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:

North Alabama startup companies win $190,000 in Launchpad competition
December 11, 2015

It was a big day for four startups at the Alabama Launchpad Startup Competition Thursday at Lincoln Mill in Huntsville.

Companies from Huntsville, Madison and Florence all took home several thousand dollars after leaders pitched their business strategies to a panel of judges. The biggest winner was Vital Metrix -- a Huntsville company looking to provide cardiologists a non-invasive, at-home heart monitoring system for their patients. CEO Alton Reich accepted a $100,000 check from Alabama Launchpad after judges spent approximately one hour deliberating the five proposals. Reich says this money will help speed up clinical trials in hopes of receiving FDA approval.

"It definitely would have been pushed back further [without the money]," Reich explained, "This is probably going to shave three or four months off the whole process."


Calhoun receives $200,000 in job-training grants
By Mary Sell Montgomery Bureau | 
December 11, 2015

Calhoun Community College will receive two $100,000 grants to help it train more utility line workers and increase the number of apprentices in its advanced manufacturing training program.

The school applied for the grants through the Appalachian Regional Commission.

Calhoun President James Klauber on Thursday said the seven-week, non-credit line worker program is currently offered twice a year.


Birmingham's Daxko buys Texas software company
on December 10, 2015 

Birmingham software company Daxko has bought a Texas firm that makes software for non-profits and fitness and recreation centers. 

The acquisition of CSI Software, a Houston company, expands Daxko's customer base. Daxko also makes software for health and wellness clubs. 

"Our two companies have been familiar with each other over the last decade, but with very little overlap in terms of the segments of the market we serve," Daxko CEO David Gray said in a statement. "This acquisition expands our product portfolio and our market opportunity, both of which will strengthen us as a business partner to the benefit of all of our combined customers." 


Virginia Transportation project will mean 53 new jobs for Talladega
By CHRIS NORWOOD, Home staff writer
December 10, 2015

The Talladega City Council voted 4-0 Thursday evening to approve a tax abatement for Virginia Transportation Corporation, the company responsible for fueling and equipment support for a new CSX rail hub that will move finished Hondas from the plant in Lincoln.

Councilman Jarvis Elston was absent.

According to a memorandum to the council from City Manager Patrick Bryant and finance Director Teri St. James, "The company expects to invest $2,470,000 in the project and initially employ 53 individuals."


Shared costs to Alabama employers drops to zero for first time in nearly 25 years
on December 09, 2015 

Shared costs to Alabama employers have dropped to zero for calendar year 2016, the Department of Labor announced.

This is the first time this has happened since 1991.

"This reduction in taxes for Alabama's employers is great news," Alabama Department of Labor Commissioner Fitzgerald Washington said. "It's been almost 25 years since employers haven't paid anything in shared costs. Hopefully, employers will be able to turn those tax savings into new jobs for Alabamians."


Eastaboga Site receives AdvantageSite designation
BIRMINGHAM, Ala., December 11 - The Eastaboga Site in Oxford has received the Alabama AdvantageSite designation. 
The AdvantageSite program requires that community economic development organizations provide documentation specific to a proposed industrial site, including a set of standard data related to ownership/control, environmental and geotechnical conditions, and infrastructure status. Sites must also meet size, zoning and accessibility requirements.   
The 130 -acre site is accessible via John Willis Avenue, which connects to U.S. Highway 78 and leads directly to Interstate 20. All utilities are either on-site or nearby.
The application process was managed locally by the Calhoun County Economic Development Council
with a team of local entities supporting and/or participating in the process.
EDC Chairman Larry Deason said the organization is pleased to announce that this site will be the second AdvantageSite in the area.
"The Alabama AdvantageSite program offers prospective businesses peace of mind that all due diligence has been performed on the site, and that it is ready to be fully developed within a short time frame," Deason said. "We are proud of the work performed by our staff, members of the community and other business entities who have ensured that the process of receiving the AdvantageSite designation was smooth and accurate. Receiving this designation is a boon not just for Oxford, but for all of Calhoun County and demonstrates that we are a proactive community ready for business and industry. We look forward to expanding the AdvantageSite program within our community as we prepare more sites." 
AdvantageSite is a teamwork approach between the private sector and state and local governments geared toward having prepared product and materials ready for industrial prospects. Alabama now has 46 active AdvantageSites through out the state.
The program is jointly sponsored by the Alabama Department of Commerce, Alagasco, Alabama Power Co., the North Alabama Industrial Development Association, PowerSouth Energy Cooperative, and coordinated by the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama. Representatives from each of the entities actively participate in application reviews and on-site visits to prospective AdvantageSite designees.
AdvantageSite is a voluntary industrial site preparedness program created in order to make the state more competitive for companies considering a location in Alabama.  Twenty-one projects have located on sites with AdvantageSite designations since the program's inception in 2008. These projects represent the creation of more than 4,000 jobs and $900 million in capital investments.
Please click here for more information about the AdvantageSite program.

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