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Here is today's summary of economic development news, a free service of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, representing Alabama's private sector investment in economic development.  If you enjoy NewsFlash, thank an EDPA Partner


In this issue:
Statewide businesses compete for Alabama Launchpad funding support
Alabama Department of Commerce to conduct Canada export meetings
Production of first Alabama-made Acura to begin next month; watch its New York debut (video)
University of South Alabama's entrepreneurship center hosting alternative funding workshop April 5
Goodbye crumbs, dog hair and wayward french fries: Honda outfits Alabama-made minivan with built-in vaccum
Alabama getting more tornado recovery aid
NEWS RELEASE: Coastal Alabama Partnership Provides Regional Focus...For Baldwin and Mobile Counties



Statewide businesses compete for Alabama Launchpad funding support
By Kelli Dugan | kdugan@al.com 

on March 27, 2013


The Alabama Launchpad Start-up Competition will - for the first time in its seven-year history - host a second funding round beginning April 22.


Greg Sheek, Launchpad programs director, called the 2013 second round "history making," noting it "underscores how big the desire for early-stage support is in Alabama."


"There are lots of great ideas and startups across the state, and with a second competition round, we can help even more ideas become real businesses that create jobs," Sheek said.


For the unacquainted, Alabama Launchpad is the brainchild of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama Foundation that allows "pre-seed" companies to compete in an entrepreneurial-infused environment for their share of $100,000 in start-up funding. Competitors must prove their commercial relevance to a five-judge panel comprised of entrepreneurs, investors and corporate stakeholders.






Alabama Department of Commerce to conduct Canada export meetings
March 26, 2013

MONTGOMERY, Alabama - The Alabama Department of Commerce and the Alabama Export Alliance will conduct a series of seminars on April 9 and 10 in Huntsville, Birmingham and Mobile to help companies learn how Canada is a lucrative market for Alabama exports.


Keynote speakers - Frank Carrico, Commercial Consul for the U.S. consulate General in Toronto, and Mike McMurrary of Nova Scotia Business Inc. - will discuss how to successfully do business in Canada and how participating in the Southeastern United States-Canadian Provinces Alliance (SEUS-CP) conference provides a unique opportunity to connect with business leaders, grow businesses and build new markets.


"While Canada is just across our northern border, it is important to remember that it is an international market," said Hilda Lockhart, director of International Trade for the Alabama Department of Commerce. "It does have its own set of unique trade customs and regulations but has proven to be a lucrative market for Alabama businesses."

Canada was Alabama's No. 1 export market in 2012, with $3.9 billion in state-made goods shipped to that country.


 Canada's consul general in Atlanta was in Alabama this month to promote expanded trade between his country and the state.














Production of first Alabama-made Acura to begin next month; watch its New York debut (video)
By Dawn Kent | dkent@al.com 
on March 27, 2013

Honda's Talladega County plant will begin production of customer-ready Acura MDX SUVs next month, the first model built in the state for the Japanese automaker's luxury brand. 

The redesigned 2014 production model was unveiled today at the New York International Auto Show (Watch the video). Here's a quick rundown of everything you need to know about the latest addition to Alabama's auto assembly lines.


New features: The updated MDX is lower, lighter and more aerodynamic than its predecessor, losing an inch and a half of height and 275 pounds.  For the first time, it comes in a two-wheel drive option, in addition to all-wheel drive.










University of South Alabama's entrepreneurship center hosting alternative funding workshop April
By Kelli Dugan | kdugan@al.com 
on March 27, 2013

MOBILE, Alabama - Whether you're a fledgling startup, a struggling nonprofit or an established company looking to diversify funding sources, the Melton Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation will have you covered April 5.


"Where is the Money," the center's inaugural entrepreneurial funding event, will host presentations and workshop sessions focused on debt, equity, and alternative sources of funding.


Mark Weaver, executive director for the center, said the event will feature 12 financing organizations, representing funding sources that can provide from $500 to more than $2 million.


The cost is $50 per person and the event will last from 1 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Attendance will be limited, however, to the first 75 to register. The workshop will take place in Room 265 of the University of South Alabama's Mitchell College of Business.









Goodbye crumbs, dog hair and wayward french fries: Honda outfits Alabama-made minivan with built-in vacuum
By Dawn Kent | dkent@al.com  
on March 28, 2013 
Honda's ultimate mom-mobile, the Odyssey minivan, is getting a makeover.

This week at the New York International Auto Show,the Japanese automaker is showing off an updated version of the model, which is produced at its Talladega County factory.

The 2014 Odyssey Touring Elite, the top-of-the-line minivan, has a key new feature: an in-vehicle vacuum system developed in conjunction with Shop-Vac.


Called HondaVAC, the system includes a vacuum, replaceable filter and canister bag, which all fit into a dedicated storage space in the minivan's rear cargo area. Its electric motor doesn't need an outlet or recharging; it can run continuously while the engine is running and continue up to eight minutes after it's turned off.










Alabama getting more tornado recovery aid 

Mar. 27, 2013


MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Alabama is getting nearly $120 million in federal assistance to help with recovery from the deadly tornadoes in April 2011.


Gov. Robert Bentley announced Wednesday that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will provide the state government with $49.2 million to distribute to recovery projects. Tuscaloosa will get $43.9 million, Birmingham $17.5 million, and Jefferson County $9.1 million.


"There are still several communities suffering from the long-term effects of the 2011 storms," Bentley said. "This funding will go a long way in helping these communities recover."


Bentley visited Washington in September to seek more federal assistance.









NEWS RELEASE: Coastal Alabama Partnership Provides Regional Focus
For Baldwin and Mobile Counties

MOBILE, AL...Coastal Alabama Partnership (CAP), a not-for-profit organization led by a diverse, volunteer group of private sector civic and business leaders in Baldwin and Mobile counties, has unveiled plans for identifying, prioritizing and addressing regional challenges and opportunities.

This strategic alliance positions CAP as an incubator for developing and supporting major initiatives to move the region forward and into the global marketplace. The organization grew out of recovery efforts from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster and the need for a central point of contact for issues affecting the region-from economic development and infrastructure to tourism and environmental concerns.

"Our organization is focused on providing a platform for regional leaders to convene, collaborate, build consensus and advocate for Coastal Alabamaʼs top priorities," says Wiley Blankenship, President and CEO of CAP. "With all of us working together, Coastal Alabama has limitless potential to become a truly prosperous and
globally competitive region."

With a population of nearly 608,000 (2013 US Census projections), the combined metropolitan statistical areas for Mobile and Baldwin counties is the second largest in Alabama and accounts for 13 percent of the stateʼs population. As Baldwin is the stateʼs largest county in land area, the two counties combined cover nearly 2,830 square miles. In addition, Coastal Alabama accounts for 33% of annual visitor spending for the entre tourism industry in Alabama.
 In 2011, the region outpaced visitor spending along Floridaʼs Emerald Coast (Destin/Fort Walton) by more than $100 million.
The founding entities that envisioned and structured CAP include a broad cross section of stakeholders. Those organizations are: Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce, Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce, Baldwin County Economic Development Alliance, Alabama State Port Authority, Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism, Mobile Bay Convention & Visitors Bureau, Alabama Gulf Coast Area Chamber of Commerce, Mobile Airport Authority, and South Baldwin Chamber of Commerce. Each of the founding entities appointed a representative to sit on the Board of Directors. The board also includes three at-large members.
"This is an exciting time for Coastal Alabama as a region and an exciting opportunity for this partnership to bring everyone together while championing our area as a desirable destination to work, live and play," adds CAP Board Chair Sheila Hodges. 

Contact: Wiley Blankenship
251-436-8822; wiley@coastalalabama.org 



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