The Alabama Collective’s Year in Review 2023: A Year of Milestones and Impact

The Alabama Collective proudly reflects on a remarkable year filled with achievements, growth, and meaningful contributions to Alabama’s tech and entrepreneurial ecosystem. Here are our top five highlights of 2023:

Acceptance into the Innovate Alabama Network and Funding Success

One of the most significant milestones of the year was our entry into the prestigious Innovate Alabama Network. This achievement was accompanied by substantial funding that will fuel innovation-related projects throughout the state. The Executive Director of The Alabama Collective, Charisse Stokes, expressed her excitement, stating, “This partnership empowers us to broaden our reach in nurturing and empowering minority talent within the realms of innovation, technology, and entrepreneurship.” The funding will support various programs, including business competitions, hackathons, training initiatives, and internship programs, all aimed at advancing Alabama’s innovative economy while fostering diversity in the workforce.

All Access @ the Classic: Entrepreneurs Edition and Practical Startup Strategies

In an effort to provide valuable resources to minority communities, we hosted two free and open-to-the-public events. “All Access @ the Classic: Entrepreneurs Edition” featured a panel discussion with industry leaders, followed by networking and brunch, creating a jovial atmosphere for knowledge sharing. Additionally, “Practical Startup Strategies,” led by Joshua Sahib, Managing Director of the Lowder Center for Family Business and Entrepreneurship at Auburn University, offered strategic guidance and networking opportunities, emphasizing support for micro-businesses that are vital to Alabama’s economy.

Appy Hours & Innovation Power Hours at HBCUs

We extended our reach to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) across the state through interactive events such as “Innovation Power Hours” and “Appy Hours.” These initiatives provided students with access to valuable resources, tools, and mentors, offering experiential learning opportunities. We reached HBCUs including Stillman, Talladega, Oakwood, Tuskegee, Alabama A&M University, Miles, Alabama State, Drake, Trenholm, Bishop, and Lawson, fostering innovation and tech entrepreneurship among the next generation.

Blacks in Tech Event

Our “Blacks in Tech” event was a standout moment featuring the first black female USAF CIO as the headliner. The event addressed real-world financial and logistics challenges faced by market leaders such as Trustmark Bank, ServisFirst, USAF, and CSX. This event showcased our commitment to addressing current industry issues and creating opportunities for diverse voices to be heard and make an impact in the tech sector.

Supporting HBCU Students through Competitions

Throughout the year, we demonstrated our commitment to education and talent development by giving back to the community. Competitions like the “HBCU Pitch Competition @ Magic City Classic” allowed us to provide more than $40,000 in funding to HBCU students. This investment in the next generation of tech and entrepreneurial leaders will undoubtedly have a lasting impact on Alabama’s innovation landscape.

In 2023, The Alabama Collective continued its mission to expand and enhance emerging tech, innovation, and entrepreneurial programs in Alabama. Through partnerships, events, and investments in talent, we’ve made significant strides toward creating a more diverse and prosperous tech ecosystem in the state. We look forward to building on these achievements in the coming year and beyond, as we remain committed to championing minority talent and fostering innovation across Alabama.


The Alabama Collective is more than an organization - it's a movement championing a diverse, inclusive, and prosperous future for our state.