Likening companies to animals is not uncommon. Big businesses, like Wal-Mart, are often referred to as “elephants,” whereas small businesses are called “mice.” The “gazelle” company is less associated with a company’s physical size, and rather its capacity for rapid growth. Author David Birch first coined the term in his 1987 book: Job Creation in America: How Our Smallest Companies Put the Most People to Work. He defined a gazelle company as one that doubles its sales every four years. This growth rate is immense, but it is not limited to companies that are sizable themselves. Anyone can earn the title of a gazelle company. A percentage of companies that gain the gazelle title are involved in retail sale, but a large number of the titleholders are tech-focused. For example, four out of the top twenty fastest growing companies in 2016 were all tech-based. Facebook, Ambarella, Skyworks, and Super Micro Computer were among the top-rated. Gazelle companies are also known for their ability to generate new job opportunities. David Birch estimated that the gazelles, approximately 4% of U.S. companies, were responsible for 70% of all new jobs. In 2008, the director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Public Policy at George Mason University, found that only 2% of the companies were high-impact firms. Big companies were raising unemployment rates, and doing nothing to create jobs.
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