The 2021 Faculty/Staff Innovation Pitch

Video Recording Instructions (forthcoming)


April 22, 2021 (by 11:59pm CDT)

Register for the competition using the link below.

Register here.

April 29, 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.

May 2, 2021 (by 11:59pm CDT)

Make any relevant updates to your StartupWind business plan prior to judges beginning their review.

May 6, 2021 (1 to 5pm)

Live Q&A sessions (virtual via Zoom) between 1pm – 5pm

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.


Who can enter?

All UA faculty and staff.

What is my timeline?

  • Registration and pitch outline deadline: April 22
  • Pitch video posted to StartupWind deadline: April 29
  • Virtual competition: May 6 (afternoon)

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 will also be transitioned to a virtual format this year. More details will be shared on the EDGE competition website as the date draws closer.

Joshua Sahib

Assistant Director of AEI

Theresa M. Welbourne, Ph.D.

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