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July 9, 2024 · Entrepreneurs, Innovation, Investors, Policy, Stories

Sloss Tech 2024: Alabama’s SSBCI Initiative Launches into Action

Timing is everything.  

That’s certainly true in the case of Innovate Alabama being able to unveil the $98 million State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) funding initiative in front of many of the people who needed to hear about it the most – aspiring entrepreneurs, small business owners, investors and lenders at Alabama’s premier tech conference, Sloss Tech, held on June 27 and 28.  

Less than 10 days before Sloss Tech, Governor Kay Ivey announced that Innovate Alabama would receive nearly $98 million from the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s SSBCI program, to support Alabama’s small businesses, helping fuel the state’s powerful ecosystem of entrepreneurs. 

With this announcement in hand, Innovate Alabama utilized its presenting Sloss Tech partnership as a platform to unveil SSBCI in person to attendees both in person and virtually, breaking down the program’s intricacies and answering common questions. Whether covering SSBCI on the mainstage or at the SSBCI Loft, Innovate Alabama livestreamed all sessions on its website for anyone unable to attend the conference but still wanting to engage with the information. You can find the recorded sessions here

Sessions included conversations with InvestAL and LendAL program managers, U.S. Treasury representative Eric Cromwell, Federal Reserve Bank Economist Roisin McCord, technical assistance partners and others.  

Innovate Alabama CEO Cynthia Crutchfield said, “[Unveiling SSBCI] has been a labor of love. We started planning for it probably six months ago, not really being sure when we would actually get the approval from the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Oddly enough, it occurred at the time of Sloss Tech. We could not have timed it any better.” 

Breaking Down SSBCI for Sloss Tech Attendees 

Innovate Alabama team members engaged Sloss Tech attendees on the details of SSBCI, coined LendAL and InvestAL by Innovate Alabama, and how Alabama entrepreneurs can take advantage of the program. The $98 million will be distributed in three traunches through two primary components: 

LendAL: This component focuses on providing loans to small businesses and startups, enhancing their ability to secure financing from traditional lenders. By reducing the risk for lenders, LendAL aims to increase the availability of loans to entrepreneurs who might otherwise struggle to obtain funding.  

Hear from Walt Postlewait, LendAL program manager:

InvestAL: This component is dedicated to venture capital initiatives, providing equity investments to startups and small businesses.  

Hear from Vickie Gibbs, InvestAL program manager:

Get Plugged In 

InvestAL and LendAL program managers urge Alabama small business owners and entrepreneurs to get familiar with SSBCI and understand the path to taking advantage of the funding potential.  

For LendAL, Postlewait said SSBCI funds will flow from local bankers. “If you don’t have a local banking relationship, we’re telling everyone that’s your first job. Local lenders make loan decisions based on their local knowledge and relationships.” A list of approved Alabama SSBCI lenders is available on the Innovate Alabama website here. 

For InvestAL, Gibbs said business owners or entrepreneurs seeking SSBCI-backed investment sources should fill out a form on the Innovate Alabama website’s InvestAL section here. 

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