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Alabama Power Foundation, Economic Development Partnership of Alabama join forces for social impact entrepreneur pitch competition

Putting a new spin on its impressive record of growing Alabama startups, the Alabama Launchpad is seeking entrepreneurs intent on making a positive impact on society through their business to apply for its inaugural Social Impact Competition.

Applications are now open for the next round of the program, created by the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama (EDPA). Alabama Launchpad affords entrepreneurs weeks of coaching, networking and one-on-one mentoring, culminating in a pitch competition before a packed house with $25,000 on the line for best concept and $50,000 for best seed-stage venture.

Alabama Launchpad has helped fund more than 100 startups. (contributed)

This time, the competitors will be Alabama entrepreneurs who have a concept or a seed-stage startup focused on making a positive impact on the community. Participants must meet criteria related to their social impact, in addition to meeting other standard requirements of Alabama Launchpad.

The application deadline for the Alabama Launchpad Social Impact Competition is Sept. 15.

The pitch competition finale is slated for Dec. 8.

“We’re thrilled to invite businesses and entrepreneurs who want to make a positive difference to apply for our first-ever Alabama Launchpad Social Impact Competition,” said Miller Girvin, executive vice president of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at EDPA. “This is a growing movement among startups and entrepreneurs in Alabama, and we’re excited to tap into the trend for our upcoming Launchpad.”

Since its inception in 2006, Alabama Launchpad has helped fund more than 100 Alabama startups, with over $5.8 million in investments by EDPA. Those startups have gone on to grow their businesses to a combined valuation of around $850 million, according to EDPA.

Alabama Launchpad continues to nurture local entrepreneurs. (contributed.)

The Alabama Power Foundation, which has been growing its involvement in social impact investing, is supporting this round of the Alabama Launchpad.

“We see tremendous potential in the power of impact investing as an innovative approach to philanthropy that can both support the state’s growth while helping improve quality of life for Alabamians,” said Hallie Bradley, the foundation’s manager of Strategic Initiatives.

Impact investments, crafted in partnership with entrepreneurs and nonprofit organizations, provide an opportunity for the foundation to earn a return on its resources, Bradley said. Those resources can then be redeployed in the community for even greater impact. Learn more about the foundation’s impact investing here.

The foundation has also been closely involved in the creation of the Alabama Benefit Corporation Association, which provides expertise and resources to companies interested in becoming certified as benefit corporations in Alabama.

Benefit corporations, also known as B Corps, are for-profit enterprises that also have a public benefit as part of their mission. State lawmakers recently approved legislation for companies that want to become Alabama benefit corporations. 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.

“We encourage Alabama entrepreneurs and startups who fit the benefit corporation model to get in on the competition,” said Estes Hughes, Innovation and Talent director at EDPA.

To learn more about the latest Alabama Launchpad competition, view the social impact criteria and to submit an application, click here.