Ignite Alabama - Sparking Innovation & Entrepreneurship in Alabama

Ignite Alabama spotlights Alabama start-ups and entrepreneurs who are building a 21st century economy in Alabama. The show also covers the latest research and technology that paves the way for innovation in business. The mission of Ignite Alabama is to spark innovation, creativity, and new ideas that empower and equip Alabama residents to start businesses and grow Alabama's economy. Ignite Alabama is a Shinecast® show by Sheree Martin.
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Ignite Alabama - Sparking Innovation & Entrepreneurship in Alabama




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Now displaying: 2016
Jun 28, 2016

Matthew & Jesie Lawrence, owners of Marble Creek Farmstead, are my guests on episode 19 of the Ignite Alabama podcast.

Marble Creek Farmstead is a sustainable farming operation in Talladega County producing pastured poultry and pork, along with a variety of produce and other specialty meats.

One of the biggest challenges for Alabama poultry producers has been the lack of a USDA-certified poultry processing facility in the state (and limited availability or other meat processing facilities for smaller producers of beef, pork or other meats).

Matthew Lawrence, who has an MBA and finance background, and his wife Jesie, who has a business degree in marketing, saw a need AND a business opportunity to bring USDA-certified poultry processing to Alabama and started working earlier this year to solve that problem.

In April, they opened Pell City Processing at The Trading Post. Matthew and Jesie own a majority interest in the venture.

Matthew & Jesie take a wholistic approach to farming and problem-solving or prevention on the farm. They uses a systems approach, to achieve synergies that result from a complex natural ecosystem working as it is designed to work. Rather than seeking to simplify, Marble Creek Farmstead is about embracing complexity and letting nature do a lot of the work, which builds resiliency into the business model.

I’m a big believer in the power of sustainable agriculture to be a force in the economic transformation of rural communities and small towns all across Alabama. I hope you’ll join me in spreading the word about how important it is to support entrepreneurs who are working in the farming, value-added food sectors, and related fields.

This episode includes about 75-80% of my interview with Matthew and Jesie. I edited out a few segments that are very farming focused. If you want to hear the entire episode, I’m releasing the full conversation as episode 24 of the Shine Springs Farm Shinecast, also available on iTunes and I’ll include a link to where you can download or stream the full Shine Springs Farm Shinecast version episode in the show notes for this Ignite Alabama version over at

Jun 16, 2016

In this week’s show you’re going to get a taste of some of the innovative ideas in development by a few of Alabama’s brightest startups.

The Birmingham Venture Club was kind enough to let me attend the first round of the inaugural Spark Match Pitch competition held May 26, 2016 at the Harbert Center in downtown Birmingham.

Eight startups were selected from over 25 applicants to participate in the first round of the Spark Match using a video-based application process.

Four of the original eight were selected to advance to the semi-final round set for July 28. Semi-finalists were selected through an audience voting system using the app.

At the Spark Match, the startups were placed in one of two divisions--the Vulcan Division and the Rickwood Division. If you’re familiar with Birmingham, you probably understand the division names. Vulcan, of course, is the original iron man, the cast iron statue that’s the symbol of the Magic City. Rickwood is the legendary baseball field--America’s oldest surviving professional ball field.

Paul Pless, treasurer of the Birmingham Venture Club and a principal at New Capital Partners, had the planning lead on the Spark Match for the BVC and served as moderator and, what I’ll describe as the, explainer-in-chief for the competition.

The 8 startups pitching in the inaugural Spark Match were:

  • SimplyProse
  • Fetch
  • ShadowSafe
  • Alternavisit
  • SelectMySpace
  • 2b Electronic
  • Slate XP
  • Nourish

For Round 1, startups were asked to focus their 3-minute pitch on defining the problem and explaining the solution their company offered.

Votes  were cast to select a finalist for each division, using, as I mentioned, the app.

Alternavist came away as the top vote getter in the Vulcan Division, with Nourish taking the top spot in the Rickwood Division.

Once we had identified the two division winners, a third vote was cast to select two more competitors from the remaining six startups to advance to the semi finals. More on the voting process below, along with information on the dates for Round 2 pitch events.

ShadowSafe and 2b-Electronics took the third and fourth slots to advance.

If you’re a long time listener to Ignite Alabama you might recall that Jake and Cole of Simply Prose were my guests on episode 6 of the show last year. You can still get the episode through iTunes or download it directly at

The top vote getter in the Vulcan Division was Alternatvisit and the top vote getter in the Rickwood Division was Nousish. The remaining two positions in the at-large vote were ShadowSafe and 2b Electronic.

Once the total votes were tallied the final rankings for the semi-final round of the Spark Match look like this:

1st Seed: Nourish

2nd Seed: Alternavist

3rd Seed: ShadowSafe

4th Seed: 2b Electronic

The semi-finals will play out in two competition rounds.

The top seeded Nourish will meet 4th seed 2b Electronic in the July 28  semi-final round of Spark Match.

2nd seed Alternavisit will face off against 3rd seed ShadowSafe in the Sept. 22 semifinal round.

The Spark Match pitch competition events are open to the public, with the purchase of a ticket. Members of the Birmingham Venture Club attend free.

To learn more visit

I want to extend my thanks to the BVC board, BVC Treasurer and Spark Match coordinator Paul Pless, and Jack Eyer of Relax Its Handled for allowing me to attend round 1, record the pitches for the Ignite Alabama podcast and enjoy a complimentary lunch.

If you like the podcast, please share the Ignite Alabama with your friends and visit to subscribe.


I’m Sheree Martin, this is the Ignite Alabama podcast. What’s YOUR business idea?







May 1, 2016

Jason Maddox, president of Vulcan Security Systems, in Birmingham, Alabama talks about IP video surveillance security technology and the commercial video security solutions his company provides.

Clients include small manufacturers and industrial operations, warehouses, shopping centers, retail establishments, churches, daycare facilities, private schools and similar enterprises.

This Episode Consists of Promoted Content.

Full show notes are available at

For more on Vulcan Security Systems visit: