Overview – Startup Competition



Core to the evaluation process for ALP is the volunteer judge. Judging Alabama Launchpad is a prestigious and rare opportunity to give back to your community and support the Alabama economy.

Who Alabama Launchpad looks for as judges

Alabama Launchpad uses a judging panel comprised of five individuals representing investors, entrepreneurs, and corporate stakeholders of varying experience from across the state. The judging panel remains the same through each phase of the competition.

Detailed qualifications needed to judge an Alabama Launchpad competition:

  • Have business connections in the state
  • Have proven experience in an area relevant to judging start ups including
    • An entrepreneur
    • An investor
    • A mentor to a startup company
    • A professional in a field relevant to starting a business
    • An employee at a high-growth start up
    • A corporate executive influential in purchasing services
  • Be willing to stand behind your decision of the Launchpad finale winner

Judge roles and responsibility

Judges are expected to

  • Attend meetings and pitches
  • Review and score online applications based on evaluation criteria
  • Deliberate and make final decisions on the finalist and prize amounts
  • Provide feedback to each entrant
  • (Optional, but highly encouraged) Join the Judges Alumni LinkedIn Network

EDPA staff support and guide the judging process, but do not make final decisions on awards. We believe judges are best able to make these decisions and trust that judges will do so fairly.

The value of judging

Alabama Launchpad is always in search of qualified judges interested in giving their time and talent to support the Alabama Startup community. Judges are considered a steward of Alabama Launchpad and the state of Alabama and are entrusted with picking the best ideas and companies for support. As a result, judging launchpad is a prestigious and exclusive activity.

That said, judging is also a lot of fun! Judges not only are able to see a wide variety of companies but are able to work with other forward thinking leaders in the state and “geek out” on ideas. At the very least, we can guarantee that judges will have great conversation topics post judging launchpad.

As two judges describe:

As a judge for Launchpad I really enjoyed learning about new businesses and meeting the people behind those ideas.  Alabama has a strong network of successful entrepreneurs throughout the state. There’s a real passion and commitment from the entrepreneurial community and Launchpad helps add fuel to that effort. I was honored to be a part of Launchpad and look forward to watching these young companies succeed. Steve Davis, Director, Stonehenge Capital

I’ve been honored to be a judge for Alabama Launchpad. It’s inspiring to hear from the candidates and it makes me a better a CEO. And I’ve gained some good friends by meeting the other judges. Peggy Sammon, CEO, GeneCapture

To view some of the past judges of Launchpad, go our judges alumni network

Judge time commitment

We strive to keep the time commitment a light as possible for judges, recognizing that they are volunteers. Most judging can be done virtually and following structured templates. Judges must attend a few in person meetings and dinners and are given ample notice to arrange their schedules.

Time estimates:

  • Judges meetings are usually face-to-face and take approximately 2 hours.
  • Deadlines for business plan review, feedback preparation and team response are normally 7-14 days.
  • The initial review for the concept track will take approximately 3 weeks.

For more information regarding the judging process or on how to become a judge, please contact:

Mary Hope Garmon