The UAB Blazer Hatchery and Hackathon, sponsored by the Alabama Power Foundation, is a two-month intensive experience serving students from all disciplines at UAB who are not yet entrepreneurs, but who have strong entrepreneurial aspirations.
The program kicked off in September with 90 students applying to participate in the 25-student cohort. For the first three weeks, students received a crash course in the entrepreneurial mindset from Patrick J. Murphy, Ph.D., Goodrich Endowed Chair for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
“We worked through several of the field’s distinct conceptual frameworks,” Murphy says. “The interest level is intense. The group literally applauded after each of the content lectures. It is an extremely motivated cohort with broad diversity.”
After the Blazer Hatchery’s third week, students were divided into five teams. Alabama Power Assistant Treasurer Chris Blake visited the cohort and presented an audacious Hackathon challenge: How could they harness innovations in transportation and energy to provide access and options to underserved citizens that will provide real improvements in their lives and have a positive impact on the local community?
During the next month, the teams will model real-world entrepreneurial ventures by working independently to create an entrepreneurial solution to the problem. They will utilize their own talents and knowledge gained from the Hatchery training, and UAB has offered administrative support, pitch coaching, and programming/development resources throughout the Hackathon.
On November 18, the teams will pitch their entrepreneurial solutions at the UAB Blazer Hatchery and Hackathon Pitch Gala. A judging panel consisting of Alabama Power executives, City of Birmingham leadership and other experienced professionals will select the winning teams. WVTM news anchor Eunice Elliott will serve as the MC with live music provided by Act of Congress. Tickets to the event are free but registration is required.
The winning team will receive $5,000 cash with second and third places receiving $3,000 and $2,000, respectively.