Troy University’s IDEA Bank has been admitted to the Innovate Alabama Network and awarded a grant that will help fund a members program that will ultimately result in new business successes for Alabama’s Wiregrass.
“This is a great testament to not only the progress we’ve made at the IDEA Bank as a collaborative hub, but also to our plans to continue growing Alabama’s entrepreneurship ecosystem through both student and community support,” said Lynne George, the IDEA Bank’s director.
Now with the “Innovative Alabama Network Designation” and a $114,430 grant from Innovate Alabama, the IDEA Bank will launch the IDEA Bank Membership Program, which is a business incubator program with additional office spaces, a content creation studio, a shoppable storefront and more.
“The Innovate Alabama Network is a major step forward to growing the entrepreneurial and innovation environment in Alabama,” said Innovate Alabama CEO Cynthia Crutchfield. “By providing funding and resources to our local communities, nonprofits and higher education institutions, we are developing a statewide network for innovation programming and catalyzing entrepreneurship in all of our communities, both rural and urban.”
The IDEA Bank opened in 2018 with the Small Business Development Center at Troy University as its first tenant. Its structured programming officially began in 2021 and has since launched seven new ongoing programs, hosted more than 25 special-topic workshops, served more than 250 TROY students through consulting and educational programs, and has provided collaborative space to more than 15 external organizations. In just two years, the IDEA Bank has fostered more than 50 new business ideas from students and assisted with the startup of 15 student-owned businesses. It is a part of the Sorrell College of Business.
The Innovate Alabama Network grant will assist the IDEA Bank with Phase I of its Membership Program that will include minor renovations and additions to the existing first-floor resources and programs. A Phase II program will renovate the building’s second floor.
In addition to the renovations and content creation studio, one of the most important components of the Membership Program will feature a five-week accelerator program that will act as a non-academic innovative entrepreneurship education program that takes individuals through the must-know steps to launching their ideas. The Idea Accelerator Program will provide training and mentorship to aspiring entrepreneurs who are not students enrolled in an entrepreneurship curriculum at TROY. The program will cover topics in Idea Development and Market Research, Marketing and Sales, Operations Framework, Financial Modeling and Pitching Tactics.
George said another unique project included in the grant is the Idea Store, a storefront with a separate entrance to the TROY downtown square where IDEA Bank members will have the opportunity to apply for vendor space that allows them to sell products in a local brick-and-mortar store located within a popular shopping district.
About the IDEA Bank
The mission of the IDEA (Innovation, Design, Entrepreneurship Accelerator) Bank is to develop Troy University and Troy, Alabama into a regional center for economic growth by creating entrepreneurial resources and collaboration opportunities for our community of students, faculty, staff, alumni, local businesses, and leaders. The IDEA Bank aims to support student-centric entrepreneurship and new ventures in the southeast Alabama region by providing students with the knowledge, resources, and support system to launch their ideas locally
About Innovate Alabama
Innovate Alabama is Alabama’s first statewide public-private partnership focused on entrepreneurship, technology and innovation with a mission to help innovators grow roots here in Alabama. Innovate Alabama was established to implement the initiatives and recommendations set forth in the Alabama Innovation Commission’s report, including smart policy solutions that will create a more resilient, inclusive and robust economy to remain competitive in a 21st-century world. With founding CEO Cynthia Crutchfield leading the charge, Innovate Alabama is also made up of a board of 11 innovation leaders appointed by Gov. Ivey, collaborating across sectors to advance industries, drive technology and facilitate an environment where innovation and entrepreneurship thrive. Learn more about Innovate Alabama at www.innovatealabama.org.