Innovation Depot Supports Alabama Start Ups
The Kauffman Foundation believes that the state of Alabama has been slow in terms of forming new businesses. To support this fact, the foundation stated that from 2012 to 2017, Alabama received less than 5 percent of venture funding provided to the Southeastern region.
However, Birmingham’s Innovation Depot is attempting to reverse this trend. The Innovation Depot is the result of an active collaboration between the public and private sectors in Alabama. It has provided startups in the region with programs to improve their business and build a support network. Opened in 2007, Innovation Depot’s 140,000 square foot building is the largest tech hub in the region.
The CEO of the facility, Devon Laney, has stated that the depot was revamped from an abandoned Sears building to encourage startups to grow and to productively utilize the empty space. Innovation Depot employed multi-pronged strategies to bring different stakeholders on board. These stakeholders included tertiary institutions and government agencies, and raised a whopping $15 million. With this contribution, they were able to bring the facility back to its feet. The annual economic impact report from the Depot shows that over a period of five years, $1.66 billion in returns has been achieved and 1,000 new jobs have been created. Various investors from around the country, including Apple, have also been attracted to the Innovation Depot and have further provided support to the startups.
While Alabama has relatively high unemployment, poverty and low wages, it is now believed that over time, the number of startups in Alabama will increase and through research and development and innovation, the state will be in a much better position.