The Edward K. Aldag, Jr. Business Pitch Competition returned virtually to The University of Alabama’s campus during Create + Innovate Week on April 12-13. Students presented their business ideas to a panel of judges. Up for grabs was a $50,000 grand prize for the best business plan plus in-kind assistance and additional awards totaling over $100,000.
The Aldag competition, which celebrates entrepreneurship and ingenuity, brought together nine facilitators and 24 judges over two days to find the best business plans among those competing. This year, Reboot Reforestation came away with the $50,000 grand prize for its innovative drone and seed ball technologies that monitor environmental threats and rebuild natural habitats more efficiently.
Reboot Reforestation’s pitch was among the 20 winning business plans.
Grand Prize Competition Group:
- $50,000 – Grand Prize: Reboot Reforestation
- $5,000 – First Prize: 210 Diagnostic Solutions
- $3,000 – Second Prize: EduScape
- $2,000 – Third Prize: Gravitate
In addition to cash prizes, winners will receive generous in-kind support from area entrepreneurs and resident business experts at The EDGE Incubator and Accelerator and the Alabama Entrepreneurship Institute, which organizes the competition. The Alabama Entrepreneurship Institute, or AEI, is an outreach center based in UA’s Culverhouse College of Business.
“[Entrepreneurs] don’t think in terms of failure, we don’t think in terms of how many times someone tells us no. We think in terms of how every time that someone [does tell us no] that gives the opportunity to make it better, the opportunity to succeed,” said Edward K. Aldag, Jr. in a video welcome message to participants.
Dr. Theresa Welbourne, Will and Maggie Brooke Professor in Entrepreneurship at Culverhouse and Executive Director of the AEI, was responsible for planning the competition, which just as last year, was held virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic. “We had an incredible response from students. In fact, we received the greatest number of pitches since the competition’s inception,” Dr. Welbourne said.
“What that shows is that a culture of entrepreneurship is not just taking root on the UA campus –– it’s growing with vigor.”
Medical Properties Trust, Regions, The SBDC of Alabama, The City of Tuscaloosa, Culverhouse College of Business, and The Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama sponsored this year’s competition. More information can be found on its website.
[Above photo depicts an Aldag Competition from 2019 pre-dating the pandemic.]