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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:
Treasury program helps Alabama provide $24.1M in small biz loans
Huntsville listed among 8 up-and-coming tech hubs in the U.S. by Austin-based startup
Fitch affirms Port Authority's bond rating, changes outlook to positive
Brown-Forman Stevenson mill project finds 'natural fit' in Northeast Alabama
Area begins blitz toward symposium
EDPA launches program to help Alabama small businesses land lucrative federal grants
OHSAS 18001 Standard Information Sessions Offered





Treasury program helps Alabama provide $24.1M in small biz loans
Antrenise Cole Reporter-Birmingham Business Journal
Mar 6, 2014

Alabama is among the states leading the nation in deploying funds through the U.S. Department of the Treasury's State Small Business Credit Initiative.


The SSBCI's new quarterly report shows that Alabama agencies have deployed $24.1 million, as of Dec. 31, to support small business lending and investment.


That represents 77 percent - the ninth highest usage rate in the country - of the state's total SSBCI allocation of $31.3 million.



[Birmingham Business Journal]




 Huntsville listed among 8 up-and-coming tech hubs in the U.S. by Austin-based startup

 March 06, 2014

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama - Is the Rocket City an aspiring Silicon Valley? An Austin-based company ranking America's eight up-and-coming tech hubs seems to think so.


SpareFoot shined the spotlight on Huntsville in a blog post today highlighting the country's top emerging tech cities.

In the listing, SpareFoot praised Huntsville for placing 14th last year on Entrepreneur.com's 25 best U.S. cities for technology startups list. 


The city was also lauded for having a "startup mover and shaker" like BizTech and "feather in its cap" like Cummings Research Park.










 Fitch affirms Port Authority's bond rating, changes outlook to positive

on March 06, 2014 

MOBILE, Alabama -- Fitch Ratings affirmed its previous "BBB+" rating for revenue bonds issued by the Alabama State Port Authority, the agency announced Wednesday.


The outlook for the Port Authority's $303.5 million facility changed from from stable to positive on the account of recent diversification of revenue with the opening of its steel handling facility on Pinto Island and strong debt service payments, the agency said.


Alabama State Port Authority Director Jimmy Lyons said he would have like to have seen an upgrade in their creditworthiness.


"We think we've come a long way since they last rated us, Alabama State Port Authority Director and CEO Jimmy Lyons said. "Our cash position is much more solid than where we were."











Brown-Forman Stevenson mill project finds 'natural fit' in Northeast Alabama

Author Gerri Miller

STEVENSON, Alabama - Almost two years ago, Brown-Forman Cooperage, a subsidiary of the company that makes Jack Daniel whiskey, opened a mill in Stevenson to produce oak staves for the whiskey barrels that help give the liquor its distinctive taste.


Since that time, Bob Russell, the company's manager of mills and wood procurement, said the Louisville, Ky.-based Brown-Forman Corp. has had a great relationship with the city and its people. He is confident that the company, which studied dozens of possible sites in the Tennessee Valley region, found the ideal location for the mill.


Stevenson, which stands on the edge of the Tennessee River in north Alabama's Jackson County, has advantages that make it a natural fit for a variety of manufacturers. The town of about 2,000 residents is located within a two-hour drive to Birmingham, Atlanta and Nashville, and just 45 minutes from Chattanooga, Tenn. It's only minutes from two interstate highways, and the four-lane U.S. Highway 72 extends to Huntsville, one hour away.








Area begins blitz toward symposium

By Lance Griffin

 March 6, 2014


There will be music, golf, food and relationship-building later this month when the U.S.-China Manufacturing Symposium finally makes its way to Dothan.


 The city's mayor said Thursday he plans to take part in all the festivities, but stressed the primary reason for hosting the symposium.


"Jobs," Schmitz said Thursday. "Made in China is OK, I guess, but we want made in Alabama."


People instrumental in organizing and preparing for the upcoming symposium began a blitz of the area Thursday. Almost 100 residents came together Thursday in a rare joint meeting of the Abbeville and Headland chambers of commerce to learn about the symposium and how to position Henry County to benefit.




[Dothan Eagle]







The Economic Development Partnership of Alabama is launching a new program to boost the success of Alabama's entrepreneurs receiving the highly-competitive, federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grants.


The federal government awards more than $2 billion in grants annually to advance research into real small businesses. In 2012, Alabama companies received just over $40 million.


Beginning March 28, Alabama Launchpad will host workshops across the state to assist Alabama's small businesses in securing more of these grants. 


Writing assistance is available now for companies in the process of writing or resubmitting SBIR/STTR proposals. If you know of any companies or entrepreneurs that could benefit from writing assistance, please pass along this information.  


Click on Alabama Launchpad SBIR/STTR Program for an overview, for workshop locations and for details of writing assistance.














OHSAS 18001 Standard Information Sessions Offered


The Occupational Health and Safety Management System, internationally known as OHSAS 18001:2007, is quickly becoming the latest requirement among automotive suppliers. 


Two free information sessions on OHSAS 18001 are being offered to Alabama businesses - Huntsville (March 19) and Tuscaloosa (April 10).  


The Alabama Technology Network (ATN) and the Alabama Manufacturers Association (AAMA) are sponsoring the sessions. Each information session provides an overview of the standard and the process by which ATN is assisting Alabama companies in implementation. The agenda will include standard compatibility, implementation, and safety & health management. These events are free to attend and registration is required. 


More Information/Registration:













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Enjoy the day, 

Val Walton
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