Auburn University, City of Auburn partner on Innovation Fest

Published: November 15, 2016
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Auburn University and the City of Auburn have teamed up to host the first Auburn Innovation Fest on Thursday, Dec. 8 at the ALFA Pavilion at Ag Heritage Park.

The event will allow attendees the opportunity to explore and discuss the different stages of innovation and entrepreneurship in Auburn.

"Research, incubation, commercialization – all stages and elements of innovation have to work together to be successful," said Larry Fillmer, executive director of the Auburn Research and Technology Foundation. "The event will allow the general public to see the different roles and resources that Auburn University has to offer."

Most of the day's events are free and open to the public. A detailed schedule can be found at www.auburninnovationfest.org. Registration is required for two events.

"The Auburn Innovation Fest is a perfect example of the excellent collaboration between the City of Auburn and Auburn University that benefits our citizens and businesses," said Auburn Mayor Bill Ham, Jr.

The day begins at 9 a.m., with student teams from Auburn High School participating in a Junior Tiger Cage Pitch, a competition supported through the Lowder Center for Family Business and Entrepreneurship in the Raymond J. Harbert College of Business at Auburn University.

"The Junior Tiger Cage is a great tool to promote entrepreneurship with our young people," said Bill Hardgrave, dean of the Harbert College of Business. "We will invite other high schools in Alabama to join the competition next year to further improve the climate for innovation and entrepreneurship throughout the state."

The general public is invited to listen to their business ideas and meet the teams. A panel of judges will provide feedback to the students and select three winning teams.

The Auburn Chamber of Commerce will host a chamber members-only lunch featuring a panel of Auburn/Opelika entrepreneurs.

"The successful realization of entrepreneurial ideas is fundamental to a vibrant business community," said Lolly Steiner, president of the Auburn Chamber. "By promoting the dialogue between our members, we hope to encourage entrepreneurship and improve the success of startups in Auburn."

As part of the ongoing Tiger Cage competition, Auburn University students will present their preliminary "elevator pitches" at 2 p.m.

Three Auburn University faculty members, who were recently recognized by the Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development with funding from LAUNCH: The Fund for Research and Innovation at Auburn University, will give updates at 3 p.m., on the commercialization of their research.

"We are excited to participate in the inaugural Auburn Innovation Fest," said Chris Roberts, dean of the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering at Auburn University. "Highlighting the resources available to students and faculty at Auburn that can be used to foster entrepreneurship aligns with our efforts to link innovation and business in the College of Engineering and the Thomas Walter Center for Technology Management."

The finale of this year's Alabama Launchpad will wrap up the day, starting at 4 p.m. The program created and operated by the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama is the premier business startup competition in the state. Teams throughout Alabama have been selected to make presentations at the finale and compete for up to $250,000 in prize money.

"It has been an exciting year as we have celebrated our 10th anniversary and we are thrilled to once again host our finale in Auburn," said Greg Sheek, director of Alabama Launchpad. "It is clear by all that is happening in the startup arena that Auburn and Auburn University have a great partnership and synergy. There's always a lot going on in Auburn."