University of Alabama partners with Alabama Power, energy-focused accelerator

University of Alabama partners with Alabama Power, energy-focused accelerator
The University of Alabama has partnered with Alabama Power and Techstars Alabama EnergyTech Accelerator. (contributed)

A partnership with an organization that supports startups in energy technology will advance the University of Alabama’s educational and research mission.

In an agreement with the Techstars Alabama EnergyTech Accelerator, UA students will have access to unique opportunities to engage with startups to broaden their own skill sets and help improve Alabama’s economy.

Students will be given the opportunity to intern with participating startups in the accelerator, learning how to build a company in the dynamic energy sector. The accelerator will provide hands-on learning around energy, technology, entrepreneurship and research for students and faculty. Pending COVID-19 conditions, there are plans for students to visit the accelerator and participate in networking events.

“This partnership with Alabama Power and Techstars demonstrates our efforts to provide innovative, entrepreneurial, research-oriented and student-centric opportunities,” said Dan Blakley, associate vice president for economic and business engagement. “This public-private partnership is a great example of our focus on statewide workforce development, job creation and technology transfer that create opportunities for our students to remain in state and succeed after graduation.”

With Alabama Power as the founding partner, the Techstars Alabama EnergyTech Accelerator identifies and evaluates high-potential startups addressing industry problems with solutions to better serve customers and communities. The accelerator invests in early stage companies with a technology or business model relevant to the energy industry.

In addition to UA and Alabama Power, the Techstars Alabama EnergyTech Accelerator is supported by the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, the Alabama Department of Commerce, Altec and PowerSouth. These supporters play a key role in the accelerator and share the common goal of growing the number of startup companies in Alabama.

The accelerator inaugural class of 10 startups was recently selected for the 2020 program, which launched an intensive 13-week endeavor Sept. 8. Companies from seven states make up the class, three of them already calling Birmingham home.

At UA, the accelerator’s companies will work with faculty, the UA Career Center, The EDGE and EDGE Labs, and other relevant UA units to provide experiential entrepreneurship and learning opportunities for students. As part of the partnership, students will have the chance to participate in the accelerator’s Demo Day, scheduled for December.

The partnership will explore ways to engage faculty and students in six core technology emphasis areas: battery storage and charging; electric vehicles; cybersecurity; smart homes and businesses; renewable energy; and connectivity.

Techstars is the global platform for investment and innovation. Founded in 2006, the company began with three simple ideas – entrepreneurs create the future; collaboration drives innovation; and great ideas can come from anywhere. Today the mission is to make innovation accessible to everyone, everywhere. Techstars does this by connecting startups, investors, corporations and cities to create a more sustainable and inclusive world. Since 2006, Techstars has invested in more than 2,200 companies and today has a market cap of $29 billion. For more information, click on www.techstars.com.

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