FLORENCE -- The first of its kind Shoals Innovation Week is Tuesday through Sunday to spotlight innovative practices being used by local businesses.

Shoals Innovation Week is a collection of activities under the Shoals Shift initiative that is accelerating business development and growth using technology.

It is also a chance for business leaders and innovators to network and discuss ways to expand the digital economy in the Shoals.

The week starts with a breakfast at the Shoals Entrepreneurial Center at 7 a.m Tuesday to highlight the resources of the Shoals Entrepreneurial Center.  The breakfast is open to Chamber of Commerce members, business principals and the community.

The Shoals Alabama Launchpad finale is a spotlight event of Shoals Innovation week. The finale features five local companies that are competing for a portion of $100,000 in start-up money. The five finalists were selected from eight companies that competed in an initial pitch competition.

A panel discussion about innovation and entrepreneurship is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Tuesday at the UNA East Campus. Representatives from the Shoals Chamber of Commerce, Shoals Entrepreneurial Center and UNA will discuss collaboration in innovation. Lunch will be provided for the ticketed event. Tickets are $15 each.

Single Lock Records representatives will speak at Biz Buzz, a weekly business meetup, at 11:30 a.m., Friday at the Florence-Lauderdale Public Library. Biz Buzz is a forum for business leaders to talk about forming and running a business. It is a free, public event.

The week ends with a student-centered, three-day business creation weekend that allows university students to share business startup ideas and developing business plans. The students will present the ideas to a panel of local investors at 5 p.m., Sunday, in the UNA Commons Building.

Shoals Alabama Launchpad is a regional off-shoot of Alabama Launchpad, a statewide competition for start-up companies.

Shoals Shift received almost $1 million in grant funds from the Appalachian Regional Commission through the federal Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) initiative in 2016.

The University of North Alabama, Shoals Entrepreneurial Center, and Shoals Chamber of Commerce provided matching money to fund the three-year Shoals Shift initiative. 

jennifer.edwards@TimesDaily.com or 256-740-5754. Twitter @TD_JEdwards.

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