Propelling Entrepreneurship Students
Funding to GROW their Businesses
Crimson Venture Fund
This is how it works. Your tax-deductible donation goes into the Crimson Venture Fund. This is a restricted gift account at the University of Alabama.
Crimson Accelerator Program
Next, the money is used to fund the UA Crimson Accelerator program. It helps UA students by providing initial funding to start their own businesses. How does that work? The company gets $50,000 in addition to a summer of acceleration. In exchange the University gets six percent equity which creates an ecosystem of sustained support for the fund which helps new companies go through future accelerators.
What Happens When a Company Hits the Jackpot
The money made by any wins goes back into the Crimson Venture Fund. This means your money gets stretched. Your investment leads to the acquisition of additional funds that can be used for more accelerator programs, or it can help students in other ways focused on learning entrepreneurship.
The Alabama Entrepreneurship Institute Story
At The University of Alabama, the Alabama Entrepreneurship Institute (AEI) has been growing businesses, creating jobs, and providing students with opportunities to engage in real-world experiences. Entrepreneurship work ramped up in 2016 when a team of faculty and alumni began getting ready to move into and manage The EDGE, a brand new, high technology 26,300 square foot incubator and accelerator.
The Alabama Entrepreneurship Institute (AEI) developed a growth and expansion strategy to
- find innovators and entrepreneurs
- build businesses and
- grow businesses
River Pitch a 3-Minute Business Idea Pitch Competition
Over the last five years, we can see the results of the growth work of AEI.
- 2016 - Dr. Theresa M. Welbourne hired as the Will and Maggie Brooke Professor in Entrepreneurship and Executive Director of Alabama Entrepreneurship Institute (AEI). Theresa joins a group of faculty across the University who have been working on entrepreneurship, supporting student business owners, and expanding resources on campus.
- 2017 - Edward K. Aldag, Jr. supports the expansion of the annual business plan competition with a $50,000 grand prize that helps accomplish priority #1 = finding innovators and entrepreneurs. The annual competition expands to 40 teams. The first annual River Pitch (3-minute business idea pitch) competition is added.
2021 Aldag First Place Winners: 210 Diagnostic Solutions
- 2018 - Community business competition added; student competition expands.
- 2019 - February - Grand opening of The EDGE; first summer Crimson Entrepreneurship Academy (CAE, a pre-accelerator) offered. Numerous workshops, learning events and networking programs held at The EDGE. First pilot accelerator program. Darryl Robinson accepted the role as chair of the newly formed AEI advisory board, leading a group of UA alumni dedicated to helping support entrepreneurship on campus.
- 2020 - The COVID-19 year - the competitions continue virtually. Added the first faculty and staff pitch competition. Summer pre-accelerator run virtually. The pre-accelerator has had a 77% success rate to date - helping to meet AEI’s second strategic goal of building businesses. Accelerator initiative on hold due to the pandemic.
- 2021 - 55 student teams compete in the Aldag business plan competition; over 20 faculty / staff submit to compete in the pitch competition. The summer Crimson Entrepreneurship Academy was back in person at The EDGE with 25 students representing 19 teams. Accelerator program funding begins with a crowdfunding campaign to meet the 3rd strategic goal of helping students grow their businesses.
2021 Crimson Entrepreneurship Academy
AEI has had success in finding innovators and entrepreneurs; success in helping them build their businesses BUT we now need your help in propelling our entrepreneurs with funding to GROW their businesses.
We are raising $1,000,000 dollars to help entrepreneur students grow and accelerate their businesses. We are launching the UA Crimson Venture Fund, and it will provide the finances to run the Crimson Accelerator Program, which we piloted in 2018 and 2019. After our success we are ready to go with our first cohort.
The AEI team is looking for volunteers who can help coach students to meet milestones in the program. They also need judges, guest speakers and individuals who can help out in numerous other ways. If you want to be part of the success story, please email Dr. Welbourne and get involved today.
Entrepreneur Spotlight: Reboot Reforestation
2021 Aldag Business Plan Competition Grand Prize Winner
Reboot Reforestation (2021 Aldag Competition Grand Prize Winner)
Reboot Reforestation aims to plant 1 billion trees by 2030 using innovative drone technology!
Drone Reforestation, Ecological Surveys, and Conservation
Reboot Reforestation has partnered with The National Oceanic and Applications Research Center to develop a seed scattering device to attach to heavy lift drones for efficient and cost-effective reforestation and restoration even in hazardous terrain. Reboot Reforestation offers ecological surveys of ecosystem health, productivity, dump sites, coastline dynamics, plant species, and invasive species. Reboot Reforestation is partnering with Coldwater Gardens to establish a gopher tortoise sanctuary in a restored longleaf pine savanna ecosystem.