On Wednesday, October 12th, the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama (EDPA) announced the 10 finalists that will be competing for a portion of $75K in seed funding at the Alabama Launchpad: Social Impact Competition on Thursday, December 8.
Keep reading to learn more about the finalists and click here to learn more about watching the competition live.
About Alabama Launchpad: Social Impact Competition
Not familiar with Alabama Launchpad? A program of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama (EDPA), Alabama Launchpad drives innovation and job growth in the state through multiple startup competitions each year. In fact, Alabama Launchpad is the state’s most active early seed funding source, having invested over $5.9 million in nondilutive funding in 110 startups throughout Alabama. Today, that investment has generated over 1,120 jobs across the state.
For its third competition of the year, Alabama Launchpad partnered with the Alabama Power Foundation to launch the first statewide Alabama Launchpad: Social Impact Competition. This new competition was specifically designed for entrepreneurs & startups that include social impact as a core piece of their business model and mission.
Meet the Finalists
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, entrepreneurs will have 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.
Concept Stage — $25,000
Monthly makes gender-inclusive, sustainable and price-accessible menstrual underwear for all people with a cycle. It is a social enterprise business that contributes a percentage of profits to charities fighting period poverty in the South.
“Being selected as a finalist for Alabama Launchpad means the world to Monthly! With the nature of our business, it is easy to be overlooked and this selection continues to validate our product and our vision for more gender inclusive and sustainable period products. Gender inclusive period products are few and far between, especially when we talk about price accessible options, so we cannot wait to compete and share our passion for change.
Aside from hoping to secure the win at the end of the competition, we are really excited to connect with the other businesses and learn about their stories alongside growing Monthly. Entrepreneurship is hard and being able to compete, get mentorship, and progress alongside other founders creates an amazing atmosphere for innovation; an atmosphere that will help all of us excel!”Aiko Pickering, Founder, Monthly
Rachel Fry Consulting is focused on helping lawyers be successful. Through clinical psychology work with hundreds of lawyers, the company has identified “gap” areas and teaches essential tools needed to thrive in the legal profession.
“Alabama Launchpad’s Social Impact Competition is a tremendous opportunity for my company to move forward, to start a project I’ve been wanting to implement for a long time—one that will help stimulate conversation, reduce mental health stigma, and lead to lawyers thriving personally and professionally. My hope is that I’ll gain insight and feedback from experts in the entrepreneurial space and then apply this knowledge to fine tune my services to create positive change in the legal profession.”Rachel Fry, CEO, Rachel Fry Consulting
Oasis Family Birthing Center aims to reduce poor maternal health outcomes for low-income women and birthing people of color in Alabama by increasing access to comprehensive midwifery care. Founder Heather Skanes, MD is dedicated to uplifting her community and provides a wide range of obstetric and gynecology services, from birth control and pregnancy care to infertility and menopause treatment.
OMNIS is a financial services app for the unbanked and underbanked to allow access to capital and building credit. The company is currently partnered with First Independence Bank, GreenWood, Regions, Wells Fargo and Bank of America, as well as with nonprofit, Care International.
“OMNIS is extremely appreciative to be selected as an Alabama Launchpad finalist. This opportunity gives our company the chance to reach a broader audience and allows us to reach out to and help the very community that raised our founders. Financial hardship affects us all at some point in our lives, and OMNIS is our way of helping our community in a meaningful way. We hope to take away knowledge on how to expand as a company and how to extend our reach to more than the local community, because OMNIS has the potential to close the gap in socioeconomic disparities in minority communities by building credit and bringing more people and capital into the market.”Zakariya Veasy, CEO, OMNIS
Generational Systems is developing the world’s first low-cost metal 3D printer! While most metal printers are expensive, hazardous and difficult, Generational System’s technology provides an affordable, safe and easy-to-use option for anyone to own and operate.
“We are extremely grateful for the chance to compete, as we believe Alabama Launchpad offers us a chance to learn and grow from the early stages of a start-up to a more mature company. We are excited to learn under mentors with so much experience in every area from finances to sales, and are eager to identify where we can improve. We are hopeful that through Launchpad, we will emerge better equipped to launch our product successfully, with a better understanding of our next steps as first-time entrepreneurs.”Michael Knotts, COO/Founder, Generational Systems (Gene-Sys)
Seed Stage — $50,000
Pearl’s has identified an effective way to train and employ a marginalized community: students with disabilities. Through its pop-up restaurant, which serves breakfast, brunch and lunch, Pearl’s is showcasing the results of its approach in workforce development.
“Pearl’s Cafe is so excited about being selected as an Alabama Launchpad finalist! What that means to us is that there are others out there that believe in our business model and mission of promoting the employment of people with disabilities. Besides taking home the grand prize, we hope to connect with other businesses that are making a social impact in Alabama. We also look forward to working with experts to improve our business and help us make our vision a reality.”Wendy Lawless, Pearl’s LLC
Reboot Reforestation uses drones to plant trees, deliver herbicide and monitor ecosystems faster and more affordably and with less labor than their competitors. The company utilizes drones to deliver proprietary seedballs to restoration areas to plant longleaf pine trees.
“We are incredibly grateful and honored to be selected as finalists for Alabama Launchpad’s Social Impact Competition. We are thankful for the mentorship, support, and time of our mentors, judges, and guest speakers. We look forward to this opportunity to take our company to new heights. We hope to gain valuable feedback to improve our business model, first-class mentorship, professional development, and expand our network.”Dalton Morris, CEO, Reboot Reforestation
Birmingham-based technology start-up Smart Solutions believe that individuals with disabilities should be able to live a barrier-free life. That’s why they promote independent living using smart home technology, creating a pathway to autonomy.
“Being selected as an Alabama Launchpad finalist validates our company mission to serve individuals with disabilities. Persons with disabilities are a significantly underserved population and are often marginalized in our society. We believe that Alabama Launchpad gives us a platform to share our vision of transforming the long term care model using technology supports and sharing how these technologies can improve outcomes in peoples lives.
The competition provides us with an excellent feedback loop on many aspects of the business. The Alabama Launchpad seminars are a great way to gain valuable insights and mentoring from a wide range of business leaders in our community. We are looking forward to participating in Alabama Launchpad activities over the next 2 months to see how we can further evolve as a company.”Kevin Braswell, CEO, Smart Solutions
S.C.H.O.O.L.S (Success Can Happen Out Of Low Scores) provides coaching and a roadmap to prepare students for standardized tests through achievement-building activities, while infusing elements of character into K-12 and collegiate curriculum frameworks. Their goal? To prepare students to score high on the ACT and SAT, so each person can pursue the goals they desire.
“At S.C.H.O.O.L.S. our team eradicates intergenerational poverty from student loan debt by providing high-quality, cost-effective test prep as a workforce development solution. We turn test avoiders into test attackers, often raising scores 10X the national fee-for-service test prep average for 1/10 of the cost of national vendors in a fraction of the time. As we are currently in a growth pattern, we hope to take away from the competition the ability to further develop and enact our scaling plan with metrics. Our goal is to add to our current staff of academic coaches by hiring more scholars, scholar-athletes, retirees, and veterans, expanding the Alabama workforce from within the State!”Valencia Belle, Founder, S.C.H.O.O.L.S.
Kaya—a San Francisco-based company that recently moved to Birmingham—is building the next generation of workplace mental health culture. Led by Founder and CEO Corey Anand, this company is changing how workplaces access mental health services through group care that is more accessible, affordable and inclusive.
“Being selected as an Alabama Launchpad finalist is an excellent opportunity for our company to accelerate our mission to make mental health care more affordable, accessible, and inclusive. We are thrilled Alabama Launchpad has selected us as a company striving to make a positive social impact in Alabama and beyond. We look forward to collaborating with Launchpad’s mentors and advisors to help strengthen our business model, build brand awareness, and help build meaningful partnerships.”Corey Anand, Found and CEO, Kaya
- Kaya: Website
Learn more at the Alabama Launchpad Cycle 3 Finale, December 8
On December 8, these 10 startups will compete for a portion of $75K in funding—so you don’t want to miss the Alabama Launchpad: Social Impact Competition!
The finale will be held in the Auditorium of the Alabama Power Headquarters—you can stay stay up-to-date on the event details by following Alabama Launchpad on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Which startups do you think will win Alabama Launchpad’s Social Impact Competition? Tag @alabamalaunchpad on social media to let them know!