Alabama’s leaders recognize that the state holds unlocked potential to grow and spread innovative industries across the state. Governor Kay Ivey convened the Alabama Innovation Commission to stimulate economic growth with a focus on entrepreneurship, innovation, and technology. The commission has made progress toward that goal with the signing of the Alabama Innovation Corporation into state law and the establishment of a federal grant–matching program for small businesses. These measures constitute an important step in creating the legal and financial infrastructure necessary to support an innovation ecosystem within Alabama.
A team from the Hoover Institution has written this report to build upon these efforts by conducting data-driven research to assess Alabama’s infrastructure in its educational, legal, financial, governance, and physical aspects—all of which are necessary components to transform the state into an innovation hub. The goal of this report is to provide pragmatic, actionable policy recommendations to guide Alabama’s leaders as they work to realize their state’s full economic potential.
Crucially, Alabama already possesses two key assets. First, it already has important innovation hubs around Birmingham, which has distinguished itself as a thriving center for biomedical technology research and development, and around Huntsville, which boasts the Redstone Arsenal, Cummings Research Park, and NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. Second, it has passionate, dedicated, and hardworking people in public service, universities, K–12 education, nonprofit organizations, and the private sector who are determined to build a more prosperous future for Alabamians. In our experience, this is an exceedingly rare asset—one which has no market price.