West Alabama leaders come together for roundtable at Stillman College

Lawmakers, entrepreneurs, college and community leaders gathered at Stillman College on Thursday to discuss common challenges and foster collaboration.

Co-hosted by Innovate Alabama and Stillman College, the roundtable focused on identifying opportunities in West Alabama to support the commercialization of locally made technology, develop an innovative, diverse workforce, and create pathways for underrepresented students and entrepreneurs.

Regional leaders discussed common challenges they are currently facing such as: B. Retaining talent to meet labor needs and expanding capital and resources to support rural and underrepresented communities in hopes of uncovering potential solutions and opportunities for collaboration.

“Innovate Alabama hopes to bridge ties and foster collaboration among college leaders, legislators and entrepreneurs across western Alabama who are all working to advance this region,” said Senator Greg Reed, president pro tempore of the Alabama State Senate and vice chairman of Renew Alabama. “We hope that through this roundtable, these leaders will learn more about similar challenges and see cross-industry synergies to solve them.”

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Home to the nation’s longest-established black colleges and universities (HBCUs), Alabama is home to 14 HBCUs, one of which is Stillman College. Founded in 1876, Stillman College is a private liberal arts institution with a mission to promote academic excellence, provide opportunities for diverse groups, and prepare students for leadership and service.

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“With a rich history of innovation and preparing for the challenges of an ever-evolving world, Stillman College is proud to serve as co-host of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Roundtable in West Alabama,” said Dr. Cynthia Warrick, President of Stillman College. “At Stillman, we recognize the importance of developing our region’s technology ecosystem to better support our students as our state’s future leaders. We also recognize that to truly move Alabama forward, we must do so inclusively by giving everyone, including underrepresented communities, a seat at the table. Through cross-sector discussions like this regional roundtable, we are well on our way to building a better Alabama together.”

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One of the college’s initiatives highlighted at the roundtable, BioGradMatch, is a grant-funded joint venture between Stillman College and Admit Academy designed to help students at HBCUs overcome mental and logistical hurdles to successfully apply to biomedical graduate programs . The tech startup is one of three Tuscaloosa companies selected as recipients of the first Innovate Alabama Supplemental Grant Program.

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Last week, leaders gathered in Athens, Alabama for the first Innovate Alabama regional roundtable focused on innovation and entrepreneurship. These are two of several anticipated roundtables being held across the state to further encourage collaboration among local leaders.

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