The University of Alabama's Entrepreneurship Program served as the State Leadership Team for observance of Entrepreneurship Week U.S.A. Feb. 24-March 3.
Ranked 20th in the nation by Entrepreneur Magazine, the program used Entrepreneurship Week U.S.A. "to tell Alabamians more about entrepreneurship and to highlight opportunities available to entrepreneurs in Alabama," said David M. Ford, clinical professor and the Sam Walton Fellow in the department of management and marketing at UA's Culverhouse College of Commerce and Business Administration.
The State Leadership Team encourages educational institutions, community organizations, and government agencies throughout Alabama to host events associated with entrepreneurship."
The week was capped off by a reception and award dinner celebrating UA's 20th ranking and other recognitions.
Among the award were the K-12 Entrepreneurship Educator of the Year Award to Earnestine Giles; the Higher Education Entrepreneurship Educator Award to Lisa McKinney; the African American Business Plan Competition Award, Grand Prize to Terrance Meade, who received $2,500 provided by the African American Graduate Student Association; the Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award to Carol Ann Gray
Entrepreneurship is a driving force of the U.S. economy. During the past 15 years, businesses less than five years old have accounted for about 70 percent of the net job creation in the United States. However, while America presently maintains the edge as an entrepreneurial society, there are clear signs of massive economic competition from abroad. More Americans in the future will need to generate more ideas and better innovations if the United States is to stay ahead of the large populations of educated citizens in emerging and globally savvy economies.
Alabama was ranked No. 4 on a Hot States for Entrepreneurs list last year, and several state cities are highly ranked. Mobile is No. 1 among midsize cities, with Birmingham coming in at No. 3.
Auburn-Opelika was No. 1 among small cities followed by Huntsville, No. 19; Montgomery, No. 25; Decatur, No. 39; and Florence, No. 63.
Hispanicbusiness.com ranks Alabama No. 4 in Best States for Small Business, and the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council ranks Alabama No. 4 as having the best tax and regulatory climate for entrepreneurs.