Mobile’s Entrepreneurial Center Begins Renovation & New Construction on Permanent Facility
The Business View – April 2019 / News You Can Use
Innovation PortAL reached another major milestone in its quest to retain, support and accelerate the central Gulf Coast’s highest-performing startups. Community, business and education leaders celebrated the organization’s groundbreaking in February.
“Innovation PortAL is modern day economic development,” said Frank Lott with Heritage Homes, who serves as both PortAL board chair and the Chamber Foundation chair, during his opening comments. “When this facility is complete – there will be very few, if any, like it in the Southeast.”
Signaling the start of a modern day meets historic transformation at 358 St. Louis St., the 30,000-square-foot facility will be home to Class A office space, collaborative workspaces and a classroom. Located in the heart of Mobile’s burgeoning technology corridor, other amenities will include event spaces, conference rooms, open areas and two courtyards.
Expected to open in spring 2020, Rogers & Willard is serving as the lead contractor. The construction of PortAL’s state-of-the-art innovation center is partially funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration and is subject to associated federal laws and regulations.
Most important, said Hayley Van Antwerp, PortAL’s executive director, “The space will give a permanent home to the organization’s entrepreneurial-focused individual, group and community programs. I am thrilled to see Innovation PortAL coming to life, and am confident the opportunity before us can move the needle for our regional economy.”
During the groundbreaking, Van Antwerp also shared several recent developments, starting with the news PortAL was granted 501(c)(3) status and was launching the PortAL Fund, a campaign to raise early stage funding for high-growth startups.
“Innovation PortAL is the embodiment of our region’s burgeoning startup community. And the most exciting thing is its role as the hub of our entrepreneurial ecosystem, said Bill Sisson, Chamber president and CEO. “Without question, Innovation PortAL will help ensure Mobile’s economic place in the 21st century.”
In addition, the crowd heard from two program clients – Trey Byrum, founder and CEO of Global Inspections, the parent company of Scottsman Tools and Alabama Pipe Welders Academy, and Andrea Moore, president and chief operating officer of M2 Solutions, a company working with owners and investors of new or existing structures to reduce long-term maintenance costs.
Both entrepreneurs credited the program for the personal assistance, strategic guidance and introductions to mentors and potential investors.
About the Mobile Chamber
The Mobile Chamber is a private business organization with more than 1,700 members and the economic developer for the City of Mobile and Mobile County. The Mobile Chamber’s focus is to provide members with networking, marketing and professional development opportunities, expand jobs in the area, develop the local workforce, advocate legislative priorities and offer resources to help small businesses grow. Additional information is on the Chamber’s website, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube.