9 Best Startup Accelerators and Incubators in Alabama 2024

Alabama's entrepreneurial landscape has been thriving in recent years, with innovative startups emerging across various industries. Fueling this growth are the state's exceptional startup accelerators and incubators, providing aspiring entrepreneurs with the necessary support, mentorship, and resources to transform their ideas into successful businesses. 

In this article, we delve into the best startup accelerators and incubators in Alabama, highlighting their unique programs, success stories, and contributions to the state's vibrant startup ecosystem.

We also recommend exploring our main list of the best startup accelerators.

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Startup Incubators and Accelerator Programs in Alabama

Startup accelerator programs help growth-oriented startups by providing resources, mentorship, and funding, often in exchange for an ownership stake.  While accelerators typically work to quickly grow and scale a startup, incubators typically assist a business over a longer period of time. Let’s see what Alabama startup incubator and accelerator programs are right for your business. 

1. Techstars Alabama Power EnergyTech Accelerator

If your startup has a pitch-worthy green focus, Techstars may be the accelerator for you. Techstars Alabama Power EnergyTech Accelerator focuses on clean tech, climate tech, and energy efficiency. Its chosen startups typically touch on energy distribution, smart grids, or wind energy, but they are open to related businesses with a green or customer experience focus, such as electric vehicles and sustainability.  

Located in Birmingham and funded by Alabama Power,  the Techstars network offers proximity to a major energy producer. Techstars accelerator program run for three months during which startups are partnered with key mentors, investors, and alumni. The startup accelerator provides funding, fundraising opportunities, workshops, and resources. 

Techstars has provided over $23 billion in funding to more than 3,400 companies. Graduates companies have an average raise of $1 million following the program. Techstar will invest up to $120,000 in each accelerator startup. In exchange, they acquire the right to 6% of the company’s fully diluted capital stock and provide $20,000 upfront. 

2. First Avenue Ventures

First Avenue Ventures is a private business incubator located in Birmingham, Alabama. It focuses on Birmingham and Alabama businesses with a mission to help grow entrepreneurial organizations in the Birmingham community. In 2002, the incubator completed over 15 exits in the past three years and had over 100 startups on its funded roster. 

Two funds are offered by First Avenue: the Opportunity Fund and the Life Science Fund. The Opportunity Fund focuses on high-growth businesses by investing $100,000 to $500,000 in companies that are positioned to generate significant capital. Notable portfolio companies include Casa and Linq. 

First Avenue Ventures invests capital, resources, and management insight into its incubator startups. They further support their portfolio startups by providing strategic advisement, accountability, marketing assistance, and financing. They also claim a strong network in the region that they can draw on to accelerate selected startups. 

3. New Venture Accelerator

The New Venture Accelerator leverages a team of Entrepreneurs-In-Residence to support qualified applicants interested in starting a new business or growing an existing one. The New Venture Accelerator is managed and governed by Auburn University’s Harbert College of Business and the Auburn Research and Technology Foundation.

New Venture Accelerator focuses on businesses led by entrepreneurs in the Auburn-Opelika area and its surrounding communities. They do this by mentoring these entrepreneurs on how to conduct market analysis, find investors, and create effective pitch strategies. They also offer free summer workshops for entrepreneurs.  

This accelerator has successfully launched over 50 businesses that have received over $47 million of venture investment and have created over 370 jobs. Further, a recent grant from the US Economic Development Administration has funded an expansion of the program. Some notable portfolio companies include Yellow Card, Flashtract, and Vulcan Line Tools.

4. Shoals Business Incubator

Located in Florence, the Shoals Business Incubator is a major economic development player in Northwest Alabama’s Shoals region. It claims a 90% success rate and has incubated more than 300 businesses that supported over 2,500 jobs providing significant economic impact to the local area. It offers facilities and resources to companies in the Shoals region seeking to innovate their business processes.

SBI claims, “If you can dream it, you can make it with us.” It backs up that statement by providing its portfolio companies with three unique facilities that boast industrial and manufacturing space, as well as food production and office space. Portfolio companies receive funding, access to commercial facilities, business counseling, and technical assistance. 

SBI also maintains a network of partners to provide its incubator startups with the kind of critical framework that will enable their businesses to succeed.

5. Wiregrass Economic Development Corporation

If you’re looking to start a manufacturing company in Southeast Alabama, Wiregrass Economic Development Corporation may be able to help. Its Enterprise Business Incubator is located in the Yancey Parker Industrial Park in Enterprise and provides accepted applicants with investor opportunities, discounted office space, access to office equipment, small business seminars and resources, and one-on-one counseling with the SBDC-Troy University.

Wiregrass Economic Development Corporation’s mission is to foster responsible economic development activities that benefit the communities of Coffee and Geneva counties and the city of Daleville in neighboring Dale County. Its Enterprise Business Incubator partners with investor members like Alabama Power Company, the City of Enterprise, and ALFAB to make this mission possible.

6. Innovation Portal

Innovation Portal is a nonprofit incubator focused on accelerating startup growth in the Gulf Coast region. The Portal Fund at Innovation Portal provides pre-seed investments to entrepreneurs in the early stage of developing high-growth companies in the South Alabama and Gulf Coast region. This fund supports these startup founders with seed capital and access to programming, milestone-based mentoring, a workspace, and a growth-focused community. 

The Portal Fund provides investments of $10,000 to $50,000. Funding is provided in the form of a loan that can convert into equity at the time of a funding event. Since 2019, four ventures have received funding totaling $135,000. The fund focuses on high-growth ventures located in, or willing to relocate to, the Gulf Coast Region.

7. The EDGE

The EDGE is a partnership between The University of Alabama, the West Alabama Chamber of Commerce, and the City of Tuscaloosa. Its mission is to create a system that supports entrepreneurship, business growth, and personal enterprise. The EDGE is both a workspace and a business support system that hosts regular workshops, forums, and informal gatherings that help foster growth, innovation, and jobs. 

Located in Tuscaloosa near the University of Alabama, the EDGE is housed in a 26,000-square-foot facility where it works to create a community to grow and support entrepreneurs. The program was established in 2012. The EDGE offers 20 offices, 100 workstations, and several conference rooms to established entrepreneurs, people seeking to build their businesses, and individuals who need a workspace. To learn more, contact The EDGE directly. 

8. Bronze Valley

The Bronze Valley Investment Accelerator invests up to $100,000 in high-growth startups and focuses on supporting founders from backgrounds that have historically been excluded from access to capital, such as female entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs of color. The Bronze Valley Accelerator has worked with 20 companies in four cohorts over the last two years. Collectively, these companies have raised over $8 million in venture capital after completing the program. 

Based in the Birmingham area, The Bronze Valley Investment Accelerator is a national accelerator that invests in up to five companies per year that are led by underrepresented entrepreneurs. In addition to a $100,000 investment, each participating startup receives 12 weeks of concierge, mentorship-based programming.

9. The BGV Connect Incubator

The BGV Connect Incubator was created to meet the Black Girl Ventures' mission to accelerate 100,000 Black/Brown women. The BGV Connect Incubator funds and scales revenue generating, tech-enabled businesses under $1M led by black or brown female entrepreneurs. It also hosts the largest investor pitch contest for black and brown female-identifying founders. Interested applicants need to check in with the website to find out when the program’s calls for submission are open. 

The Black Girl Ventures Foundation (BGV) was founded in 2016 by Shelly Bell to address the unique challenges Black/Brown women face in accessing social and financial capital to grow their businesses. BGV has funded 450 women of color, held over 50 Pitch Programs across 15 cities, and served over 10,000 founders. BGV pitch participants have generated over $10M in revenue and 3,000 jobs. BGV has three programs (BGV Pitch, BGV NextGen, BGV Emerging Leaders) and is now the largest ecosystem builder for Black/Brown women founders on the East Coast.