University of South Alabama, Office of Public Relations
April 5, 2013
Contact: Val Walton, EDPA, (205) 943-4715
Contact: Meredith Portman, USA Public Relations, (251) 460-6633

Alabama Launchpad Start-Up Competition to Hold Second Round

Birmingham, AL--The Economic Development Partnership of Alabama Foundation has announced a second round of the popular Alabama Launchpad Start-up Competition that helps Alabama’s entrepreneurs develop their ideas into successful high-growth companies for the state.

Registration for the initial “Proof of Commercial Relevance” phase of the second round of competition begins April 22. The competition is open to teams with business ideas in the pre-seed phase that must prove their commercial relevance to a five-judge panel. The start-ups will compete for $100,000 in cash prizes.

This is the first time since the competition’s start in 2005 that there will be back-to-back competitions.

 “Offering a second competition round in 2013 is truly history-making for Alabama Launchpad and underscores how big the desire for early stage support is in Alabama,” said Greg Sheek, Launchpad Programs Director. “There are lots of great ideas and start-ups across the state, and with a second competition round, we can help even more ideas become real businesses that create jobs."

Interested teams must submit an application and a $150 non-refundable application fee. Applications are accepted until just before midnight May 22. Up to 25 start-ups will be chosen to participate. Applicants accepted to compete will be announced on June 13.

Alabama Launchpad is open to any Alabama start-up that meets eligibility requirements. Participants will be required to submit business plans by June 30.  

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The competition has a track record of success. More than $1 million has been awarded to competition winners. In 2012, four teams from across the state earned their shares of the $100,000 via the business plan competition and are today moving more quickly toward creating high-wage, high-growth jobs.

The current round of competition is underway and a pitch event was held on March 4 where seven finalists were picked, including Mobile-based Exscien Corporation, a biotech company affiliated with the University of South Alabama College of Medicine.  Those teams will return to Evonik Corporation in Birmingham on May 3 to participate in a finale event in which they will make final pitch presentations before the judges.

The EDPA is working to boost Alabama’s standing as a national leader in entrepreneurship and innovation through Alabama Launchpad by promoting, rewarding and increasing the pipeline of high-growth ventures that have the potential to become companies that create jobs across the state.
EDPA President Bill Taylor stresses that Alabama Launchpad is aligned with Accelerate Alabama, the state’s larger plan for economic development announced two years ago that focuses on recruitment, retention and renewal.

A part of Alabama Launchpad’s success is the innovative public-private partnership that brings together the state’s university, business and economic development communities to encourage and support high-growth entrepreneurship, said Angela Wier, vice president of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama.

The competition is financed by business, the state of Alabama and seven universities, including the University of South Alabama.

“The founding board of Alabama Launchpad understood it was essential to involve business, government and the university communities in a partnership to support entrepreneurs,” Wier said. “Their early work to get consensus on processes, metrics and standards built a solid foundation for growth we are experiencing today. We are very pleased to be in a position to triple the programmatic work this year and hold operational costs flat. Alabama Launchpad is ready to “accelerate” the renewal plan of Accelerate Alabama.”

About the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama: Now in its 22nd year, the Partnership represents the private sector’s contribution to economic development in Alabama. Fully funded by 80 leading companies invested in the state’s long-term economic success, EDPA is a private, nonprofit organization that provides leadership and services that recruit new businesses to the state, retain existing businesses and renew Alabama’s economy by encouraging innovation both within existing industries and through the commercialization of new technologies.


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