State offers $4.5 million grant to tech-focused small businesses

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) – State leaders hope to keep your children in Alabama after they graduate from college. Their plan is to give millions of dollars in grants to small businesses. This benefits local business owners who commercialize modern technologies as well as the state’s regional and national economic footprint.

The Alabama Innovation Corporation, or Innovate in 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 prizes were awarded to 30 winners in six cities in Alabama.

“We want these businesses to stay in Alabama,” said state Rep. Danny Garrett. “These are technology-based companies and they’re going to be able to grow their business in the state. Companies that have new ideas, some of which are related to technology or product development. »

Garrett is a member of Innovate Alabama and said each company awarded in this round has previously received federal grants, so each can get up to $250,000.

“Of the 30 companies that received these awards, nine were women- and minority-owned,” Garrett said. “We want to attract these companies here. We want people here who have those ideas. There is a network of these people across the state, we want to encourage them to stay in Alabama and provide them with support to do so.

The Innovate Alabama supplemental grant winners are located in Tuscaloosa, Birmingham, Bessemer, Huntsville, Auburn, and Mobile. Garrett said the new grant program will encourage young college graduates to stay in Alabama, along with their new ideas.

“We want them to stay here,” he said. “They like living here. They love what the state has to offer. We just don’t have the investment network for that vehicle in place, so that’s another way to retain college graduates.

Each company has 18 months to use their grant money, and Garrett said it will go into the state legislative budget each year.

The Alabama Legislature has allocated 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 on or after July 1, 2022. The application portal is expected to reopen in 2023.

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