UA teams up with Cullman and Fairhope to form tech villages

UA teams up with Cullman and Fairhope to form tech villages

TUSCALOOSA, AL (WBRC) - The University of Alabama is teaming up with two Alabama cities to push for technology.

These new technology villages the University of Alabama is helping establish in Cullman and Fairhope are supposed to be big economic drivers and using entrepreneurs to steer the wheel is the key.

"A lot of entrepreneurs have great ideas, great products, and great things that they have," said Lee Lawson President of Baldwin County Economic Development.

But nowhere to go and evolve their tech business, that's where the University of Alabama is stepping in to provide resources at the hubs, where entrepreneurs can connect.

"Smaller communities in Alabama usually can't win those bigger jobs like a Mercedes. This is another tool in the tool box for the economic developers in these communities to basically support and grow their own job creation," said Dr. Richard, Swatloski University of Alabama Office of Technology Transfer Director.

The UA studied a program similar in South Carolina, where 2 cities with technology villages created about 30 jobs a year, with payrolls for about 1.5 million dollars. No wonder they want to help Alabama cities get on board too.

"There are stats that show the overwhelming companies that you can incubate in your community that stay in your community," said Lawson.

In Cullman, they will use their old fire station built in the 40's downtown to house their tech village.

"We are glad to be able to be in a spot that's got a little history to it, cause we trying to transform the old history and bring it into the next century," said Cullman Mayor Woody Jacobs.

"The next step in Cullman and Fairhope both is identify a director, the director is going to be key to this," said Swatloski.

The tech village directors will oversee recruiting entrepreneurs and small startup tech businesses.

Resources available at the hub will be a research expert and Paton expert and more.

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