MONTGOMERY, Alabama – After getting a shout out on Thursday, new policies designed to strengthen Alabama’s innovation economy are ready to drive growth and make a long-lasting impact.
Governor Kay Ivey hosted a commemorative bill signing ceremony at the State Capitol on Thursday for two key pieces of innovation legislation passed during the 2021 Legislative session.
These bills — backed by the Alabama Innovation Commission, the first high-level statewide panel to focus on entrepreneurship, technology and innovation — aim to shape the future of entrepreneurship in the state.
“Innovation is a key part of Alabama’s past, present and future,” Governor Ivey said. “I’m thrilled to be celebrating the passage of forward-thinking legislation which will enable sustained growth for Alabama’s businesses.
“I applaud the commission’s work and their leadership which will continue to advance the state and drive a diverse, resilient economy,” she added.
Commission members, entrepreneurs, and lawmakers joined Governor Ivey to commemorate the enactment of Alabama’s new innovation policies.
“These innovation policies will serve to advance our economy in meaningful ways, creating more technology-based jobs and growth opportunities in all corners of the state.”
House Bill 540, sponsored by Rep. Bill Poole of Tuscaloosa, created the Alabama Innovation Corp., a public-private partnership tasked with growing the state’s technology and innovation ecosystem.
House Bill 609, sponsored by Rep. Jeremy Gray of Opelika and Sen. Rodger Smitherman of Birmingham, created the Innovate Alabama Matching Program that the Innovation Corp. will oversee. The program will match federal awards to Alabama-based Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) recipients.
“These innovative, smart policies will shape the future of Alabama and exponentially increase Alabama’s competitiveness in a global economy,” said Rep. Poole, chair of the commission.
“Through Governor Ivey’s leadership, the Alabama Innovation Commission continues to collaborate and develop groundbreaking opportunities that will put Alabama on the map as a leader in innovation,” he added.
Greg Canfield, Secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce, said the Alabama Innovation Corp. and the Innovate Alabama Matching Program represent new tools that can help boost statewide entrepreneurship, rural businesses, R&D activities and new tech capabilities.
“These innovation policies will serve to advance our economy in meaningful ways, creating more technology-based jobs and growth opportunities in all corners of the state,” added Secretary Canfield, who serves as an Innovation Commission advisory council member.
Future steps for the commission include delivering a report of key findings on how to continue to grow Alabama’s innovation economy and tech-related industries. The report, due to the Governor by Oct. 31, will highlight policy recommendations to support and grow Alabama’s innovation economy.
“The commission consists of some of the most talented innovators, private sector experts and policymakers from across the state, and our work will help grow technology accelerators and early-stage companies, ultimately creating a 21st century workforce that is ready for Alabama’s next generation of jobs,” said Sen. Greg Reed, who serves as vice chair of the Alabama Innovation Commission.
“We’ve experienced success over the past year, and our work is just beginning,” he said.