Montgomery has a long history as a staple for the agricultural economy, but the city is now an emerging entrepreneur destination for technology startups.
Montgomery, AL is the state’s capital and second-most populous city. The city has a long history as the heart of the state’s agricultural economy, serving as a hub for the growth, processing and distribution of commodity crops like cotton for the state and the region as a whole. Today, however, the city’s economy is evolving. Montgomery is an emerging entrepreneurial hotspot as the city aims to provide more resources to startups, especially technology startups.
Back in 2017, Blacktech Week named the city as the second-best metropolitan area for black-owned businesses. More recently in 2020, an article published on the website AfroTech listed Montgomery as one of six cities where black tech entrepreneurs are thriving. The city also appeared on WalletHub’s 2019 list of the best cities for Hispanic entrepreneurs. Finally, while Alabama as a whole was only 29th on the same website’s list of the best states to start a business, the state’s ranking of 10th in the “Business Costs” category suggests at least a somewhat friendly environment for entrepreneurs.
Based on these rankings, FundingSage has reviewed the resources that make up Montgomery’s entrepreneurial ecosystem:
A branch of the Code for America Brigade, hackMGM is a group of developers and other creatives working to improve their city through technological development.
The goal of the Montgomery Development Circle is to help educate its members in coding and other technology development skills.
While not explicitly related to entrepreneurship, Toastmasters District 77 aims to help people develop their leadership and communication skills, valuable skills for anyone in business.
Regular Entrepreneurial Events:
The inaugural Alabama Business Technology Conference, designed to support and celebrate entrepreneurship throughout the state, is planned to occur in 2020.
Located in Montgomery, the Business Council of Alabama hosts several annual events related to business in the state, including an annual Small Business Awards ceremony.
The Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce hosts a variety of business-related events, including networking opportunities and education business workshops.
Founded in 2006, the Alabama Launchpad has run a statewide business competition with a preliminary round in Montgomery that offers a $150,000 grand prize.
On occasion, the Montgomery Chamber of Commerce has held a pitch competition for area college students that takes place in a real elevator in the city’s tallest building.
Ampersand, Montgomery’s first co-working space, offers 1,200 square feet of work space designed to support both freelance workers and entrepreneurs.
Regus, a website that finds office space available for rent in different cities, has five potential locations listed in the Montgomery area.
The Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce offers a co-working space to area creatives, freelancers and entrepreneurs through its Work Together Business Studio and Co-Space.
Red Mountain Makers, located in Birmingham, is a large makerspace that offers six distinct workshops with different focuses, stocked with specific tools and equipment.
Down the road from Montgomery, the Vestavia Hills Library runs a small makerspace open to all ages that includes 3D printing, a vinyl cutter, a Raspberry Pi kit and more.
The Alabama Small Business Development Center Network, which provides support to business throughout the state, has a Montgomery location hosted at Alabama State University.
Located just a bie outside of Montgomery in Clanton, the Chilton Food Innovation Center provides commercial kitchen space and other support to area food-based small businesses.
In Birmingham, the Innovation Depot is a 140,000 square foot center dedicated to providing work space, incubation services and more to promising tech startups.
In addition to providing coworking space, the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce’s Work Together Business Studio provides a number of other support resources to area entrepreneurs.
MGMWERX is a program that works with the Air Force Research Laboratory and Air University to support technology innovation and development in issues important to the Air Force.
Techstars, which hosts major accelerator programs in different cities around the world, hosts one focused on energy technology startups located in Birmingham.
Located in Birmingham, the Velocity Accelerator is a 13-week program that works with up to 10 tech-based startups at a time and helps them grow and find major success.
While Alabama State University’s College of Business Administration does not offer a major in entrepreneurship, there is a minor program on the topic.
Since Fall 2016, Auburn University’s campus in Montgomery has offered students the ability to earn a Bachelor of Science degree with an entrepreneurship specialization.
Students at Trenholm State Community College can earn an Associate of Applied Science degree in a number of Business Administration concentrations, including entrepreneurship.
Located in Opelika, the AIM Group is a large investment group that provides early-stage funding to promising startups located throughout the Southeast United States.
Alabama Futures Fund is a venture capital fund that invests in and works with the best and most promising early-stage startups throughout the state.
Based in Birmingham, Redmont Capital is an investment firm that works primarily with companies located in Southwest Texas and the Southeast United States.
Entrepreneurial Newsletter Coverage:
AL.com offers a wide variety of newsletters from around the state to subscribers, including one focused on the state’s business news and one focused on news in the Montgomery area.
Business Alabama Magazine offers those interested the chance to subscribe to an email newsletter containing the biggest business news and headlines from around the state.
The Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce makes a variety of business information available through a Business Journal, several business-related podcasts and a newsletter.
Are you familiar with entrepreneurial ecosystem infrastructure in Montgomery not included in the article above? If so, let us know via a comment below and we will add it to the article.
Interested in Ecosystem Spotlights of other cities in the USA?