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Innovate Alabama Network award to fund STEM innovation hub at Drake State

HUNTSVILLE – An initiative to stretch the reach of a popular and fast-growing interdisciplinary program will benefit a startup program at Drake State Community and Technical College.

The school announced Monday it has received an Innovate Alabama Network Grant. The money will help establish ReneuRedi, an innovation hub designed to empower and support entrepreneurs, particularly those from underrepresented backgrounds, in their pursuit of businesses in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields.

The combined fields are described as sharing an emphasis on innovation, problem-solving, and critical thinking.

According to Drake State, though the STEM sector is renowned for high-paying opportunities, a significant gap exists in minority involvement in STEM entrepreneurship. This disparity often limits individuals from underrepresented communities access to lucrative markets. Drake State will address this challenge head-on through the launch of ReneuRedi.

“We are honored to receive the Innovate Alabama Network Grant and are excited to launch the innovation hub,” said Drake State President Dr. Patricia Sims. “This initiative aligns with our commitment to fostering innovation, diversity, and economic development in Huntsville and North Alabama.

“By providing targeted support to entrepreneurs from underrepresented backgrounds, we hope to create a more equitable and prosperous future for all.”

Located within a designated Opportunity Zone, Drake State said it’s poised to leverage resources to equip aspiring entrepreneurs with the necessary skills for success in the STEM entrepreneurship. The initiative seeks to foster broader participation in high-return STEM ventures, thereby contributing to a more inclusive and diverse entrepreneurial landscape, the school said.

The program will cater to those who are interested in starting a STEM-related business as well as existing women and minority-owned business owners interested in government contracting.

“I’m delighted by Drake State Community and Technical College’s designation as a member of the Innovate Alabama Network, demonstrating the institution’s commitment to advancing the dynamic, entrepreneurial landscape in North Alabama,” Innovate Alabama CEO Cynthia Crutchfield said. “This designation is also a testament to the impact of community and technical colleges and the pivotal role they play in propelling innovation.”


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