October 18-20 | Tucson, AZ

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UAB launches new commercial accelerator 

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October 18-20, 2023 / Tucson, AZ
The annual summit for research institution gap fund and accelerator programs, including proof of concept programs, startup accelerators, and university venture funds

The Story

The University of Alabama at Birmingham kicked off Innovation Week with a major announcement on Monday: the launch of a new commercialization accelerator program.

The new program is designed to help students and faculty research ideas and concepts and build them into fully fledged companies.

As we reported in last week’s Cover Story, the commercialization of research from places like UAB and Southern Research is a key component of the new Innovate Birmingham initiative to transform the metro area’s economy. UAB is playing a huge role in that initiative with efforts like the new accelerator.

The accelerator itself will be housed at the Smolian International House, just off of the main campus green. The program is fully operational as of Monday.

“What we’ve been focused on is how we (UAB) can more efficiently move things along the path of research to commercialization more efficiently; what we want to do is create an environment where innovation and entrepreneurship can really flourish and having an accelerator will help to shepherd that along,” said Kathy Nugent, managing director for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at UAB.

Nugent is shepherding the project along with a newly created UAB Council for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

The accelerator will be a “process and place for university employees and students to bring an idea for a company where there is a mapped pathway for development and success — a place to innovate and be disruptive,” Nugent said, according to UAB.

One goal of the accelerator will be to provide support that helps ideas and research become actual, job-creating businesses – creating an environment where they can thrive and the most promising ideas can be put on a fast track.

Max Polec, a Venture for America fellow, will serve as director of the accelerator.

According to UAB, Polec has entrepreneurial experience from his time in the Blast Furnace, the University of Pittsburgh Innovation Institute’s student startup accelerator.

“I plan to take what I have learned from competing through various collegiate innovation competitions and a university accelerator from the student perspective and use that experience to build out the UAB Commercialization Accelerator within the context of the needs and pain points at UAB and my new home, the city of Birmingham,” Polec said.

Look for more on the new commercialization accelerator in this week’s BBJ.

Source: UAB launches new commercial accelerator – Birmingham Business Journal

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