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Poole, Reed introduce legislation to drive innovation, entrepreneurship in Alabama — ‘Crucial step forward’

MONTGOMERY — Legislation has been introduced to further advance innovation and the 21st-century economy in Alabama.

HB 540, sponsored by State Rep. Bill Poole (R-Tuscaloosa), was introduced last week; SB 339, sponsored by Senate Pro Tem Greg Reed (R-Jasper), was introduced on Tuesday.

The companion bills would establish the Alabama Innovation Corporation. This proposal comes in response to the Alabama Innovation Commission’s interim policy recommendations made earlier this year to develop and execute strategies that will drive innovation and entrepreneurship while supporting talent recruitment and retention in the Yellowhammer State.

Poole is chair of the Commission, while Reed is vice chair.

The Alabama Innovation Corporation would act as a public-private partnership to promote specific initiatives in support of statewide entrepreneurship, rural businesses, research and development at existing companies, and access to advanced tech skills that will drive a modern workforce.

“This is a crucial step forward for the state of Alabama,” stated Poole. “As a result of the great work being produced by the Alabama Innovation Commission, the Alabama Innovation Corporation will launch the state forward as a true competitor in a 21st century economy.”

The Corporation would primarily be charged with making Alabama a hub for technology and innovation, supporting activities and initiatives that enhance this growth in all corners of our state.

“Alabama has been at the forefront of innovation for years and this is the latest example of how the state continues to develop solutions that will drive our economy forward,” Reed said, continuing his vocal leadership on the topic of innovation. “The establishment of the Alabama Innovation Corporation will assist in our efforts to foster a more inclusive, robust and resilient economy across the state. I look forward to collaborating with my colleagues in the legislature to pass this impactful legislation.”

Also known as Innovate Alabama, the Commission was created by Governor Kay Ivey in July 2020 as Alabama’s first statewide commission focused on innovation, technology and entrepreneurship.

“HB 540 is the latest example of the meaningful, forward-thinking work being accomplished by the Alabama Innovation Commission,” commented Alabama Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield, a Commission advisory council member. “This legislation would advance our economy in meaningful ways, creating more technology-based jobs and growth opportunities in all corners of the state.”

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn