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Economic Development Partnership of Alabama 2023 Year-End Review

Feb 4, 2024

The EDPA team thanks all of our economic development allies for such meaningful partnership in 2023! It was a wildly successful year for economic development in Alabama, and it has set the table for 2024  and beyond. At EDPA, our goal is to be a valued partner for our economic development allies and investors. Below is a quick glimpse into some of our 2023 contributions that we believe we can build upon throughout 2024.

The outline below provides highlights within each of our five pillars, including:

  • Generating Business Attraction Leads
  • Conducting Economic Development Research & Business Intelligence
  • Supporting Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • Attracting and Retaining Talent
  • Developing Economic Development Policy

Lead Generation

EDPA generates business leads and pursues opportunities on behalf of the state and local economic developers.

Generating Leads by the Numbers:

  • 53 new leads for Alabama
  • 18 leads became economic development projects

2023 Highlights:

  • Strategically targeting alumni of Alabama universities in executive level positions with prospective companies proved extremely effective, resulting in project opportunities in medical device, data centers, forest products, pharma, consumer durables and automotive.
  • Leveraged data and analysis from the Alabama Business Intelligence Center to identify the best opportunities with prospective companies and determine factors most important to their location decision.
  • Developed a comprehensive strategy for the EV Battery sector in conjunction with the Alabama Department of Commerce and the Alabama Mobility and Power Center (AMP).
  • Met with target companies at industry conferences and trade shows, developing leads we continue to pursue, as well as immediate project opportunities.

Most Active Sources of Leads:

  • Alumni from Alabama colleges and universities
  • Targeted trade shows
  • Relationships with site selection consultants and executives
  • EDPA website

For more information, please contact Steve Sewell (

Economic Development Research

EDPA’s Economic Development Research team serves as the clearinghouse for data collection and distribution for public officials, local and corporate economic developers and companies interested in doing business in the state.

2023 Highlights:

  • Touched 164 economic development projects evaluating Alabama. Please be on the lookout for The Alabama Department of Commerce’s comprehensive, new and expanding industry report in the coming months.
  • Most active sectors: Aerospace, Automotive, Beverage & Food, Chemical, Forest Products, and Metals & Advanced Materials.
  • Involved in the launch of the Site Evaluation Economic Development Strategy (SEEDS) as administrator of the grant program. EDPA staff fielded calls, participated in trainings and site visits and organized the review of applications.
  • Continued supporting the Alabama Department of Commerce and Innovate Alabama by working with Economic Development Organizations to promote the Growing Alabama and Innovating Alabama tax credit programs. EDPA started outreach efforts to ensure the ongoing and future success of these programs.
  • Continued to support the maintenance and enhancement of the statewide industrial property database Advantage Alabama with improvements such as, proposal manager which will allow users to email and store project-related documents on active properties.
  • Completed the data compilation of several NAICS codes to populate an Industrial Database for use in RFP/RFI responses and strategic site recommendations in partnership with JSU’s Center for Economic Development and Business Research.

For more information, please contact Lauren B. Hyde (

Alabama Business Intelligence Center (AL BI Center)

To support statewide efforts for the recruitment and retention of business in Alabama, EDPA launched AL BI Center in June of 2022. Internally, AL BI Center provides cross-functional support for EDPA’s Lead Generation and Economic Development Research pillars.

2023 Highlights:

  • Produced industry research and associated target company research to support forestry, EV/battery, chemical, biotech and agribusiness state business attraction initiatives.
  • Created a proprietary database of innovative companies targeted as Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant recipients.
  • Researched more than 200 executives and their companies to identify almost 100 business development targets; including the targeted university alumni initiative referenced in lead generation (See Lead Generation section above).
  • Completed 53 due diligence reports on companies actively considering a location in Alabama.
  • Tracked 55 public companies doing business in Alabama, providing timely insights on shifts in business trends.

For more information, please contact Lauren B. Hyde (

Innovation and Entrepreneurship

EDPA works with Alabama entrepreneurs, researchers, investors and other ecosystem builders to provide mentorship, connections and seed capital to contribute to the development and success of high-growth, scalable businesses.

Alabama Launchpad

EDPA completed the 17th year of the state’s oldest and most prestigious business plan competition.

2023 Highlights:

  • 73 applicants throughout three cycles
  • 31 finalists received more than 600 hours of mentorship and technical assistance from Launch Advisors
  • Six winners (three concept and three early-seed stage) were selected and awarded at total of $225,000 in non-dilutive prize money ($25,000 for concept stage winners/ $50,000 for seed stage winners)
  • From the program’s inception, in total, EDPA’s investment of over $6.2M has resulted in 116 Alabama Launchpad winners who have created over 1,400 jobs and have a post-money valuation of $1B.
  • Throughout 2023, Alabama Launchpad engaged Lewis Communications in refreshing the Alabama Launchpad brand and launching a new website, which can be found here, along with additional information about the program and details for 2024.
  • The magnitude and impact of Alabama Launchpad could not be possible without the generosity of our sponsors: Innovate Alabama, the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Alabama Department of Commerce, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama’s Caring Foundation, Truist Foundation, Wells Fargo Foundation, and the Daniel Foundation.

Demographic Breakdown of Alabama Launchpad Applicants

Other Innovation Programming

  • Continued partnership with Innovate Alabama, including providing administrative and programmatic support for the SBIR/STTR Supplemental Grant program. At the end of 2023, that program had delivered $9.76M to 52 companies that will continue to grow in Alabama. These dollars have contributed to significant success stories for Alabama startups, from hiring additional employees to relocating a portion of operations to Alabama and winning larger contracts from the federal government.
  • Entrepreneurship 101 Workshops:  Recognizing that many potential entrepreneurs in Alabama, particularly those in rural areas, don’t have the resources or nearby examples to know the fundamentals of starting a successful company, EDPA will utilize an ARC grant to partner with two organizations to offer basic entrepreneurship education around the state. EDPA is using ARC funding to pursue in-person workshops in Etowah, Morgan, and Macon counties with Auburn University and working with a national organization, Builders + Backers, to provide virtual workshops in 15 other areas through funding from Innovate Alabama. EDPA conducted one in-person workshop in 2023 and will complete 19 workshops in 2024 between in-person and virtual offerings.
  • HBCU Innovation Internship: Nationally, the tech sector is notorious for its lack of diversity, but EDPA believes that the number of competitive HBCU students in Alabama could diversify its tech workforce and grow the startup ecosystem. To drive this change, EDPA is working with several accelerators, incubators, and startups, along with four Alabama HBCU’s, to match students to semester-long internships at innovative organizations. Together, EDPA and its partners recruited and matched seven students for internships in 2023, and those internships are beginning now throughout the Spring Semester of 2024. EDPA and partners will be conducting Professional Development sessions along with the work outline interns follow at their internships. At the end of the semester, all students will present their long-term project to the group of employers and peers.

For more information, please contact Miller Girvin (



FuelAL, developed as a talent retention brand of the EDPA, has historically focused on showcasing Alabama’s communities to current college students. Over the past two years, EDPA has worked to educate students on life in Alabama’s wonderful cities and towns, along with professional opportunities to keep them there.

2023 Highlights:

  • Hosted over 430 key stakeholders at the 2023 Governor’s Summit on Talent and Work-Based Learning, the second statewide, talent/workforce development conference designed to inform and create a collaborative environment for educators, economic developers, and companies.
  • Partnered with Innovate Alabama to align FuelAL summer programming with the Goal and Recommendations of the Innovate Alabama commission report.
  • Scaled FuelAL, in partnership with Innovate Alabama, developing and executing engagement across the state – through 9 distinct communities – reaching over 440 summer interns to immerse themselves in the cities where they worked. The communities involved in the 2023 programming were:
    • Birmingham
    • Huntsville
    • Baldwin County
    • Mobile
    • Tuscaloosa
    • Auburn
    • Montgomery
    • Dothan
    • Calhoun County
  • FuelAL hosted two weekend Summits for college students – one to The Shoals and one to the The Wiregrass—designed to build relationships between students and introduce them to a new part of Alabama. Both weekends attracted high-quality students, who took advantage of the opportunity to meet local business leaders, engage in social activities and immerse themselves in the region’s culture. The students were receptive to the idea of living in Alabama and the trips opened their eyes to new regions of the state.
  • The program proved beneficial in supporting research which indicates engaging talent with a community’s professional and lifestyle opportunities is a key driver in choosing a professional destination and resulted in several fellows accepting full-time positions in the state.

For more information on FuelAL, please contact Audrey Ferguson (

ALEX: The Alabama Experience

What is ALEX? It’s an 800 square foot mobile career expo that travels across the state of Alabama and beyond to connect career seekers to opportunities in Alabama AND showcase why it’s a great place to live, work and play. The mobile unit highlights several of Alabama’s leading industries and the employment opportunities within each sector. Also, it provides guidance on a career path in the construction industry with its partners through Trades Future.

2023 Highlights:

  • ALEX operated 18 activations across the state of Alabama, featuring some of Alabama’s premier career opportunities.
  • ALEX engaged with thousands of career seekers and students at several Universities and Career Centers.
  • ALEX provided understanding on how to obtain the necessary training and skill requirements for each opportunity.
  • ALEX provided guidance on financial aid and the resources related to education and training.
  • ALEX showcased the starting salaries and benefits for the highlighted career opportunities.

For more information on ALEX, please contact Tony Quillen (

Economic Development Policy

EDPA recognizes the importance of shaping future economic development policies and promoting the utilization of existing ones as key to Alabama’s economic success as federal and state policies continue to evolve.

2023 Highlights:

  • Secured more than $15M of State income tax credit purchasers from private companies to enable local and regional economic development partners to utilize Innovate Alabama and Growing Alabama Tax Credits to: develop needed public infrastructure; execute business accelerator programs; initiate regional revolving loan funds; and implement other innovation-related economic development initiatives.

  • Administered the SEEDS program for the State Industrial Development Authority. SEEDS is a new $40M State program, designed to support the assessment and development of new industrial parks and sites.

For more information, please contact Greg Barker (

EDPA welcomed three new investors this year: Schoel, SmartBank, and Westervelt.Joining forces for economic growth, over 140 local economic developers from Alabama and EDPA investors gathered at EDPA’s annual workshop on December 8, 2023, at Ross Bridge. The event delved into the strategies employed by EDPA and its partners to “prepare and pursue” economic development opportunities, in sync with EDPA’s five pillars. The workshop used case studies on the Electric Vehicle Industry for examples. The content of the presentations is available for download through this link here.

EDPA will host another workshop in December 2024. Please email if you are interested in being on the list.

Thank you for your partnership in 2023, and we look forward to building on these successes in 2024.




About EDPA

EDPA is a private, nonprofit organization, supported by more than 60 Corporate Partners. EDPA is governed by a board of directors, comprised of the state’s top business leaders, committed to the economic growth of Alabama. It supports economic development research, workforce development, talent retention and attraction, innovation and entrepreneurship, policy, lead generation and emerging businesses and community development initiatives. EDPA is the private sector’s means for contributing to Alabama’s economic development success. Its unique structure allows it to work closely with state, regional, corporate, and local organizations. In addition, it helps innovative startups and entrepreneurs Start, Stay and Grow in Alabama through Alabama Launchpad, which is a program of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama Foundation. Other programming includes ALEX (Alabama Experience) and FuelAL.


Media Contact: Audrey Ferguson

Phone: 812.760.1343



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