Gov. Robert Bentley is awarding $707, 488 to a program aimed at helping to create jobs and enable Alabama entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into viable businesses. The grant to the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama Foundation will go toward the Alabama Launchpad program.

The Alabama Launchpad program has been active for ten years. It provides opportunities for those with business ideas to receive advice and guidance from experts while networking with those in the business, academic and banking communities. According to the Alabama Launchpad’s 2015 Annual Report, the program has created 365 jobs.

“Alabamians benefit when our entrepreneurs can turn innovative ideas into companies that create jobs,” Bentley said. “Alabama Launchpad offers important resources to help startup companies transform from dreams to viable businesses.”

Alabama Launchpad is putting on multiple rounds of business plan competitions in 2016 where winners can receive a share of up to $250,000 to develop their business. The program also hosts the Alabama Innovation and Entrepreneurship Conference each year in Birmingham. For more information about the program, go to www.alabamalaunchpad.com.