GFT Grabs Statewide Spotlight

April 25, 2005
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ADA — Keep an eye on Global Forex Trading. The Ada-based company has been tagged as one of the "Fifty Companies To Watch in Michigan."

Fifty Companies To Watch is a newly established awards program that recognizes outstanding small businesses statewide. The program is a cooperative effort of the Small Business Association of Michigan, the U.S. Small Business Administration/Michigan, the Michigan Economic Development Corp., Michigan Small Business and TechnologyDevelopmentCenter and the Edward Lowe Foundation.

The award recognizes and honors "the contribution, innovation and energy of 50 diverse second-stage companies" in Michigan, according to its founders. The group felt that start-up companies and large corporations are often recognized for their achievements, but growing second-stage companies don't get much attention "even though they generate the bulk of new sustainable jobs and are a powerful economic force …"

Global Futures & Forex is an online currency-trading firm serving clients in more than 100 countries. Gary L. Tilkin, president and CEO, founded the company in 1997. The company designed the DealBook software that enables clients to bypass the paper path and physical trading floor of the futures exchange and gives worldwide access to the market.

GFT is now a world-leading provider for real-time currency dealing, pricing and comprehensive services for retail and institutional foreign exchange traders.

The company has branch offices in Chicago, New York and Tokyo, and plans to open an office in Sydney, Australia, in June.

According to company spokesman Tim Gort, for each successive year between 2001 and 2004, GFT's year-over-year volume increased an average of 85 percent.

Gort said GFT was notified of its Fifty To Watch award a couple weeks ago. He suspects the award was likely bestowed on GFT because of its fast growth record and technological innovation.

"We're a technology company. West Michigan is not always looked at as a technological hub," Gort said.

"We develop our own software, which is kind of unique for West Michigan."

It's not the first time the young company has garnered recognition.

Tilkin won the 2004 Ernst & Young West Michigan Entrepreneur of the Year Award in the financial services category. He earned national recognition for his company several months later as one of 28 finalists selected out of 400 regional winners nationwide who vied for the national Ernst & Young 2004 Entrepreneur Of The Year Award.

GFT and 49 other small businesses will receive their awards at a special ceremony April 28 at MichiganStateUniversity's KelloggCenter in Lansing and will have a private reception with Gov. Jennifer Granholm, the keynote speaker.    

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