Navigating the Wiregrass

How HudsonAlpha is supporting entrepreneurs in the Wiregrass region through the Navigate Mentoring program

One of the pillars of the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology is its economic and entrepreneurship development across Alabama. So, when HudsonAlpha Wiregrass came to fruition, supporting local entrepreneurs was at the top of the list.

“The Wiregrass has talented professionals with innovative ideas that can help strengthen and grow our economy, create high wage-high demand careers for our citizens, and enhance the educational programs in all of our local schools,” HudsonAlpha Economic Development Associate in the Wiregrass, Ann Carr, said. “It is imperative that we help our local entrepreneurs establish themselves for future, sustainable growth.” 

To do that, HudsonAlpha Wiregrass launched its Navigate Mentoring program in the City of Dothan earlier this year, with four inaugural entrepreneurs and a dozen local mentors. Navigate is part of HudsonAlpha’s innovation strategy to build and strengthen agriculture and technology companies in the Wiregrass. The program is modeled after the Massachusetts Institute for Technology’s Venture Mentoring Service (MIT VMS). The goal of the program is to support entrepreneurs in the Wiregrass region. 

“Local individuals with ideas for startups as well as established entrepreneurs are given a chance to develop relationships with some of the brightest, most successful business leaders in the Wiregrass,” Carr added.

Through Navigate, HudsonAlpha focuses on supporting the growth of agriculture and technology entrepreneurs using a team-based approach that helps new and established entrepreneurs who want to sharpen their business plans and develop management skills. 

“The Wiregrass was built by entrepreneurs who invested their time, talent, and capital to create jobs for local families and to provide products and services that are still utilized today,” Carr said. “The Navigate program will help our local entrepreneurs build upon this heritage.”

Navigate is supported by HudsonAlpha and involves mentors across the Wiregrass area with expertise in starting and leading a company as well as scaling, finance, marketing, operations, human resources, and other critical subject matters for entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs also receive confidential, unbiased advice on business strategy and growth from these mentors. 

“The HudsonAlpha Wiregrass team carefully selects mentors based on their proven record of success and roles of leadership within the community. With a team of mentors, entrepreneurs are given multiple perspectives of expertise when faced with new challenges and questions,” Carr said. “Every mentor agrees to approach each team on which they serve with integrity, accountability, and trust.”

Bob Woodall is the CEO of Bob Woodall Air Care System and one of the inaugural mentors. “The Navigate team mentoring program will help entrepreneurs learn ‘TOMA – top of mind awareness’ about what they do best,” Bob said. “As a mentor, I want to help these small businesses focus on their profitable passions.”

To learn more about the Navigate Mentoring Program, visit Entrepreneurs wanting to apply to receive mentorship from HudsonAlpha’s group of mentors should contact Ann Carr at 334-796-6792 or Aspiring entrepreneurs with ideas centered on agriculture or agricultural technology are encouraged to apply.