By WILL WHATLEY, Alabama Daily News
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – An alliance aimed at improving Alabama’s economy has been forged with a prominent think tank as the state looks at building back better than ever from the pandemic.
The Alabama Innovation Commission this week announced a partnership with Stanford University’s Hoover Institution to further promote innovation and economic growth in the state. The collaboration will look to “deploy unique, world-class intellectual resources towards recommending practical and timely applications,” according to a press release announcing the partnership.
“The Hoover Institution is proud to partner with the Alabama Innovation Commission to help develop strategies that will create more economic opportunities for the state,” said Condoleezza Rice, Hoover Institution Director, former United States Secretary of State and Alabama Innovation Commission Advisory Council member. “Through this partnership we will be able to bring our research and expertise to identify strategies that maximize the state’s strengths and assets.”
The collaboration will address such areas as: the starting, recruitment and retention of companies and jobs; the development of innovation hubs; and, the commercialization of startups. Within these focus areas, it will identify ways to improve education and skills-based learning and leverage the state’s successes in a way that creates prosperity.
“I am confident that the work that the Alabama Innovation Commission and the Hoover Institution will produce through this partnership will have a profound impact on the future economic trajectory of our state,” said Alabama Rep. Bill Poole (R-Tuscaloosa), Chairman of the Alabama Innovation Commission. “Starting with the leadership of Governor Kay Ivey and the Commission’s efforts, we must all work together on initiatives like this to create smart solutions that will continue to make Alabama an attractive state for business investment and job creation. Further, it is essential to our economic future that our students and citizens have career pathways right here in Alabama to the jobs of the future. In my opinion the work of this Commission, in collaboration with the Hoover Institution, presents an important and critical opportunity to enhance our state’s competitive position in terms of these economic sectors.”
According to its website, Stanford’s Hoover Institution is a public policy research center promoting the principles of individual, economic and political freedom. Founded in 1919, it seeks to improve the human condition by advancing ideas that promote economic opportunity and prosperity, while securing and safeguarding peace for America and all mankind. Its fellows, staff and experts will also serve as a resource in helping develop policy recommendations for the Commission by sharing insights on specific economic topics and policies related to the Commission’s goals.
Alabama Sen. Greg Reed, R-Jasper, Vice-Chairman of the Alabama Innovation Commission, said the continued momentum resulting from the Hoover Institution partnership “is a prime example of the creative ideas and initiatives already generated by the Commission.”
“While Alabama has a strong foundation of existing industries, innovation extends to all sectors of the economy where Alabama has traditionally been a leader including advanced manufacturing,” added Reed. “These intentional collaboration efforts will further elevate our state as a driving force of innovation.”
Alabama Power Executive Vice President of External Affairs Zeke Smith, who also serves as president of the Commission’s Advisory Council, said the partnership could “accelerate” the state’s focus on entrepreneurship.
“Developing strategic partnerships and leveraging outside investments has proven to be a successful approach in building a policy portfolio and determining best practices. We look forward to working with the Hoover Institution to identify ways we can foster growth and strengthen our state.”
Governor Kay Ivey established the Alabama Innovation Commission in July 2020. The 15-member commission is the state’s first statewide commission focused on entrepreneurship, technology and innovation.