2,000 Participate in inaugural Innovation Week Birmingham

2,000 Participate in inaugural Innovation Week Birmingham

IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Dave Rickey: 205-241-8102 (office); 205-482-8811(cell)
Lauren Cooper: 205-241-8127 (office); 205-910-3215 (cell)
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – October 2, 2014 – More than 2,000 participants in 14 events, 77 speakers and $250,000 in startup capital awarded – those are the results of the first annual Innovation Week Birmingham, presented by al.com. Last week’s events centered on Birmingham’s rich ecosystem of trade groups, organizations and initiatives that support the regional innovation community.

The strong attendance is a great testament to the quality of the events held during Innovation Week Birmingham, as well as the exceptional efforts of all the Innovation Week partners to produce those events, said Steven Ceulemans, vice president of innovation and technology for the Birmingham Business Alliance.

“The first-ever Innovation Week Birmingham was a tremendous success and sets the stage for even bigger and better future editions to come,” he said. “Many Innovation Week events drew record crowds, validating the value of a unifying ‘Innovation Week’ to shine a spotlight on our innovation community. It was an honor working closely with all of our partners in organizing this milestone initiative and I look forward to many more opportunities to work together.”

Partnering to coordinate Innovation Week Birmingham events were the Birmingham Business Alliance, TechBirmingham, Innovation Depot, Birmingham Venture Club and Alabama Launchpad.

Innovation Week Birmingham concluded on Friday, Sept. 26, with the Alabama Launchpad Innovation and Entrepreneurship Conference in downtown Birmingham, where five statewide finalists of the startup competition Alabama Launchpad received $250,387 in startup funding. Four of those companies are from Birmingham and received a total of $163,387 in funding. All local companies participated in the Spark mentoring and coaching program for local finalists, coordinated by the Birmingham Business Alliance.

“Innovation Week was an astounding success,” said Greg Sheek, director of Alabama Launchpad, a program of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama. “It demonstrated the collaborative spirit that organizations dedicated to building and supporting entrepreneurship embrace daily. The truth is that Alabama has been building a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem for many years. Innovation Week provided Birmingham an excellent vehicle to make visible the innovation taking place every day.”

The Birmingham community should expect a larger and more energized Innovation Week in the years to come, said Devon Laney, president and CEO of Innovation Depot.

“Birmingham’s technology and innovation community received a tremendous amount of exposure and momentum during Innovation Week,” he said. “Birmingham’s innovation community was fully engaged and on display, with thousands participating in the week’s 14 events. This is another tool our community can use to show the world what Birmingham has to offer as Innovation Week grows in future years.”

For a list of last week’s events, visit www.InnovationWeekBirmingham.com.