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Student Opportunities

UNA Student Opportunities:

All UNA students are invited and welcomed to compete, participate and attend the following opportunities which are designed for community and students engagement:

Shoals Idea Audition held annually in October is the region’s premier 3 minute pitch contest open to students and community with $8,000 in prizes awarded. 

Shoals Alabama Launchpad opens applications in November and finalists pitch for their share of $100,000 of pre-seed monies in February.

Smartstart Weekend is UNA’s student weekend business startup event held annually in the spring semester. Participants follow an agenda that leads them to learn how to make decisions about their idea, customer reaction and evaluation of their concept resulting in a business. Community leaders provide mentorship as the student teams develop their ideas into a company.

Shoals Innovation Week is held in February and is bookended by Shoals Alabama Launchpad and SmartStart Weekend. In between the region hosts the NextGen Future Awards, an exciting evening recognizing many of the up and coming startups that contribute to our tech economy.

Shoals Spark  held annually in March allows students from middle school through higher education an opportunity to advance ideas that will make the Shoals more prepared for the digital technology industry. In a short video the participant pitches their idea for a share of the $1500 cash prizes.

The Generator is UNA’s student incubator where business and students work together to launch ideas into companies. Students can join the Generator Student Club which meets weekly during the semester. Outfitted as a co-working space with maker space equipment you will find many interesting ideas incubating. Located at 204 w Tuscaloosa St you will find students and mentors there just about any hour of the day.

Meetups are a growing way for like-minded people to network and learn from each other. Biz Buzz is a presentation and feedback session for entrepreneurs to share their experience and challenges. 

Collaboratory @ FLPL a media and maker space at the Florence Lauderdale Public Library is open for the community to tinker! UNA students are welcome to use the resources just a short way from campus.

Mane Capital Fund: is a micro-venture fund established here by the Angel Capital Group, a collection of angels — wealthy investors who provide capital for new businesses in exchange for convertible debt or ownership equity — who established partnerships in nine states. This allows startups to gain needed angel funds locally. UNA startups can apply as they advance through their development.