Coffee and Collisions brings the region’s brightest startups, founders, and influencers together at EDPA. Find out how

EDPA’s Coffee & Collisions. Where the ideas flow as freely as the Joe! Photo by Jon Eastwood for Bham Now.

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Do you have a great new business idea or enjoy networking with other movers and shakers in Birmingham? EDPA’s Coffee & Collisions events take the guesswork away from starting a new business and provide a fun and casual meeting place where the ideas flow as freely as the Joe! Find out more and mark your calendar for the next Coffee & Collisions on June 5.

The Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, or EDPA, is supported by more than 60 leading Alabama companies and organizations, and is made up of entrepreneurs and leaders from across the state.

They encourage and support new business in the region, as well as offer some big startup dollars.

Alabama Launchpad, a program of the EDPA offers four competitions each year, with $100,000 in seed funding and a $50,000 concept prize available to winning startups.

Read 6 things you need to know about the EDPA.

Coffee & Collisions

EDPA’s HQ is turned into a social hub for Coffee & Collisions. Photo by Jon Eastwood for Bham Now.

EDPA hosts Coffee & Collisions every other Wednesday at 8.30am, at their impressive Bakers Row headquarters, adjacent to Railroad Park and Regions Field.

At the free-to-attend breakfast events, you’ll hear from guest speakers and mentors, curated by the EDPA team for their business acumen. They talk; they answer questions; everyone networks – and the next event is June 5.

I attended Coffee & Collisions on May 22 and was greeted by welcoming faces and much needed caffeine. James Little of Filter Coffee Parlor provided  the delicious locally brewed coffee for the event.

James explained,

“The EDPA event helps bring people together in a great setting to network and discuss business. We have based our model at Filter on a similar basis. It’s about providing a great space that allows people to connect with each other, that goes beyond just grabbing a coffee fix.”

EDPA’s Coffee & Collisions provides a relaxed setting to meet budding and existing entrepreneurs. Photo by Jon Eastwood for Bham Now

I joined a group of fifty attendees to mingle, share ideas and sip coffee before this month’s speakers, Matt Hottle and Mickey Millsap of Red Hawk Advisory, took to the stage to deliver a ‘what you need to know’ overview of the Alabama Futures Fund.

Being an entrepreneur shouldn’t be easy

Matt Hottle and Mickey Millsap present the Alabama Futures Fund at EDPA’s Coffee & Collisions. Photo by Jon Eastwood for Bham Now

During an engaging 40 minute presentation defining entrepreneurship, Matt and Mickey defined the characteristics of different types of startups, and the different types of funding available.

The Alabama Futures Fund (AFF) provides significant funding for early-stage startups in the region.

As Mickey explained,

“AFF likes to work with adaptable and coachable founders of promising companies who have identified a significant customer problem and are working toward product market fit’.

An engaged audience at EDPA’s Coffee & Collisions. Photo by Jon Eastwood for Bham Now

Matt and Mickey explained how venture capitalists approach investments in terms of risk and confidence, and what the Alabama Futures Fund looks for when evaluating a startup team, their ideas, the market, business plans for capital, and achievements to date.

“We heard ‘no’ a hundred times before somebody said ‘yes’ to us”, Matt said, “It is hard! Being an entrepreneur shouldn’t be easy! You’re going to get told ‘No’. But keep on going!”

“Our job and our commitment to this state and to the ecosystem of the region is to make sure that everybody who contacts us is better off after, than when they came in. That doesn’t mean we invest in everybody, but what we can do is put them on the radar and offer them coaching. We can get them some information resources, put them in contact with the EDPA, we can help them submit an application to Alabama Launchpad.”

EDPA’s Headquarters at 1320 1st Avenue South. Photo by Jon Eastwood for Bham Now

Why attend Coffee & Collisions?

The coffee is great, the presentations and advice are valuable, and the attendees are awesome!

But don’t take my word for it. I asked local entrepreneurs and business leaders attending the event.

Matt Pierce and Britney Summerville attended EDPA’s Coffee & Collisions. Photo by Jon Eastwood for Bham Now

Matt Pierce, Founder and CEO of Immediate Solutions, and an Alabama Launchpad finalist, launched the ImmediatePay financial health platform as a way for employers to open up early access to earned – not yet paid – wages, at a low fixed price, through an easy to use app.

Matt explained why he attended Coffee & Collisions,

“I love these events! It’s great for networking purposes to meet new people and catch up with people around the area to find out what they’re doing. EDPA is all about bringing entrepreneurs together to grow and learn. I was particularly interested in today’s session explaining the Alabama Futures Fund. I loved finding out what they consider in terms of investments, what they like and what they don’t like. I was really able to get a baseline of what’s going on from an investment perspective”.

Britney Summerville, Vice President of Community Engagement at Shipt, explained why she likes to attend the event,

“What EDPA is doing with Alabama Launchpad and now Coffee & Collisions, in terms of introducing people that have ideas and new startups, with people like Mickey and Matt, from the investment world, is nothing short of fantastic! It’s making things happen, helping dreams become realities, helping businesses grow, and fueling the entrepreneurial ecosystem of Alabama”.

Attend the next Coffee & Collisions

Networking opportunities at EDPA’s Coffee & Collisions. Photo by Jon Eastwood for Bham Now

Coffee and Collisions is held at EDPA’s Headquarters every other Wednesday at 1320 1st Avenue South, Birmingham, 35233.

Enjoy great coffee, fantastic networking, and hear from industry leaders and mentors at the next Coffee & Collisions, June 5, at 8.30am. (Upcoming dates thereafter, June 19, July 3)

No registration is required. Just turn up and enjoy getting to know Birmingham’s movers and shakers over a coffee.

Don’t forget about Alabama Launchpad

If you’re thinking about starting an innovative, high-growth business, don’t forget about EDPA’s Alabama Launchpad. $150,000 of seed funding is available in Cycle 3 of this year’s competition – applications close June 14.

Read Bham Now’s coverage of Alabama Launchpad finales in Selma, and in Tuskegee.

Visit www.alabamalaunchpad.com to find out more.

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Author: Jon Eastwood

Originally from Wales (UK) and a fluent Welsh speaker. Longtime sustainability and recycling champion. Former county recycling manager in the UK. Career highlights include introducing innovative recycling systems and achieving a point where households throw out trash just once a month. Competed in international coastal rowing championships and followed Wales throughout Europe in their Rugby and Soccer endeavours.