Alabama Entrepreneurship Institute Announces $1 Million Crowdfunding Challenge

River Pitch 2021


Dr. Theresa M. Welbourne
Executive Director of the Alabama Entrepreneurship Institute
(205) 348-8926

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. –– The Alabama Entrepreneurship Institute (AEI) at The University of Alabama has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise $1 million. The AEI will use the money to fund the new Crimson Accelerator. This campaign was announced on the first day of the 2022 Edward K. Aldag, Jr. Student Business Plan competition, distributing $100,000 in prize money to numerous student entrepreneurs. This year’s competition continues the trend of supporting entrepreneurs and innovators, and the new crowdfunding campaign is an extension of the growing momentum to support entrepreneurs at UA.

Over the last six years, the team at AEI has been building up the entrepreneurship program with the help of numerous faculty members across campus and the generous contributions of many UA alumni.

“We are at a point where students are graduating and starting their own businesses. To help them stay in Alabama, we need to raise money better to assist them for future growth and funding opportunities,” said Dr. Theresa M. Welbourne, executive director of the Alabama Entrepreneurship Institute.

“This crowdfunding campaign is raising money to support our next step in growing our entrepreneurs and startup,” she added.

The campaign’s goal is to raise $1 million dollars to help entrepreneur students grow and accelerate their businesses, as well as UA faculty, staff, and alumni who want to stay in Tuscaloosa and do the same. A critical component of the project is the EDGE, an off-campus business incubator and innovation center that is the result of a partnership between The University of Alabama, The City of Tuscaloosa, and the West Alabama Chamber of Commerce. These three groups have come together to support our local and University entrepreneurs, and that type of cooperation is essential for success.

Anyone interested in learning about the types of companies working with AEI can view the latest student business plan competition winners here.

One can learn more about the annual UA faculty and staff competition winners here.

The AEI team is looking for financial support to start the UA Crimson Accelerator. The money goes to a restricted gift account, and all donations are tax-deductible. Corporate and personal contributions are welcome.

AEI also is looking for people to help coach, judge, and speak at events. The goal of the program is to prepare teams for future funding, and as the program evolves, an angel network may start. Thus, individuals interested in getting involved and investing in these companies in the future can be on the ground floor learning about these opportunities.

Give now at:

Anyone interested in getting involved or learning more can contact Dr. Theresa Welbourne at or visit the AEI’s website at

About the Culverhouse College of Business

The Culverhouse College of Business at The University of Alabama is home to over 9,600 undergraduate and graduate students, ten research and outreach centers, and a variety of academic programs, including the #5 best online master’s program in the country, according to U.S. News & World Report. Over 60,000 alumni have graduated from the College, which was formally established in 1919 and has continuously been accredited by The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) since 1929.

About the Alabama Entrepreneurship Institute

A research and outreach center housed within The University of Alabama’s Culverhouse College of Business, the Alabama Entrepreneurship Institute, or AEI, focuses on identifying and empowering budding entrepreneurs and supporting existing businesses throughout the state. AEI is located in a 26,000 square-foot off-campus work and collaboration center called The EDGE, which is also home to dozens of startups and growth-focused firms.

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