Entrepreneurs praise passage of Innovate Alabama recommended bills

Alabama State Capitol
Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery, Alabama. Photo via Pat Byington for Bham Now

In the midst of debates about medical marijuana, the lottery and permanent Daylight Savings Time, the Alabama Legislature found time to pass major historic legislation benefiting innovators and entrepreneurs.

Last week, both chambers agreed on the bills, sending them to Governor Kay Ivey for her signature. The legislation would establish an Alabama Innovation Corporation and create an Innovate Alabama Matching Grant Program.

Both bills – HB540 and HB609 were bipartisan and recommended by Governor Ivey’s Alabama Innovation Commission, also called Innovate Alabama.

Establish of the Alabama Innovation Corporation & Grant Program

Miles College
Miles College partners with innovation. Photo via Miles College

In a nutshell, here is what passed:

HB540 establishes the Alabama Innovation Corporation. a public-private partnership to promote initiatives in support of statewide entrepreneurship, rural businesses, research and development at existing companies and access to advanced tech skills that will drive a modern workforce.

 HB 609  will create the Innovate Alabama Matching Grant Program to promote research and development. The program would match federal awards to Alabama-based Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) or Small Business Technology Transfer Research (STTR) recipients. 

Carter Wells, Vice President for Economic Development at the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology noted the historic importance of the legislation.

“Today is an exciting and historic day for innovators and entrepreneurs in Alabama. Last summer, Governor Kay Ivey established the Alabama Innovation Commission, who recommended vital initiatives that would improve Alabama’s innovation economy.”

“…With today’s final passage of HB 540 and HB 609, Alabama enhances its position to recruit innovative startup companies and provide new resources for founders of technology companies. All of us at HudsonAlpha are grateful to Governor Ivey for her leadership and every member of the Alabama Senate and the Alabama House of Representatives for passing these needed bills.”

He concluded stating,  “These bills will move Alabama forward and provide new opportunities for innovation to take place in our state.”

Want to Learn More

Want to learn more about the work and recommendations of  Innovate Alabama
On May 12th, they will be holding their next Commission meeting (signup here – at bottom of the webpage). We’ve got a feeling they might be celebrating the passage of the legislation and the signing of the two bills by the Governor.

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Pat Byington
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