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Innovation Showcase Day connects entrepreneurs, tech start-ups with industry leaders, investors

Updated: Apr. 29, 2021 at 8:01 AM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Thursday is Innovation Showcase Day in Montgomery, putting Montgomery’s tech and innovation industry in the spotlight.

A full day of events has been planned to bring industry leaders, lawmakers, investors, and others to connect and learn about potential partnerships with the city.

Organizer’s of Montgomery’s Innovation Showcase Day are working as part of a statewide effort that started in 2020 when Gov. Kay Ivey created the first statewide commission on entrepreneurship and innovation. The effort is known as “Innovate Alabama.”

“The charge to the commission is to identify policies, practices, strategies to grow our innovation, sector, entrepreneurship technology, and knowledge-based jobs across the state in a coordinated and strategic manner,” explained Rep. Bill Poole, (R) Tuscaloosa, who chairs the commission. “And so the Commission’s charge is to determine how to do that and to make recommendations and the Commission has issued a number of interim recommendations.

Poole says some of those recommendations are moving through the legislative process as we speak.

“Some of those recommendations were not necessarily requiring legislation, they were more regulatory or otherwise just strategic for the state in terms of marketing or other points of contact,” Poole added.

Montgomery has become a hot spot for tech and innovation. A number of public-private partnerships are in place to attract, recruit, and retain talented people and their companies: Riis Technology is part of the Montgomery TechLab, has partnered with Alabama State University, and was awarded a grant in the Science Technology Transfer program. STTR is a very competitive program that connects small businesses to federal research and development.

“We, for the last three months have gotten extensive exposure and training in the accelerator program,” Riis Technology CEO Andrew Gardner explained being in Montgomery is opening a lot of doors for his start-up company.

“Now the next nine months of this program, we’re going to be here,” Gardner said. “We’re going to be engaging with community members. We’re going to be engaging with the research community at ASU. We’re going to be engaging with the Air Force. And because of this partnership, now we are going to put back the things that we’ve been given. And so there’s a real humble responsibility.”

Montgomery’s Innovation Showcase Day coincides with the Montgomery TechLab Demo Day/Pitch Night. These events will bring State legislators, Hoover Institute Fellows, Tech Industry Stakeholders, Academia, Investors, and tech startups into Montgomery’s tech and innovation district to connect, engage and learn about our initiatives, partnerships and potential.

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