MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WTVA) -- A program that helps Alabama entrepreneurs turn business concepts into reality is getting a boost from a $733,059 grant awarded by Gov. Robert Bentley.
The grant to the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama Foundation is helping fund the Alabama Launchpad program.
The program provides opportunities for individuals with a business idea to receive expert guidance and establish working relationships in the business, academic and banking communities.
It also conducts annual business-plan competitions with winners receiving a share of a $100,000 prize to develop their businesses.
"Alabamians benefit whenever an individual or group can turn an idea into a viable business that creates jobs," Bentley said. "I am pleased to support this program that helps innovators take the steps necessary to develop a successful business."
The program is running two rounds of business-plan competitions in 2013.
The first contest ended in May with more than 20 start-up companies competing and the second is underway.
Winners will be chosen on Sept. 26 at the Alabama Launchpad Innovation and Entrepreneurship Conference in Birmingham.
Past Alabama Launchpad participants have created more than 150 jobs and raised more than $14 million in additional funding for their businesses.
The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs is administering the grant from the Alabama Research Alliance Trust Fund, established by the state in 1981.
Interest earned by the trust fund is used to support projects that promote innovation and new technology.
ADECA administers an array of programs supporting law enforcement and traffic safety, economic development, energy conservation, workforce development, water resource management and recreation development.
Gov. Bentley notified Angela Wier, vice president of EDPA, that he approved the grant.