Updated — Two IT companies have canceled or put on hold discussions about moving to Birmingham because of the abortion ban signed into law last week, according to Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin.
Woodfin told author Diane McWhorter about the changes for an opinion piece published Saturday on CNN.
McWhorter wrote that Woodfin “confirmed to me today that the abortion ban affected two IT companies considering moves to the city – one canceled outright, while the other ‘put the brakes on negotiations.’” Read more.
Tomatoes will likely soon get pricier. The Trump administration plans to impose a 17.5 percent tariff on tomatoes imported from Mexico. Those could take effect this week. Florida growers, who once dominated the market for off-season tomatoes, lobbied for the tariffs But today more than half the fresh tomatoes sold in the U.S. come from Mexico. Many Alabama growers and consumers are taking a wait-and-see approach. Read more.
Eleven days after announcing a name for the new downtown stadium, the executive director of the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Center was again at a podium, this time announcing that the 50th Bassmaster Classic presented by Dick’s Sporting Goods will be in Birmingham and on Lake Guntersville on March 6-8, 2020.
“I want to have announcements every day. I’ll never complain about that,” Snider said after an afternoon press conference. “But yeah, this is exciting.”
Bruce Akin, CEO of Bass Anglers Sportsman Society, said it is more than appropriate for the company to bring its “super bowl of fishing” to Alabama, the state where B.A.S.S. was born. This year’s announcement is a bit later than normal, he said, as organizers wanted to be sure construction on the Interstate 59/20 bridge through downtown Birmingham would be done in time.
This will be the 13th time that Alabama has hosted this event out of 50. Read more.
In some ways, Birmingham-based medical technology company AerBetic is attempting to imitate one of the most sensitive detection devices in nature: a dog’s nose.
“The idea came from diabetic alert dogs,” said AerBetic co-founder Eric Housh, referring to canines trained to alert diabetic owners when their blood sugar is too low. While those dogs are effective, Housh said, they can be prohibitively expensive. “Plus, there’s a long wait time to get one, and you can’t really take the dog everywhere, right?” he added.
His proposed solution is a “non-invasive diabetes alert device that uses your exhaled breath to infer your diabetic status.” It’s a product that’s been in development in Birmingham for two years, with assistance from the city’s medical and technical research community. Read more.
The idea behind Milk the Moment is, at first, counterintuitive for a mobile app: it’s meant to get users off their phones.
The app, re-launched in Birmingham, is one of seven startups now participating in Innovation Depot’s Velocity Accelerator, a program that provides up-and-coming tech companies with funding, mentors, office space and other resources.
Milk the Moment founder Courtney “Coko” Eason said that her experience at Innovation Depot – and in Birmingham in general – has her considering relocating the company’s headquarters from Nashville to the Magic City. “We’re calling it Milk 2.0,” she said of the app’s relaunch. “We’ve totally redesigned it … . It’s very brand-spanking-new, and it’s all happening out of Birmingham.” Read more.
Metro Birmingham’s powerhouses of tech and innovation – including the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Southern Research and Innovation Depot – are among dozens of businesses and organizations that believe the time has come to put a fresh focus on the city’s tech savvy and its Innovation District.
The amped-up effort to establish Birmingham as a Southern tech hub intersects with a plethora of mostly homegrown tech companies already setting up shop in downtown and Southside and coincides with new Opportunity Zone incentives for investors.
Innovation District plans also benefit from increasing national attention for its tech scene, said Birmingham Business Alliance’s Lauren Cooper, who noted that metro Birmingham being called a possible Southern Silicon Valley boosts momentum for the idea of the Innovation District.
“A defined home for technology and innovation around Innovation Depot will allow more companies to easily access the resources needed for growth, including collaboration, funding research and workforce,” said Cooper, who is vice president for communications at BBA.
The official roll-out of new branding plans and strategies for metro Birmingham’s Innovation District is planned for summer 2019. An updated City Center Master Plan will be revealed later in the summer, said Josh Carpenter, director of economic development for the city of Birmingham.
The Innovation District will include established high-tech employers UAB and Southern Research and the city’s business incubation nonprofit Innovation Depot, home to more than 100 startups and 1,000 employees, plus a growing number of startup companies establishing offices in downtown Birmingham. Read more.
Birmingham’s growth as a tech and innovation hub has been attracting interest from a variety of national publications. Read more.
Woodfin updated the public on progress toward key goals, including workforce development and economic opportunity. Read more.
As a Diana Ross classic blared across the speakers in the grassy area in front of Birmingham’s Uptown District, Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin said he never thought the mountain was too high to achieve the goal of a new stadium downtown.
“At a certain point, no mountain is high enough if you’ve got enough people pushing and pulling with you at the same time, in the same direction,” Woodfin said after Protective Life was announced as the title sponsor of the stadium, the construction of which could begin this summer.
The Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex and Protective Life Corporation announced today a 15-year agreement for the naming rights sponsorship of Birmingham’s new multi-use stadium, which now will be called Protective Stadium.
“Each step makes it more real, more tangible,” Woodfin said. “This is just another step within the process as we continue to move this project forward.”
Protective committed to pay $1 million per year for 15 years for naming rights at the stadium. The insurance company joins the BJCC Authority, city of Birmingham, Jefferson County, UAB and other corporate partners in funding the new stadium. Read more.
Trafford Mayor Greg Rogers wasn’t present in the Jefferson County Commission chambers this morning but the spirit of TV’s Mister Rogers was as 22 Jefferson County mayors signed the Good Neighbor Pledge.
The pact discourages poaching between cities in the county. Each city represented in the agreement pledges not to recruit business from another city within the county.
“Under the voluntary agreement, we as mayors promise we will not lure businesses away from other cities in Jefferson County through solicitation or incentives,” Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin said. “I’m convinced the Good Neighbor Pledge will lay a better foundation for our cities’ future … all of us within the county.”
Woodfin said not having a pledge such as the one signed today put Birmingham at risk of losing small businesses, including shops, grocery stores and restaurants.
“When a business closes in one city and moves to a neighboring city, we’re not creating new jobs, we’re not creating opportunities,” the Birmingham mayor continued. “We’re just shuffling them around.” Read more.