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:

Google Fiber is bringing its ultra-fast Internet service to Huntsville
on February 22, 2016 

Google Fiber is bringing its gigabit-speed, fiber optic Internet and television service to Huntsville, Mayor Tommy Battle announced today.

Starting in mid-2017, Google will begin connecting homes and small- to mid-sized businesses to the Internet at speeds up to 1 gigabit per second - up to 85 times faster than average current speeds in the United States. Citywide service is expected in four years.

"If you're going to have a high-tech community," Battle said, "if you're going to be able to address the new workforce that's out there, you're going to have a lot of people who want to work from home - mothers and fathers with children, biotech people - who are going to need high-speed Internet service."


5 growing startups to advance to Alabama Launchpad event this spring
on February 22, 2016 

Five startups from Birmingham, Mobile and Anniston will vie for up to $250,000 this spring during an Alabama Launchpad competition in Florence.

The Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, which hosts the event, will allow teams to participate in a startup finale April 7 on 500 N. Pine Street in Florence. Select companies will take home funding at the competition to grow their small businesses.

The following teams were chosen to advance in the competition last week during a live-pitch event in Birmingham:


Video: West Alabama Continues Economic Growth
FEBRUARY 19, 2016

LAMAR COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI) -On Friday a big announcement was made in Lamar County, Alabama.

Hyster-Ster Yale Group is expanding in Sulligent.

Over the past year, 12 million dollars has been invested in new machine technology and a new transmission assembly line at the facility.

Local leaders are also talking about ways to bring more jobs to the west Alabama county.


Economic Incentives RetooledNew incentives freshen Alabama's array of economic development tools
February 2016
When Alabama reached into its economic incentive toolbox in the early 1990s, the state pulled out a hammer. On the strength of an incentives package worth nearly $240 million, Alabama surprised most observers by becoming the site of the first Mercedes-Benz automobile assembly plant in the United States.

Two decades later, however, Alabama's incentive toolbox looked largely the same, while many of the neighboring states in the Southeast had come up with bigger and stronger hammers. So after several years of planning, the 2015 state Legislature approved new economic development incentives designed to keep Alabama competitive when it comes to attracting and maintaining businesses.

"For years, Alabama was one of the most competitive states in the country, particularly in the Southeast," says Rick Davis, senior vice president of economic development for the Birmingham Business Alliance. "What's happened is, our sister states haven't been sitting back watching us win without doing something about it. They've gotten more competitive as the years have gone along. So we had to get stronger."


College to generate a 'highly skilled workforce' in automated manufacturing
Written by  Nicole Smith
Feb 20, 2016

Bevill State Community College has announced the development of a new Career Pathway Academy to train area juniors and seniors in automated manufacturing.

Sophomores in Walker, Fayette, Tuscaloosa and Winston counties can apply for the BSCC academy, and will complete training during their junior and senior years at either the Sumiton or Fayette campuses.

Bevill State President Dr. Larry Ferguson said the program was formulated as a result of Yorozu Automotive breaking ground in Jasper.


Downtown Decatur comeback started with redevelopment push from local citizens
By Bayne Hughes Staff Writer
February 21, 2016 

After an era almost devoid of retail and restaurant activity, downtown Decatur has made an epic comeback.

The revitalization started with the formation of the Decatur Downtown Redevelopment Authority, coupled with the construction of the Alabama Center for the Arts. Downtown redevelopment efforts started in 2002.

Between 2010 and 2015, the city's historic retail district netted 83 new businesses and made an estimated $26 million in capital improvements, while public construction spending reached $35 million, Redevelopment Authority Executive Director Rick Paler said.


Entrepreneurial center name change possible
By Bernie Delinski Staff Writer | 
February 22, 2016 

FLORENCE - For some, the initials immediately bring to mind college football, while others envision a federal regulation entity.

Officials with the Shoals Entrepreneurial Center said that's the issue you face when your organization goes by the initials SEC.

At the same time, they want to promote the fact the organization is much more than a business incubator. That's why center officials are interested in changing the name of the nearly 25-year-old entity.


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