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Imagining the Shoals as the Next Leader in Digital Technology

Announcing the Shoals Big Ideas Competition

A joint committee of leaders from the University of North Alabama, local schools, mayor’s offices and the Shoals Chamber of Commerce, is encouraging students and community members to bring forth their best ideas to develop the Shoals as the next leader in digital technology. This also gives the community members a chance to win cash and a $1,000 scholarship to UNA for the Fall 2015 semester.

On Wednesday, March 11, 2015, judges will select the winners of the first Shoals Big Idea Competition. The Big Idea event is open to the public and will be held at the UNA Performance Center in the GUC. Submissions are due by Feb. 22, 2015.

Winners in each category with the most promising idea for making the Shoals a leader in digital technology will win $500 to help them move their idea forward. The competition is designed to highlight the local community’s involvement to make the Shoals dynamic and vibrant for the 21st century. Winners in three categories will be selected after brief presentations by the entrants based on the strength of their idea addressing the question; “How can we, as a community, become the next leader in digital technology?”

Several local entrepreneurs and business owners are working with the committee sponsoring this competition as they recognize that technology companies need talent, infrastructure and affordable living, in which to build their businesses.

“The Shoals can thrive as a technology hub in the South. We are excited to be a part of that effort, recognizing that we need talented, well trained developers that are excited to remain in the community to work and start families. We need a supportive technology infrastructure and we need new ideas from the community. As we’ve seen in other cities with emerging start-up businesses, it takes energy from all segments of the community to spark the effort,” said Kerry DeLay McCane, President and CEO of IP Watch. IP Watch is an intellectual property management technology company founded in Florence.

The Shoals Big Idea Competition has been designed to foster innovation and entrepreneurship by getting the community to imagine the Shoals as the next leading community in digital technology. The competition will award ideas with the potential to make a difference, solving a problem that stands between the community today and a thriving technology hub that will allow business opportunities to be created in the Shoals.

“UNA is excited to be a sponsor of this critically important and exciting competition. We are looking forward to having students from local middle schools, high schools, community colleges and universities, as well as members of the community, present their unique and creative ideas. Great ideas are generated by events such as this, and it will be exciting to see how these ideas develop into opportunities for innovation in The Shoals,” said Dr. Greg Carnes, Dean of the UNA College of Business.

For more information on the Shoals Big Idea Competition including competition rules and guidelines: www.shoalsbigidea.com or Dr. Santanu Borah at 256-765-4605 or by email at sborah@una.edu.