The 2021 Faculty/Staff Innovation Pitch
Competition has Concluded

See the winners!

Download the winners book!

A total of $30,000 in cash prizes along with coaching, incubator space and entry into the summer program to help jump-start your business idea and your own learning. 


April 26, 2021 (by 11:59pm CDT)

Register for the competition using the link below. Note: the deadline has been extended from April 22 to April 26.

Registrations are now closed.

May 3, 2021 (by 11:59pm CDT)

Upload your pitch video (up to 3 minutes) onto your existing StartupWind business plan shell. Your business plan shell was created during the registration process and you should’ve received an email with your credentials. Note: This deadline has been extended from April 29 to May 3.

Review the Final Pitch Instructions and Video Recording Instructions for additional details.

May 6, 2021 (10am to 5pm)

Live Q&A sessions via Zoom. The entire competition is estimated to run from 10 am – 5 pm and teams will be assigned a specific timeslot.

May 7, 2021

Winners posted to the competition website.

What’s At Stake

First Prize


Second Prize


Third Prize


First, second, and third-place prizes are provided by UA’s Office for Research and Economic Development.

In addition to prize money, winners are eligible for:

  • Free co-working space at The EDGE
  • Support for the advancement of their ideas with access to analytical and prototype development equipment at EDGE Labs
  • Business coaching
  • Help from professionals such as lawyers, accountants and marketing specialists

$10,000 – Alabama Power Foundation – Innovative Technology Grand Prize

The Alabama Power Foundation is sponsoring an additional $10,000 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.

$10,000 – 2021 Growth Business Award

An additional $10,000 prize for any business idea that is most likely to scale or grow, either non-profit or for-profit.


Who can enter?

All UA faculty and staff.

What is my timeline?

  • Registration and pitch outline deadline: April 22 extended to April 26
  • Pitch video posted to StartupWind deadline: April 29 extended to May 3
  • Virtual competition: May 6 (afternoon – estimated as 12pm-6pm)

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, or 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.


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.

Joshua Sahib

Assistant Director of AEI

Theresa M. Welbourne, Ph.D.

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