Alabama Launchpad in final countdown to aid 2011 entrepreneurs
Published: Monday, April 11, 2011, 3:06 PM Updated: Monday, April 11, 2011, 3:36 PM
By K.A. Turner, Press-Register Press-Register
MOBILE, Ala. -- Relatively few people know about the competition that will act itself out Friday at the University of South Alabama.
But if Alabama is to rebuild its economy by growing small businesses, as Gov. Robert Bentley has emphasized, the Launchpad finals should get more attention.
K.A. Turner's column appears weekly in the Press-Register. E-mail K.A. at firstname.lastname@example.org
Alabama Launchpad, a partnership among state universities and the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, is an organized effort to commercialize the technology developed in Alabama research universities. It is part of the Launchpad mission to support "high-growth entrepreneurship" and innovation.
Launchpad's most visible program is a statewide business plan competition. This year's version culminates Friday with presentations at the USA Library Auditorium.
"It is really a lot of fun," said Reggie Taylor, associate director of USA's Office of Technology Transfer, who encouraged members of the business community to attend the event. Finalist teams will make 12-minute presentations of their business plan, then answer questions from judges. They compete for $175,000 in seed capital.
Interested in attending Friday's competition or getting involved with Launchpad? Call 251-460-6479 and ask for Taylor, or email email@example.com.
Coastal Alabama has a team to root for -- Hurri-Pier & Dock Systems.
Michael Calhoun is chief executive officer of the company that developed and markets a "removable" pier held together by now-patented galvanized steel brackets that replace the wooden cross ties in traditional pier construction. When storms approach, the pier can be taken down, then later reassembled.