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Alabama Innovation Corporation holds first meeting

By HEATHER GANN, Alabama Daily News

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The board of directors for the Alabama Innovation Corporation met Friday in their first gathering since being established last year. 

The corporation that was established “to implement the initiatives and policy recommendations set forth in the Alabama Innovation Commission’s final report, which includes forward-thinking policies that will create a more resilient, inclusive, and robust economy to remain competitive in a twenty-first century world,” according to its founding charter signed into law by Gov. Kay Ivey last year as Act 2021-455

The group is made up of six innovation leaders appointed by Ivey and five ex-officio government officials. It is Alabama’s first statewide public-private partnership focused on entrepreneurship, technology and innovation.

“The Alabama Innovation Corporation will steer our state toward innovation and economic prosperity,” Ivey said. “I look forward to seeing how these leaders who represent all corners of the state will work together to fuel Alabama’s success in a twenty-first century economy.”

The corporation’s board of directors, chaired by state Finance Director Bill Poole, is partnering with the private sector, state agencies, and state policymakers to develop and implement programs and policies to support the Alabama innovation sector and provide the state with a more robust, inclusive and resilient economy.

“I’m energized to see what this next chapter holds as the Innovation Corporation implements the commission’s recommendations and forges new solutions as Alabama’s entrepreneurial ecosystem continues to grow,” Poole said. “I’m grateful for Gov. Ivey’s leadership and the State Legislature’s support as we work to prepare Alabama for the ever-changing economy and market Alabama as a home for all to live, work, and play.”

In 2021, the Alabama Legislature appropriated $10 million to the corporation. $5 million of these funds must be used for the Innovate Alabama Matching Grant Program, which will grant funds of up to $250,000 to awardees of the federal Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs. The goal of the program is to increase the commercialization of research in the state.

Other potential programs board members discussed included a loan guarantee program for Aspiring Alabamians, an Opportunity Zone Impact Fund program, an evergreen seed fund, statewide marketing efforts and outdoor recreation as a recruitment and retainment tool.

The Innovation Corporation Board of Directors is expected to meet again next month.

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