AEI is all about building entrepreneuring skills and talent for new and established ventures.

The Alabama Entrepreneurship Institute (AEI) delivers learning that accelerates the growth of businesses and creates new jobs. AEI provides students with unique opportunities to move beyond the classroom and learn by doing. They work on entrepreneurial projects with both new and established businesses as part of consulting teams. They also start up their own businesses or become part of teams working on start ups. Students participate in competitions, attend networking events, are part of boot camps to quickly move ideas forward, and they get help from entrepreneurs and business executives.

AEI is in the business of creating new knowledge. Our professors and colleagues are working on cutting-edge research, creating new learning tools and teaching students of all ages around the world.

AEI is located at the EDGE, which is a partnership with the West Alabama Chamber of Commerce and the City of Tuscaloosa. Students use the co-working space at the EDGE; it provides space for teams to work together, to network with established entrepreneurs and to meet with mentors who help get their new ventures up and running.

Our Mission

The Alabama Entrepreneurship Institute (AEI) was established to promote and support a variety of entrepreneurship endeavors in the Culverhouse College of Commerce and across The University of Alabama campus. AEI’s goal is to accelerate the growth of business development and job creation, and to provide University students a unique opportunity to move beyond the classroom and engage in real-world experiences. Students participate on business consulting teams with existing businesses or nurture their own start-up idea in an entrepreneurial environment.


  • Dr. Theresa M. Welbourne — Executive Director


    Dr. Theresa M. Welbourne's expertise is in the areas of entrepreneurship, human capital management and strategic leadership in high growth, entrepreneurial and high change organizations. Dr. Welbourne's research and work have been featured in popular publications such as Inc. Magazine, Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times, Business Week, New York Times, and Entrepreneur Magazine and published in books and in journals such as the Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Strategic Management Journal, Journal of Management, Human Resource Planning, Journal of Organization Behavior, Journal of Applied Psychology, Leader to Leader, Organization Dynamics and Group and Organization Management.

  • Tommie Syx — Program Specialist


    Ms. Syx serves as the University's contact in the Edge Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, a partnership with the West Alabama Chamber of Commerce and the City of Tuscaloosa. She has made numerous presentations including the National Consortium for Entrepreneurship Education and the International Engaged Scholarship Consortium. She is a member of the Global Consortium for Entrepreneurship Centers and the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi. Her previous work includes coordinating the AlabamaREAL entrepreneurship education project, the Capstone Entrepreneurship Camp and the STEM Entrepreneurship Academy. Ms. Syx received the 2014 Phi Beta Lambda Outstanding Adviser Award and is a Junior Achievement volunteer. She also holds a graduate certificate in Conflict Mediation, Management and Negotiation.

Questions?  Comments?  If you would like to contact us, please use the following information:

Mailing Address

Alabama Entrepreneurship Institute
800 22nd Avenue
Tuscaloosa, AL 35401

Email Address


(205) 722-5179

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