The Faculty and Staff Innovation Pitch Competition offers the University of Alabama’s faculty and staff the opportunity to win cash resources for an original business idea. This year the competitions offers a total of $45,000 in funding including a $15,000 grand prize, a $10,000 prize and two additional prizes at $5,000, $3,000 and $2,000. All you need to do is record your 3-minute pitch and be ready to do a question and answer session with judges. See the timeline and details about all the awards below


In general, any faculty of staff member at The University of Alabama is eligible to apply.

  • ALL Faculty and staff can apply individually or as a team.  
  • Presenting team members must be currently working at The University of Alabama.
  • Previous winners who did not win the Alabama Power Foundation Innovative Technology Grand Prize and/or the Culverhouse College of Business Entrepreneurial Growth Award can compete again in another year ONLY if the business idea has evolved and changed (progressed), or they have a new business idea.  If unsure, please contact Dr. Welbourne at or Dr. Ying Qin at

What if my idea comes from my work at UA?

Overall, the intellectual property practices at UA are a win/win for the inventor and the University. Because employees are pitching in this event, we want you to understand how the University’s intellectual property policy works.

Note that our policy is fundamentally no different from the practices of companies or other universities. The overall governing idea is if significant University resources are used, if your discovery results from a project where the costs were paid by the University, or if the discovery is in your field of work at the University, then the University owns the idea (this is a normal business practice).

As the inventor, you gain from the University’s expertise in evaluation, marketing, and ability to secure intellectual property rights while also benefiting from the University’s interest in recognizing your efforts and providing you with some share of any potential gain.

2024 Competition Timeline

Scroll down to see more details.

Registration is Open

March 21st

Video Presentations Due

May 6th by 11:59PM CST

Virtual Competition

May 10th

Virtual Competition via ZOOM.

Details will be provided.

Winners Announced

May 10th

Announcement on the website.

What's at Stake

Alabama Power Foundation – Innovative Technology Grand Prize – $15,000

The Alabama Power Foundation is sponsoring an additional $15,000 grand prize for the faculty and staff competition. The grand prize will go to a technology-focused idea that has the potential to drive a new business or commercialization.

Entrepreneurial Growth Award – $10,000

The Culverhouse College of Business is sponsoring this $10,000 prize for any business idea that is most likely to scale or grow, either non-profit or for-profit.

Office for Research and Economic Development – $10,000

The Office for Research and Economic Development is sponsoring three awards for best innovative ideas from a technology track to develop products or services that can be patented or build businesses. 

Staff Innovation Pitch Awards – $10,000

Division of Finance and Operations is providing three awards dedicated to staff innovative ideas.

Additional Awards for Winners

Co-Working Space

One year of free co-working space at The EDGE

Free Consulting

Business, accounting, and law partners’ consulting

View Past Winners


If you have any more questions, feel free to reach out to the AEI team.

*Please note, the Tuscaloosa Innovates community business plan competition is still in the planning phase. More details will be shared on the EDGE competition website as the details come together.

Theresa M. Welbourne, PhD

Executive Director of AEI and Will and Maggie Brooke Professor in Entrepreneurship

Jenni Miesse Whinery

Marketing Manager for AEI and The EDGE


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