Inc. magazine, which features owners and managers of growing private companies, has named Zumba Fitness as its 2012 Company of the Year.
Tuesday's announcement was accompanied by a profile of the Hallandale, FL-based company in the magazine along with sidebars and an online video.
"Winning company of the year is such an exciting honor for Zumba," Alberto Perlman, Zumba Fitness co-founder and CEO, said in an email to Club Industry. "This honor is 100 percent dedicated to our Zumba instructors and fitness facilities that have taken in the Zumba program. We've received such a warm reception from our partners and instructors and are excited for what the future holds."
Perlman, COO Alberto Aghion and Chief Creative Officer Beto Perez launched the branded fitness program in 2001. Today, Zumba has more than 14 million weekly class participants in more than 140,000 locations across more than 150 countries.
"Zumba is remarkable because it is as good at unleashing what it calls FEJ—freeing, electrifying joy," Inc. Editor Eric Schurenberg said in a statement.
Square, Airbnb, Kickstarter and Chobani were named Inc.'s Company of the Year runners-up. Evernote was last year's Company of the Year for the magazine.
Zumba Fitness offers live classes, DVDs, video games and apparel. The live classes have expanded into fitness concerts and specialty programs for kids and active older adults.
Zumba has been a longtime partner in SCW Fitness Education Mania events around the country. Sara Kooperman, CEO of SCW Fitness Education, Northbrook, IL, says the company deserves the recognition from Inc. magazine.
"Zumba has done amazing things to revitalize and rejuvenate the fitness industry," Kooperman says. "What I see as possibly the most significant impact is the health and wellness industry's ability, willingness and pure desire to embrace a form of exercise that everyone can do no matter their fitness level, race, size and shape."
Zumba has raised more than $4 million for charities through its Zumbathon events, including contributions to Augie's Quest during the annual International, Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) show. Last Thursday, Perez hosted a Zumbathon event for Augie's Quest at the Athletic Business Conference in New Orleans.
Perez, a Colombian immigrant, will become the first recipient of the Hispanicize 2013 Latinovator Awards next April at a ceremony in Miami Beach, FL.