HudsonAlpha statement on innovation bills HB 540 and HB 609

Statement by Carter Wells, Vice President for Economic Development, HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology

May 6, 2021 (Huntsville, Ala.)  – Today is an exciting and historic day for innovators and entrepreneurs in Alabama. Last summer, Governor Kay Ivey established the Alabama Innovation Commission, who recommended vital initiatives that would improve Alabama’s innovation economy. As these initiatives changed to legislation, Governor Ivey built a coalition to ensure the success of these bills. With today’s final passage of HB 540 and HB 609, Alabama enhances its position to recruit innovative startup companies and provide new resources for founders of technology companies.

All of us at HudsonAlpha are grateful to Governor Ivey for her leadership and every member of the Alabama Senate and the Alabama House of Representatives for passing these needed bills. We offer thanks to Representative Bill Poole, Senate Pro Tem Greg Reed, Representative Jeremy Gray and Senator Rodger Smitherman for championing these bills. Additionally, we are deeply appreciative to the Alabama Innovation Commission for their efforts leading to this win for entrepreneurs in our state.

HudsonAlpha and the organizations who support and advocate for entrepreneurs see the Alabama Innovation Corporation, established through HB 540, as an entity that will strengthen current entrepreneurial efforts and promote new workforce initiatives and research and development.

The Innovate Alabama Matching Grant Program, created by HB 609, will provide matching funds to federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer Research (STTR) awardees. These programs drive technology advancements and now Alabama has the ability to add fuel to the innovator’s engine. At HudsonAlpha, many of the biotech companies have received SBIR and STTR awards. This move by the state will not only help those currently working with this type of award, but will undoubtedly be a catalyst for entrepreneurs to pursue a SBIR/STTR opportunity.

These bills will move Alabama forward and provide new opportunities for innovation to take place in our state.