Student Opportunities

UNA Student Opportunities:

All UNA students are invited and welcomed to compete, participate and attend the following opportunities which are designed for community and students engagement:

Shoals Idea Audition held annually in October is the region’s premier 3-minute pitch contest open to students and the community with $8,000 in prizes awarded. 

Lift Off Shoals is a new program designed to offer support to newly developed, independent ventures in the pre-seed, startup, or early growth stages. 

Smart Start is UNA’s student weekend business startup event held annually in the spring semester. Participants follow an agenda that leads them to learn how to make decisions about their idea, customer reaction, and evaluation of their concept resulting in a business. Community leaders provide mentorship as the student teams develop their ideas into a company.

Shoals Innovation Week is held in February and is bookended by Shoals Alabama Launchpad and SmartStart Weekend. In between the region hosts the NextGen Future Awards, an exciting evening recognizing many of the up and coming startups that contribute to our tech economy.

Shoals Spark held annually in March allows students from middle school through higher education an opportunity to advance ideas that will make the Shoals more prepared for the digital technology industry. In a short video, the participant pitches their idea for a share of the $1500 cash prizes.

The Generator is UNA’s student incubator where businesses and students work together to launch ideas into companies. Students can join the Generator Student Club which meets weekly during the semester. Outfitted as a co-working space with maker space equipment you will find many interesting ideas incubating. Located at 204 w Tuscaloosa St you will find students and mentors there just about any hour of the day.

Mane Capital Fund is a micro-venture fund established here by the Angel Capital Group, a collection of angels — wealthy investors who provide capital for new businesses in exchange for convertible debt or ownership equity — who established partnerships in nine states. This allows startups to gain needed angel funds locally. UNA startups can apply as they advance through their development.