Alabama Launchpad + Alabama Power Foundation team up for new Social Impact Competition

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Alabama Launchpad
Applications for Alabama Launchpad’s next competition close this Thursday! Apply today. (Nathan Watson / Bham Now)

Alabama Launchpad—a program of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama (EDPA)—has teamed up with the Alabama Power Foundation to launch the first statewide Alabama Launchpad: Social Impact Competition. Designed for entrepreneurs who want to make a positive impact through their startup, the Social Impact Competition aims to foster economic growth and social impact in Alabama.

Applications for Alabama Launchpad’s Social Impact Competition close September 15! Click here to apply today.

What is Alabama Launchpad?

Alabama Launchpad
Alabama Launchpad invests in the growth of the state’s most promising startups. (Nathan Watson / Bham Now)

Established in 2006, Alabama Launchpad is the state’s most active early seed funding source, having invested over $5.8 million in nondilutive funding in 110 startups throughout Alabama. Today, that investment has grown to a combined post-money valuation of over $850 million—and has generated over 1,120 jobs across the state.

During the Alabama Launchpad competition, finalists are divided into two groups.

  • Finalists in the concept stage are usually pre-revenue and compete for $25,000
  • Finalists in the early seed stage are looking to accelerate the growth of their existing business and compete for $50,000.

Over the course of the competition, Alabama Launchpad offers entrepreneurs access to robust one-on-one mentorship with experts in a variety of business functions, known as Launch Advisors. These Launch Advisors assist the finalists in business operations, planning and pitch preparation for the final competition and beyond.

Introducing Alabama’s Launchpad’s Social Impact Competition

Alabama Launchpad
(Alabama Launchpad)

For the third competition cycle of 2022, Alabama Launchpad has teamed up with the Alabama Power Foundation to put a new spin on the program. This cycle will focus on Alabama entrepreneurs dedicated to making a positive impact on their community.

“While there are many examples of successful companies benefiting the public good, the COVID-19 pandemic cultivated a more prevalent mindset of doing good while also doing well. Over the past couple of years, we have seen a number of companies go through Alabama Launchpad that fit what we consider having a ‘social impact,’ so we thought it would be interesting to focus an entire cycle on it. Our friends and partners at the Alabama Power Foundation had a similar interest, so we joined forces!”

Miller Girvin, Executive Vice President of Innovation & Talent, EDPA.

Fun fact: The Alabama Power Foundation has recently aided the creation of the Alabama Benefit Corporation Association of Alabama. This organization provides expertise and resources to companies interested in becoming certified as benefit corporations, which are for-profit enterprises that also have a public benefit as part of their mission.

“The Alabama Power Foundation was a natural partner for this focus area with our growing involvement in social entrepreneurship through impact investing, as well as through support for the creation of the Alabama Benefit Corporation Association, which provides expertise and resources to companies interested in becoming certified as benefit corporations in Alabama. There is tremendous potential in the power of social entrepreneurship and impact investing as an innovative approach to philanthropy that can support the state’s growth while helping improve quality of life for Alabamians.”

Hallie Bradley, Manager of Strategic Initiatives, Alabama Power Foundation
Alabama Launchpad
Previous judges & winners of Alabama Launchpad. (Nathan Watson / Bham Now)

What kind of entrepreneurs are Alabama Launchpad and Alabama Power Foundation looking for in this Social Impact Competition? According to Hallie Bradley, startups and entrepreneurs applying for the new Alabama Launchpad competition must meet the standards outlined in the new benefit corporation law regarding their business models:

In accordance with Alabama’s benefit corporation statute, public benefit is defined as ‘a positive effect, or reduction of negative effects, on one or more communities or categories of persons (other than stockholders solely in their capacity as stockholders) or on the environment, including effects of an artistic, charitable, economic, educational, cultural, literary, medical, religious, social, ecological, or scientific nature.’ A company need not be an official benefit corporation to apply for the Competition.”

Hallie Bradley, Manager of Strategic Initiatives, Alabama Power Foundation

In this cycle of the Competition, the judges will evaluate the participants’ potential to create social impact, in addition to economic impact, in Alabama. Participants will also have specific mentorship and guidance related to maximizing their businesses social impact.

This competition is looking for companies that have social impact as a core piece of their business model and mission. It is not targeted towards companies who use a small portion of their budget to give to charity. It’s the difference between TOMS shoes or Patagonia – scalable companies with social impact missions – and other companies which provide valuable jobs, sponsor charitable events or do philanthropic work, but do not integrate that into the core of the business.

Miller Girvin, Executive Vice President of Innovation & Talent, EDPA.

Last Call — Apply to Alabama Launchpad’s Social Impact Competition Today

Alabama Launchpad
Alabama Launchpad’s Miller Girvin and Dr. Karim Budhwani, CEO of Cerflux and a previous winner at Alabama Launchpad. (Nathan Watson / Bham Now)

We are excited to meet some new faces in Alabama’s entrepreneurial scene! We know there are some amazing ideas out there that can turn into scalable, high-growth companies, but they also have a wonderful social impact angle to them. If this sounds like something you’re working on, Alabama Launchpad is open for applications for a few more days.

Miller Girvin, Executive Vice President of Innovation & Talent, EDPA.

Does your startup meet the requirements of Alabama Launchpad’s new Social Impact Competition? Act fast—applications close September 15th! Click here to apply today.

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Nathan Watson
Nathan Watson

Senior Content Producer at Bham Now

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