SALT LAKE CITY — Utah has long been considered one of the best places to start a business, with firms such as Novell, Vivint and Overstock.com among the more prominent success stories launched in the Beehive State.

Today, the state is home to scores of locally grown businesses striving to become the next big success story. On Thursday, many of those firms were recognized for their accomplishments thus far.

Utah Business magazine hosted its annual Fast 50 event, honoring the 50 fastest-growing businesses in the state, based on five years of compound annual growth, with a revenue component. The event recognizes the companies for “their entrepreneurialism and innovative business tactics.”

“Entrepreneurial companies in Utah benefit our state’s economy by providing jobs and growing the state’s business ecosystem,” said Sam Urie, publisher of Utah Business. “It’s important we recognize these companies for all the work they’ve placed into starting at nothing and growing into a successful business.”

The top-ranked firm on the list was Alliance Health, a technology company that provides consulting care to chronically ill patients. Since starting seven years ago, the Salt Lake City-based company has grown to nearly 900 employees with revenues of approximately $200 million.

“To be able to see our company grow in such a big fashion has been really fun,” Alliance CEO Jeff Smith said.

The company serves customers in all 50 states and operates facilities statewide, he said.

Smith said he would like to see the company reach $1 billion in sales over the next five years, which would also mean adding hundreds of new employees. He hopes that by expanding, the company will be able to add new services that offer more value to its customers.

“We’re adding more tools, upgrading our website,” Smith explained. “If we can help more people (with their conditions), it’s very rewarding. We have people with chronic diseases that need the help. We can get them healthier and save them money.”

Coming in at No. 2 was Draper-based Crest Financial, one of the nation’s fastest-growing “no credit needed” financing companies, serving the secondary finance market.

After 10 years in business, to know that "you’ve put in a lot of work and taken a lot of risk" to get where you are, the recognition was a bit overwhelming, explained Crest Financial CEO Bob Millerberg.

“It’s humbling to see all the companies that are here and know that you’re in the same (class),” Millerberg said. “It’s also a bit of an achievement, and it’s a time to reflect and realize that you’ve accomplished something.”

The companies were honored Thursday at a ceremony at the Grand America Hotel.

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