A push by The University of Alabama to promote entrepreneurship throughout the Tuscaloosa region is increasing with a realignment of resources to better support innovators.
The Bama Technology Incubator, an on-campus laboratory space, will change its name to Edge Labs, serving as a counterpart to The Edge, a 26,000-square-foot, off-campus business incubator that opened in February as a collaboration among UA, the city of Tuscaloosa and the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama.
Edge Labs features laboratories and equipment that new businesses need, as well as the technical infrastructure that will help UA faculty, researchers and students develop and test processes and prototypes that can be translated into products for the marketplace.
“Among the strategic goals of The University of Alabama is improving the impact of activities that positively affect regional economic development,” says UA President Stuart Bell. “This restructuring of our resources will go a long way toward meeting that shared goal.”
The name change to Edge Labs represents a shift of purpose for the facility.
“The goal of this change is to further align the ecosystem of innovation and entrepreneurship on the UA campus and in the Tuscaloosa area,” says Russell Mumper, UA vice president for research and economic development. “This partnership is a collaboration between UA’s Office for Research and Economic Development and the Culverhouse College of Business.”
The university’s Alabama Entrepreneurship Institute, or AEI, is a program managed by the Culverhouse College of Business, and will integrate Edge Labs into an overall suite of resources to support new and established business growth.
“There will now be a pipeline that directly connects the new and established entrepreneurs and business advisors at The Edge with the technical experts who are in place at Edge Labs,” says Theresa Welbourne, executive director of AEI.
The Edge, located about 1.5 miles from the UA campus, is an $11.7 million facility that includes 20 offices, 100 workstations and several conference rooms, all offered to entrepreneurs, people seeking to build their businesses and individuals who need networking and working space. The Edge Labs is located on the northern end of the UA campus, close to the Ferguson Student Center.
For more information on AEI, visit entrepreneurship.ua.edu.