BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) – State leaders hope to keep your kids in Alabama after they graduate college. His plan is to give millions of dollars in grants to small businesses. It’s benefiting local business owners who market modern technology, as well as the state’s regional and national economic footprint.
The Alabama Innovation Corporation, or Innovate Alabama, announced the first round of small business recipients of the Innovate Alabama Supplemental Grant Program, awarding more than $4.5 million in grants. 31 awards were presented to 30 winners in six Alabama cities.
“We want these businesses to stay in Alabama,” said state Rep. Danny Garrett. “They are technology-based companies and they will be able to grow their businesses in the state. Companies that have new ideas, some of them are related to technology or product development.”
Garrett is a member of Innovate Alabama and said each company awarded in this round has already received federal grants, so each can get up to $250,000.
“Of the 30 companies that received these awards, nine were women-owned and minority-owned,” Garrett said. “We want to attract these companies here. We want people here who have those ideas. There’s a network of these people across the state, we want to encourage them to stay in Alabama and support it.”
Innovate Alabama supplemental grant winners are located in Tuscaloosa, Birmingham, Bessemer, Huntsville, Auburn and Mobile. Garrett said the new scholarship program will encourage young college graduates to stay in Alabama, with their new ideas.
“We want them to stay here,” he said. “They like living here. They like what the state has to offer. We just don’t have the investment network for that vehicle in place, so this is another way to retain college graduates.”
Each company has 18 months to use the grant money, and Garrett said it will be in the state legislative budget each year.
The Alabama Legislature has appropriated an additional $5 million for fiscal year 2023 to provide a second round of grants to eligible Alabama small businesses. Applicants must have a Phase I or Phase II SBIR or STTR grant that was active as of July 1, 2022. The application portal is expected to reopen in 2023.
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