Ten Birmingham entrepreneurs have been selected to participate in the summer 2023 cohort of the Builders + Backers Idea Accelerator, a program of the nonprofit Heartland Forward.
The participants were selected from more than 400 applicants.
“I am thrilled that ten Birmingham businesses will get an infusion of resources to further bring their visions into reality,” said Birmingham Mayor Randall L. Woodfin. “Our city is home to many leaders in innovation, technology and creativity and this partnership with Builders + Backers will help to expand the landscape of entrepreneurship across our city. I look forward to seeing their evolution and getting a front row seat for how their solutions will make our community better for all.”
Those chosen for the Birmingham cohort are:
- Sean Haskell – Creator of Etch, a learning platform that uses spaced repetition learning, additional context, tutorial videos and an AI tutor to help learners improve their knowledge and skills.
- Jay Johnson – Developer of the Enrollment Management Platform that leverages AI, machine learning and geo-mapping to provide tailored recommendations for colleges and universities to streamline their recruitment and retention efforts.
- Dominique Deamues – Creating blockchain solutions for data security that offer a novel approach to secure and transparent record-keeping, data sharing and collaboration.
- Shannon Rearden – Innovating the coffee world with a coffee pod thermal mug that can brew coffee on-the-go and is powered by a chargeable battery with induction heating for warming water.
- Relius Thomas – Creator of EquiShare, a platform for investing in social media influencers with user-friendly design, valuable data and security features.
- Christopher Stubbs – Revolutionizing restaurant reviews with a new platform that uses short videos to reduce the length of written reviews, minimize fake reviews and make restaurant videos more accessible to customers.
- Aubrey Bennett – Developer of a social networking platform that connects educators and coaches with schools in need, addressing the shortage of qualified individuals in urban/rural/public education environments.
- Kourtney Griffen – Creator of a party planning service that offers all necessary items in a package delivered to the customer’s door, including cakes and treats.
- Mona Lisa Morris – Using education and financial technology solutions to address college attainment and affordability for BIPOC students through cultural perspective and disruptive impact.
- Skylin Garrett – Creator of AI-powered support tools for the underserved autism community, providing personalized resources, education and community through an app or chatbot.
“Thriving small businesses and an entrepreneurial spirit are key to developing local economics and spurring economic revitalization in cities and towns across the heartland,” said Ross DeVol, president and CEO of Heartland Forward. “We are thrilled to welcome a cohort of Birmingham builders to the program and were proud to see the unbelievable interest in this program from across the community. We look forward to seeing what incredible ideas these builders bring to Birmingham as we continue supporting this impactful program as part of our commitment to fund 1,000 builders by 2023.”