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The University of Alabama

UA, College of Commerce Host Event for Budding Entrepreneurs

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Got a business idea? Pitch your business plan to a panel of experts in a 54-hour event to find out if you have what it takes to become an entrepreneur. The University of Alabama’s Culverhouse College of Commerce STEM Path to the MBA Program is hosting a hands-on entrepreneurship workshop, Startup Weekend, to help jumpstart business ideas.

“It’s like speed dating for entrepreneurs,” said Dr. Rob Morgan, executive director for Innovative Initiatives in the Culverhouse College of Commerce. “The event might even be compared to the television show “Shark Tank” where budding entrepreneurs are given the opportunity to turn their ideas for a product or service into reality by presenting quick pitches to experts.”

The event is Sept. 26-28 in the South Engineering Research Center on The University of Alabama campus and is open to anyone in Alabama or surrounding states who wants to pitch ideas for a new product or service.

“We are excited to be hosting this event where we can help students and the community develop business ideas,” said Dr. J. Michael Hardin, dean of the Culverhouse College of Commerce. “Innovation and creating jobs is part of our mission here at Culverhouse. We plan to continue hosting these type entrepreneurial events and, who knows, we might just find the next Bill Gates or Steve Jobs.”

Startup Weekend is a global organization with a network of leaders and entrepreneurs that hosts 54-hour weekend workshops for aspiring entrepreneurs who can immediately find out if their business ideas are viable. It provides a platform for developers, designers, marketers, product managers and startup enthusiasts to inspire business ideas, present to a panel of experts, form teams and potentially launch startups.

The event starts Friday evening with open-mic pitches where a panel of leaders and entrepreneurs will select the top 10 to 15 ideas. The individuals selected will then have the opportunity to build on their ideas and form teams from other participants in the workshop. Sunday evening, the teams continue developing their ideas, demonstrating their prototypes and getting feedback from the panel.

According to Startup Weekend’s website, more than 36 percent of startups are going strong three months after the weekend and, on average, half of the attendees have design or technical backgrounds while the other half have business backgrounds. Local tech and startup leaders will participate in the weekend as coaches and judges.

Learn more about Startup Weekend at startupweekend.org and register online Tuscaloosa StartUp Weekend. The registration fee is $50 through Aug. 27 and $85 afterward. Students’ registration fee is $25.

Sponsors for the weekend event are the West Alabama Chamber of Commerce, Alabama Power, Randall Reilly, Chick-fil-A, Domino’s Pizza and the JamisonMoneyFarmer accounting firm.

The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.