The Birmingham Business Alliance (Alliance), in partnership with Jefferson and Shelby Counties, is leading an effort to spur job growth in the bioscience industry throughout the seven-county Birmingham region.
The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) Disaster Recovery Program awarded funds for the execution of a bioscience market intelligence study, strategy and implementation plan that will be led by the Birmingham Business Alliance.
Focus areas of the plan include identifying the following:
• Key bioscience assets, as well as opportunities for growth and investment
• Opportunities for existing bioscience businesses to grow capacity
• Opportunities for economic developers and communities to attract bioscience businesses
The Alliance CEO Ron Kitchens says the partnership aims to seize upon growth opportunities made possible by the role Birmingham played in pandemic recovery efforts.
“We are seizing a perfect opportunity to build on the national attention Birmingham received during the pandemic,” said Kitchens. “Based on the role the University of Alabama at Birmingham played in building a COVID-19 treatment and on the work of local companies like BioGX around testing, we will create a comprehensive plan for our region to work with bioscience companies to address the immediate needs of a post- pandemic world and grow jobs as a result.”
The Alliance, the Jefferson County Commission, the Shelby County Commission and 58 INC. led the grant application on behalf of over 45 economic development officials across the Birmingham seven-county region. Letters of support were provided by nearly 20 key stakeholders throughout the community.
Jefferson County Commissioner Steve Ammons says the goal of this project is for Birmingham to work in unison and stake its claim as a national leader in bioscience.
“The Birmingham Region of Jefferson County is fortunate to call many quality health care systems home,” said Ammons. “These systems have drawn, and continue to draw, assets to our region. This grant will help us map out those assets and tailor our recruiting efforts by identifying companies that would be an agreeable addition to our ecosystem.”
By the year’s end, the Birmingham Business Alliance and its partners will convene a stakeholders meeting, at which a Request for Proposal will be published and a consultant will be selected to begin work.
“The study and implementation plan will help the region maximize and build on its strengths in life sciences,” said Amy Sturdivant, managing director for Shelby County’s economic development corporation 58 INC. and current board member of BIO Alabama and Southeast Life Sciences.
The project is made possible by funding from the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act and administered by the EDA to assist communities in preventing, preparing for and responding to COVID-19.
Dylan Smith is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News