Songwriter Venue Creator Wins Shoals Idea Audition

Florence, ALA – Lillian Glanton, a UNA sophomore from Athens, Alabama majoring in Entertainment Business, received $5,000 for the winning entry in the entrepreneurship competition held Tuesday night.
 
Glanton said she plans to open a music venue in Sheffield near the Muscle Shoals Sound building where songwriters can have a creative space to advance their skills. A songwriter herself, Glanton said it was difficult to find a space for songwriters to gather to write and perform.  She plans to use the winnings to purchase a stage and sound equipment.
 
The Shoals Idea Audition is an annual event sponsored by Innovation Sponsors Bank Independent and the Shoals Economic Development Authority.  For six years this event has taken place under the auspices of Shoals Shift, a creative effort through the Shoals Business Incubator, the University of North Alabama, and the Shoals Chamber of Commerce.  The event is designed to foster new businesses, help entrepreneurs polish their presentations, and introduce community leaders who might be instrumental in helping make their ideas a reality. The top scoring ideas were awarded a $5,000 cash prize, with $2,500 and $1,000 to second and third-place winners, respectively.
 
The second place winner was Innovation MAD, a producer of an aeroponic grow system that allows plants to grow and produce faster with less square footage, less water use, and no need for pesticides or herbicides.  Shoals Non-Profit Navigation Center took home third place as an organization created to support and amplify the impact of Shoals community nonprofits through professional development, networking and resources, and collective impact programming. 
 
Twenty six competitors presented their ideas to a preliminary round of judges. These presentations were gleaned down to six who presented in a final round to judges and an audience of about 200 UNA students and guests.
 
Keynote speaker for the event was Jay Hayes, an advocate for building a remote workforce. He has been programming professionally for over 10 years - half of that time has been completely remote. Over the years, he has developed a deep interest in software design, testing, and teaching. Hayes works at home for Stitch Fix, a personal style service. Remote is a perfect working situation as it allows him to do what he loves while being close to the people he loves, his beautiful wife and baby boys.  In 2018, Hayes presented a Ted Talk at Tedx:Wilson Park entitled Remotely Production.
 
Shoals Shift, who initially developed the Idea Audition format, has other opportunities for budding entrepreneurs to showcase their conception. Lift Off Shoals is a partnership between the University of North Alabama College of Business, the Shoals Chamber of Commerce, and the Shoals Business Incubator. Startups are invited to compete for funds in a regional challenge based on the successful statewide Alabama Launchpad challenge and the winners could receive a share of $25,000. The Launchpad event is scheduled for February 20, 2020 with an application deadline of November 26, 2019. More information can be found at www.liftoffshoals.com