December 4, 2023 · Entrepreneurs, Stories
Building a Culture of Entrepreneurship in North Alabama
Decatur grew its success as an economic center in the early 19th century due to its location along the Tennessee River in North Alabama. Now, Decatur and the surrounding region serve as an epicenter for entrepreneurship thanks to startup incubators and a strong culture of innnovation.
The Decatur-Morgan County Entrepreneurial Center, or The E-Center, startup incubator in Decatur serves 50+ companies, assisting with capital, market research, mentorship, strategy, office space, workforce, mental health and other key needs of entrepreneurs. In addition to traditional startup assistance, the E-Center operates The Best and Brightest Initiative, the first comprehensive incentive package in the program for STEM — and now other — graduates.
It also operates the state’s first CEO program, created in partnership with the University of Alabama at Huntsville, where high school students learn and can receive course credit for starting their own businesses.
“We are very excited about Innovate Alabama and the important work the organization is already doing to support entrepreneurs and a culture of entrepreneurship,” said John Joseph, executive director of The E-Center.
The E-Center engages regionally and nationally in other respects, collaborating with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Small Business Association, Launch, Columbia University and others on substantive partnerships that bring new opportunities and information. It is one of the first business incubators in the nation with an economic development arm dedicated to the long-term expansion of the local economy. Decatur’s E-Center focuses especially on the development of key industries including agricultural technology and robotics.
With the support of businesses and startup incubators in the area, Decatur serves as a city for inventors, whether they’re starting from the ground up or relocating.
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