BIRMINGHAM, Ala (WIAT) — Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice joined Governor Kay Ivey in Birmingham Tuesday for an announcement that could help grow the state’s economy.
For the past 18 months, the Alabama Innovation Commission has been researching and identifying ways to improve the state’s economy through technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship.
The commission consisted of policymakers and experts from the private sector. The group worked with Stanford University’s Hoover Institution to develop recommendations for lawmakers.
Rice, an Alabama native, is the Director of the Hoover Institution.
“We are working to continue this work to continue to provide our best data and research as you push for innovation and the strengthening of the Alabama economy,” said Rice.
Recommendations were released to the public Tuesday and include five items to address some of the current challenges:
- Entrepreneurship and Access to Capital: Identifying and supporting opportunities to fuel entrepreneurial development at every stage of business growth.
- Talent Attraction and Retention: Recruiting and retaining a workforce with the skills, knowledge and credentials necessary to create innovation ecosystems throughout the state.
- Increasing Commercialization: Fostering an environment that increases commercialization activities, research and development efforts and supports the state’s economy as a whole.
- Bridging Digital and Economic Divides: Leveraging initiatives and resources that support growth throughout Alabama.
- Knowledge Economy: Developing a skilled workforce ready to meet the demands of the future.
Rice believes Alabama has the tools to bring in new businesses and leaders from outside the state.
“We have the advantage of having looked at innovation across the country, what works and what doesn’t work. We have looked at how Alabama can attract talent from the outside through the marvelous environment that you have here for recreation and a great lifestyle,” said Rice. “It matters a lot, I’m going to tell you, to this Gen X, so getting them here is important.”
The commission’s work will continue with the Alabama Innovation Corporation. Lawmakers established the public-private partnership in 2021 and it is responsible for implementing initiatives and recommendations contained in the report.
“Innovation has always been a part of Alabama’s story and with the ground work we are laying today, it will always be a part of who we are for decades to come,” said Ivey.
According to a news release from Governor Ivey’s office, members of the Innovation Corporation board of directors are:
- Governor Kay Ivey (ex-officio)
- Alabama Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon (ex-officio)
- Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Reed (ex-officio)
- House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels (ex-officio)
- Senator Minority Leader Bobby Singleton (ex-officio)
- Rich Bielen – President and CEO, Protective Life Corporation (at-large director)
- Dr. Michael Chambers – Assistant Vice President for Research Innovation, University of South Alabama (at-large director)
- Abe Harper – President, Harper Technologies (at-large director)
- David King – President, Dynetics (at-large director)
- Bill Poole – Director, Alabama Department of Finance (chairman)
- Britney Summerville – Founder, Birmingham Bound (at-large director)
To learn more about Innovate Alabama, you can visit the website and view the full report, here.