of Central Florida is now a permanent part of the economic development programs in Florida. The Institute focuses on efforts that support and strengthen Florida’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, entrepreneur support organizations and, through a variety of programs, help second-stage growth entrepreneurs prosper. Additional information is available at www.GrowFL.com.

About SunTrust Banks, Inc.
SunTrust Banks, Inc., headquartered in Atlanta, is one of the nation’s largest banking organizations, serving a broad range of consumer, commercial, corporate and institutional clients. As of March 31, 2012, SunTrust had total assets of $178.2 billion and total deposits of $130.0 billion. The Company operates an extensive branch and ATM network throughout the high-growth Southeast and Mid-Atlantic states and a full array of technology-based, 24-hour delivery channels. The Company also serves clients in selected markets nationally. Its primary businesses include deposit, credit, trust and investment services. Through various subsidiaries the Company provides mortgage banking, insurance, brokerage, investment management, equipment leasing and investment banking services. SunTrust’s Internet address is suntrust.com.

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