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:



Where do they rank? Alabama's best graduate schools
Ryan Phillips Digital Producer-Birmingham Business Journal
March 12, 2015

The job market is becoming increasingly competitive and seeing more students continue education at the graduate level. But which universities topped the rankings for the best schools in individual fields? 

U.S. News and World Report recently released its rankings of the best graduate schools, and several Alabama institutions made the cut in the different categories.


Nursing stood out the most among Alabama universities, with four master's programs around the state finishing on the list. UAB topped schools in Alabama for nursing graduate programs, ranking 13th overall.





Snapshots: 60 Seconds... With Greg Canfield, Alabama Secretary Of Commerce

Posted by: BF Staff |
 March 11, 2015 | 

Greg Canfield, Alabama Secretary of Commerce

BF: What were the key factors that convinced Polaris Industries to put its new $127-million manufacturing facility in Huntsville?


GC: Huntsville was an ideal fit for Polaris on several levels. Polaris has a strong culture of engineering and manufacturing excellence. Huntsville is a center for technology and innovation-it's where the Saturn V rocket and the Lunar Rover were developed. Huntsville can deliver a skilled workforce for advanced manufacturing, and it offers a strong logistics network for transporting products. Those factors were important to Polaris. The bottom line is that Huntsville was attractive to Polaris for many of the same reasons the city appealed to Remington. Alabama offers a business-friendly environment, a top-rated workforce training program in AIDT and a support system of local and state officials that helps companies find success.


BF: Alabama is in the process of overhauling its economic development incentives. What can we expect to see in the new Accelerate Alabama Jobs Incentives Package?




[Business Facilities]




Have a business idea? University of Alabama holding second Startup Weekend 

By Patrick Rupinski
Business Editor
March 11, 2015 

The University of Alabama will hold its second Startup Weekend for would-be entrepreneurs on March 27-29. 


The event is open to college students and area residents. Participants will form teams during the three-day event to bring their business ideas to life.

"This is a great opportunity for students or anyone in the community who has ever thought about starting their own business to come and present their ideas and get the help they might need to move forward," said J. Michael Hardin, dean of UA's Culverhouse College of Commerce. "I am always telling students: 'Need a job? Create one.' And Startup Weekend is just the type event to spark that entrepreneurial spirit."


The 54-hour event will bring together those with technical backgrounds and business backgrounds to help entrepreneurs find merit to move ideas forward. From the initial pitch to the final presentation to a panel of judges, teams will design and develop business models in a risk-free environment where everyone is expected to dive in.










Local investor weighs in on Birmingham's venture capital climate
Alan Alexander Reporter-Birmingham Business Journal
March 12, 2015

Increasing venture capital activity in Birmingham has been a hot topic among the city's business leaders.


In our past coverage of the issue, we've heard how the reduced visibility of Birmingham's capital-ready assets have hindered the amount of venture capital flowing into the metro.


Bob Crutchfield, general partner at Harbert Venture Partners, shares that sentiment. He said Birmingham and other parts of the state including Hunstville and Mobile have the resources that VC firms are looking for, but lack the cohesion between public and private entities that ultimately promotes the visibility and sustainability of high-growth companies.




[Birmingham Business Journal]






Alabama Drug Discovery Alliance targets research breakthroughs

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama - Promising new therapies for debilitating diseases like diabetes and Parkinson's are stemming from drug discovery work taking place in Alabama research facilities - an effort that's getting a $2 million infusion from two insurers.


At the center of this high-potential research is the Alabama Drug Discovery Alliance (ADDA), a unique collaboration between development teams at Southern Research and the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The ADDA provides the infrastructure and support to expedite the search for new insights and treatments.


Last month, Birmingham-based Protective Life and its parent Dai-ichi Life Insurance Co. of Japan announced plans for community giving that included the $2 million donation to the drug discovery partnership. That's on top of $1 million ADDA gift from Protective in 2014.









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Val Walton
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