Campus Innovators Recognized in Business Pitch Competition  

  • May 18th, 2020
Clockwise from top right, Dr. Jason Bara, Dr. Adam Houser, Dr. Silvana Croope and Dr. Jialai Wang.

This year the Edward K. Aldag Jr. Business Plan Competition had two new features: a virtual format, and a distinct innovation-focused pitch opportunity for UA faculty and staff.

Presented by the Alabama Entrepreneurship Institute, the competition has traditionally focused on growing the culture of innovation and entrepreneurship among UA students. The new faculty and staff competition was run concurrently with the student competition. A total of 15 contestants presented their business ideas during the competition.

UA’s Office for Research and Economic Development provided $10,000 for the faculty/staff competition. Furthermore, the Alabama Power Foundation sponsored an additional $10,000 grand prize for the most innovative technology-focused idea. All winners will also get in-kind business planning assistance courtesy of the AEI, in addition to support for the advancement of their ideas with access to analytical and prototype development equipment at EDGE Labs.

Winners of the 2020 Faculty/Staff Innovation Pitch Competition

Alabama Power Foundation Grand Prize

$10,000 – Upcycling of Waste Plastics
Jason Bara – Associate Professor, College of Engineering

First Prize
$5,000 – Low-cost Water Sensors
Silvana Croope – Resilience Research Engineer, Alabama Transportation Policy Research Center

Second Prize
$3,000 – Foresense Solutions
Adam Hauser – Assistant Professor, College of Arts and Sciences

Third Prize
$2,000 – Low-cost Strength Enhancer for Concrete
Jialai Wang – Professor, College of Engineering

“I am very pleased with the level of participation and the quality of ideas presented in this inaugural competition” said Dan Blakley, associate vice president for economic and business engagement, in UA’s Office for Research and Economic Development.

Dr. Theresa M. Welbourne, executive director, AEI, said, “I am extraordinarily grateful for the generous support of our partners and the hard work from everyone to make this event happen. We heard some incredibly promising ideas that, with some support either in the form of funding or assistance, would move the ideas to commercialization.

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.