TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The University of Alabama has been awarded a $1.4 million grant from the Alabama Power Foundation to support business innovation, entrepreneurship, small business growth and talent retention in the state.
The gift, which will establish the Alabama Power Endowed Innovation and Talent Retention Fund, will develop and sustain resources dedicated to business innovation and entrepreneurship, creating a lasting positive economic impact on the state of Alabama and its citizens. Managed through the Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development, the fund will enhance existing efforts while empowering the University to identify new ways to inspire and support a new wave of business growth in the state with a specific focus on talent retention.
“We appreciate the strong partnership with the Alabama Power Foundation and our shared vision for what this fund will aim to accomplish,” said Dr. Russell Mumper, UA vice president for research and economic development. “Talent retention is a core theme of the office’s five-year strategic plan and aligns very well with the University’s public flagship mission.”
The University of Alabama is committed to ensuring student and faculty entrepreneurs thrive by providing access to cutting-edge resources and expertise necessary to innovate and accelerate bold new ideas in business and technology. In recent years, UA’s role in start-up and small business has become the focal point for innovation and entrepreneurship within the state and region.
The University has amplified its suite of resources for entrepreneurs with new and expanded business incubators and accelerators. These resources include The Edge, an impressive incubator and business accelerator partnership between the University, the West Alabama Chamber of Commerce and the City of Tuscaloosa; The Cube, where students and faculty are free to explore ideas with cutting-edge technology at their fingertips; and the Bama Technology Incubator, which helps transform patentable inventions into products that benefit society. The Alabama Power Endowed Innovation and Talent Retention Fund will provide discretionary support for the continued operational enhancement of these resources, among others.
“Through this partnership between the Alabama Power Foundation and The University of Alabama, UA will continue impacting business development and growth opportunities that benefit all Alabamians,” said UA President Stuart R. Bell. “This collaboration further demonstrates the University’s commitment to economic development and the entrepreneurial spirit, and we’re grateful for Alabama Power Foundation’s support of our academic endeavors.”
The partnership aims to enhance current entrepreneurship and business curricula, support University initiatives and create incentives for students who wish to remain in the state after graduation. The Alabama Power Endowed Innovation and Talent Retention Fund will assist the University in continuing to enhance its mission, which in turn will help to strengthen the economic development interests of the state.
“We greatly appreciate the timely investment of the Alabama Power Foundation in support of economic development programs at The University of Alabama,” said Alabama Power Western Division Vice President Mark Crews. “This gift will not only build on The Cube and The Edge, but also help power Dr. Mumper’s efforts to open a new chapter in innovation and talent retention for this area.”
The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.