In less than two weeks since registration began for Alabama Launchpad, the business plan competition created by five Alabama universities and the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, 22 teams have registered to compete. Phase I registrations are open until November 10. Teams may apply at www.alabamalaunchpad.com.
Designed to fuel development of high-growth companies in Alabama and promote a climate of entrepreneurship, Alabama Launchpad itself is entrepreneurial. While many universities host single-campus business plan competitions, Alabama Launchpad founders worked together to establish a framework for one collaborative statewide competition.
“The can-do attitude among the founding universities has been amazing,” said Angela Wier, EDPA vice president and Alabama Launchpad president. “Everyone involved has rolled up their sleeves to create a competitive, campus-blind framework for judging and rewarding the very best high growth start-ups in Alabama.”
The founding universities have made a three-year commitment to fund Alabama Launchpad with an agreement that no university is guaranteed a slot in the finals or semi-finals of the competition.
The competition is open to teams across Alabama with one team member who is affiliated with one of the founding universities. Affiliations include: student, faculty member, staff member, alumnus of five years or less, and former faculty member of three years or less.
Alabama Launchpad will provide seed financing to high-growth businesses with three prizes of cash and in-kind services to be awarded annually. The first place team receives $100,000 cash plus in kind services. Second place receives $50,000 plus in kind services and third place receives $25,000 plus in kind services. In addition, competing teams will receive access to Launchpad mentors, assistance from the business schools and tech transfer experts on five campuses, and the chance to fine tune and market their new business ventures across the state.
Alabama Launchpad was formed in 2006 by founding partners Alabama A&M University, Auburn University, the University of Alabama, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, the University of Alabama at Huntsville, and the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama.