A projected $4 million investment sits poised to propel the rebirth of downtown Mobile’s St. Louis Street corridor, while cultivating innovative, financially viable businesses and positioning the Port City as the Gulf Coast’s entrepreneurial hub.
Lynne Chronister, the University of South Alabama’s vice president of research and economic development, unveiled informal plans Wednesday for Innovation PortAL, a long-discussed technology-centered – but not exclusive – incubator and accelerator to be housed along the city’s former Automobile Alley.
“When we applied for the (U.S. Department of Commerce’s Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership) designation, one of our primary focuses was in workforce development, but another aspect we looked at was innovation. Because Mobile was a traditional manufacturing community, we hadn’t focused (historically) on building an entrepreneurial ecosystem,” she said.
Innovation PortAL – expected to build on the region’s manufacturing base, focusing on collaboration between local industry, innovative manufacturers, and regional entrepreneurs – was conceived, designed and developed by the leadership of the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce, the city and county of Mobile, USA and a group of young leaders representing the FUSE Project.