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Lake Martin Innovation Center

Valley National Bank (Winner) - Alexander City, Alabama

2020 Community Commitment Awards Submission

  • Entry Categories: Economic Inclusion, Community & Economic Development
  • Asset Size: Medium

The Lake Martin Innovation Center is a partnership between the Alexander City Chamber of Commerce and Valley Bank. Housed in a former Valley operations center and located in Alexander City off US Highway 280, with a population of close to 37,000 within a 25-mile radius. The Innovation Center is centrally located between Birmingham and Auburn/Opelika, of which the population exceeds 200,000 and 150,000 respectively. The average median household income is ,636, with 33% of residents successful graduating high school, less than 12% of residents have a bachelor's degree, and 65 of occupations are blue collar workers. Although Alexander City is a smaller area, there's a growing need for resources and programs to support small businesses. The Alexander City Chamber of Commerce facility can meet the needs of the community by serving as a business incubator to promote and nurture start-ups, entrepreneurs, individual co-workspace memberships and help existing businesses excel. The chamber also collaborates with Gateway Education Foundation and Benjamin Russell school system to teach students about starting a business and all aspects of entrepreneurship. Students work with business owners and business professionals through a curriculum on what it takes to start and run a real business. Valley's regional executive is very active in contributing in this process and serves on the executive board.