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Innovate Alabama awards $4.5M-plus in small business grants to 30 companies

The Alabama Innovation Corp. announced Monday the awarding of its first round of grants geared toward helping small businesses expand their operations within the Yellowhammer State.

The 31 grant awards, which total more than $4.5 million in funding, will be distributed under the Innovate Alabama Supplemental Grant Program.

According to the corporation, the funds will enable small business owners further commercialize modern technology and contribute to the Alabama’s regional and national economic footprint.

The program assists advancing the state’s economy through numerous avenues. The ways include boosting research and commercialization efforts, developing exportable products and services and generating high-wage job opportunities.

In a release announcing the grant awards, Gov. Kay Ivey stated her administration’s goal of bolstering Alabama’s economy through innovative small businesses.

“Thanks to the Innovate Alabama Supplemental Grant Program, the work of the Alabama Innovation Corp. and the Alabama Legislature, 30 small businesses across our state will have the opportunity to commercialize their technology to help solve global issues,” said the governor. “We are proud to support these entrepreneurs and business leaders who will leave a lasting impact on Alabama’s economy and pave the way for future generations of Alabamians.”

Through the supplemental grants for Phase I and Phase II Federal Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer winners, Alabama is poised to retain top talent and grow its economy by providing resources like these to businesses with a proven track record of developing breakthrough research and technology, said Bill Poole, state finance director and Alabama Innovation Corp. chair.

“In order to ensure that Alabama can compete in the 21st century economy, we must continue to pursue policies and initiatives that support the recruitment and retention of innovative companies and talent in our state,” said Poole. “Initiatives such as the Innovate Alabama Supplemental Grant Program encourage our state’s leading entrepreneurs to build their businesses right here at home where they have the capital and resources to confidently do so.

“These initiatives also demonstrate and highlight the ingenuity of our citizens and the fact that Alabama can and should pursue its full potential in regards to growing this critical sector of our economy, and I particularly thank Governor Ivey and the Alabama Legislature for making these investments possible.”

Alabama entrepreneurs and innovators, who are recipients of Phase I and Phase II SBIR and STTR grants, were awarded up to $250,000 of supplemental funding to support the growth of their small businesses.

Winners of the Innovate Alabama Supplemental Grant are in Tuscaloosa, Birmingham, Bessemer, Huntsville, Auburn and Mobile and include nine women- and minority-owned businesses, almost a third of the total number of grantees.

“Thanks to the collaborative efforts of the Alabama Legislature and our state’s innovation ecosystem, we have the opportunity to connect forward-thinking entrepreneurs and innovators who are looking to make a difference across the state – from Huntsville to Bessemer to Mobile– with the capital they need to thrive,” said Dave King, former Dynetics Group president and Alabama Innovation Corp. board member. “Through this program, our goal is to not only provide support to Alabama businesses but, more specifically, to those who need it most, including those led by minorities, women or Alabamians located in underserved areas.”

The Alabama Legislature has allocated an additional $5 million for the 2023 fiscal year to provide a second round of grant funding for eligible Alabama small businesses. Applicants must have a Phase I or Phase II SBIR or STTR grant that was active on or after July 1, 2022. The application portal is expected to reopen in 2023.

For small businesses who have not yet secured an SBIR or STTR grant, Bio Alabama, along with a number of other partners, is hosting an SBIR/STTR Funding Virtual Workshop to teach small business owners how to apply for federal funding to support their organizations.

Featuring Greenwood Consulting Group and SBIR/STTR program directors from federal agencies, participants will have the opportunity to engage in an application workshop, breakout sessions and one-on-one application consultations. To register for the workshop, please visit the link here.

Dylan Smith is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL

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