TechBirmingham, incorporated as the Birmingham Area Technology Leadership Alliance, was created from the recommendations of the Birmingham Area Technology Task Force (“BATT Force”) in May 2002. TechBirmingham has taken the Strategic Plan (PDF) issued by the BATT Force and created a roadmap for success. The road map has three parallel paths. First, help grow the large number of existing technology businesses and attract new companies to the area. Second, make sure that the business environment is tech-friendly through the attraction of new capital sources and strategic economic incentives. And third, work to create and improve a technology-capable workforce through various public-private partnerships.
TechBirmingham is “staffed” by its extensive Board of Directors, Officers, Advisors, and its “CHANGE Agents” (volunteers) who are connected to TechBirmingham through their common interests and activities. As the Birmingham region’s “Leadership Alliance” we rely on the actions of many individuals and aligned interests of other organizations that share a common vision of economic growth through technology.
The highest percentage of companies in the region are independent, healthy information technology and biotech companies making their mark on the world. Wherever you find them, take time to get to know what they offer and make an effort to help them achieve success. These companies represent tomorrow’s growth for Birmingham.
TechBirmingham is working with existing economic development and business retention organizations to coordinate and facilitate and image and awareness campaign. This grass roots effort will promote both internally- and externally-generated technology growth in the Birmingham area, and establish a national image for Birmingham as a vibrant and progressive community as an ideal location for technology-based business.
TechBirmingham is creating, cultivating, and maintaining a technology-friendly business environment, in which ideas and opportunities flourish, and products and services are moved rapidly into the marketplace.
As a current and prospective location for technology-based business and investment, the Birmingham area has several strengths which enhance its attractiveness. These include proximity to leading-edge technology – and generators of such technology – well-managed and successful incubators, a well-trained technology workforce, low operating costs, geography, and community culture. Collectively, these factors provide a strong foundation for building Birmingham’s international reputation as a technology center.
TechBirmingham is also creating and attracting new sources of capital to fund the local development of technology and formation and growth of local technology-based businesses, and attracting new technology-based businesses to the Birmingham area.
Despite the presence of key competitive strengths, the Birmingham area historically has not attracted sufficient amounts of equity capital to compete effectively for new technology-based businesses, to properly support the growth of existing tech businesses, or to fund the local development of technology. TechBirmingham is pursuing the creation of a cooperative investment fund, creation of a new early stage investment fund, attracting local offices of capital sources, and encouraging local banks to implement specialized lending programs for technology-related businesses. Further, TechBirmingham’s board of directors has been instrumental in the creation of Alabama’s CAPCO program and is pursuing specialized tax credits and incentives for technology companies.
TechBirmingham is undertaking several projects to develop, recruit, and maintain a nationally recognized technology workforce, and to develop and implement educational programs which foster entrepreneurship. Proposed initiatives include creation of technology neighborhoods, technology scholarships and internships, and consolidated and coordinated technology educational offerings. Efforts are also underway developing public/private partnerships to close the digital divide through inspiration, not hand-outs.
Development of the Birmingham area’s existing workforce will be supplemented by efforts to recruit new technological and entrepreneurial skills and talent to the area. This includes both direct recruitment efforts undertaken by TechBirmingham and/or its economic development allies, and corporate, educational, and institutional recruitment efforts. TechBirmingham is partnering with several local executive recruiting agencies in the recruitment of skill sets including entrepreneurial, executive, discipline-based, and technical.