Hatch Fairhope Announces Grand Opening

FAIRHOPE, ALA. – The City of Fairhope, the Baldwin Community and Economic Development Foundation and The University of Alabama announce "Hatch,” a downtown business resource hub that will provide guidance and links to statewide resources for tech entrepreneurs in the early stages of forming a startup company, will open in the Fairhope community on November 2.

Hatch is a new vehicle created to empower the tech entrepreneur community and aims to foster entrepreneurial culture, develop a resource ecosystem and connect The University of Alabama resources with emerging tech companies across the state. As part of "Technology Villages,” a program that assists communities in constructing and operating these storefront incubators to encourage growth of local technology-based businesses, Hatch has developed a strong list of program services to provide the community.

"Since Fairhope’s beginning, the city has attracted entrepreneurs and independent thinkers,” said Karin Wilson, Fairhope mayor. "Many cities spend considerable effort to develop ‘think tanks.’ Our City has always been a think tank – an innovation district. And Fairhope has always been citizen-driven. The people who live here – whether they moved here recently or are longtime residents – want to contribute their time, ideas and energy.

That’s why we believe that Fairhope is the perfect place to launch Hatch and we are excited to support and partner with The University of Alabama and the Baldwin County Economic Development Alliance on this initiative.”

The program services consist of risk evaluation and development model, IP and technology review and collaboration, market and technology sector database access, high-speed internet and workspace opportunities, sound operations and business planning, local entrepreneurial networking, national talent and resources, corporate partnering (marketing, research, manufacturing) and favorable venture and funding sources.

Located on the second floor of the BBVA Compass building on Section Street in downtown Fairhope, Hatch has undergone renovations for the past several months to create a space to be utilized for co-working and to bring innovation into the workplace. Through the partnership with Coastal Alabama Community College, Baldwin Community and Economic Development Foundation and The City of Fairhope, Hatch is able to open its doors to the tech community.

"I’m excited about the University’s strategic partnerships with Fairhope,” said Stuart R. Bell, The University of Alabama president. "One of our primary goals as Alabama’s flagship is to increase activities that drive economic development for our state. As we reach out to emerging tech businesses in these areas, we look forward to helping small businesses thrive and bolster their local economies.”

The Technology Villages program is based on a five-year pilot conducted in five South Carolina cities by Clemson University under its Institute of Community and Economic Development. Programs in Bluffton and Rock Hill created an estimated 12 to 14 companies in the first 18 months and close to 70 new jobs with an estimated payroll of $2.8 million.

The program is unique in its structure, operating as both a traditional incubator and as a startup resource hub where entrepreneurs receive real-time distance entrepreneurial learning with hands-on consulting support. The program will also link Fairhope and Baldwin County to intellectual property resources, seed financing and corporate partnering relationships.

"Growing entrepreneurial companies has always been part of our strategy and Hatch now provides the place and hub to implement and deliver on that strategy,” said Lee Lawson, president and CEO of the Baldwin County Economic Development Alliance. "Hatch will be viable because of its channeled focus and partnership with UA. It is particularly important for a region that doesn’t have a heavy economic development footprint from a four-year university.”

For more information about Hatch Fairhope, visit hatchfairhope.com or call 251.270.2670.

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