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: Category: entrepreneurship
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

Sep 1, 2015


To Your Health Sprouted Flour Company in Fitzpatrick Alabama is the recipient of the Alabama Launchpad 2015 award for Outstanding Achievement in Innovative Manufacturing.

These awards will be presented at Alabama Launchpad’s annual Innovation Conference in early September in Birmingham.

Today’s guest is Peggy Sutton, who co-founded To Your Health Sprouted Flour Company with her husband and they’ve grown the business from a kitchen startup to a major economic force in Bullock County, with more than 30 employees.

Founder Peggy Sutton shares her entrepreneurial journey with To Your Health Sprouted Flour Company, how the company has grown, and how its product line fits into the rapidly growing global market for real food.

I’m a big proponent of eating real food and believe that real food--like organic sprouted grains--is a linchpin in solving two major problems in Alabama: Chronic disease and also rural economic development.

Thanks to the willing support of her co-founder husband, Peggy's company is now sprouting 10,000 pounds of grains and legumes each day and serves a global market.

Find out more at

This interview will also be published on the Shine Springs Farm Shinecast and the Discover Grow Shinecast. 

Aug 25, 2015

E. J. Reedy of the Kauffman Foundation is the guest to talk about the 2015 Kauffman Index of Startup Activity. We cover the Index methodology and look at some of the characteristics of Alabama's dismal 49th place ranking.

Find out more at


Aug 8, 2015

"Fear of Failure" is a theme that has come up frequently in early episodes of Ignite Alabama and in my general conversations about what holds people back from becoming an entrepreneur or taking action to go for a goal or dream.

Dr. Gabriella Cacciotti's research centers on the "fear of failure" concept as it relates to entrepreneurship. We spoke recently via Skype about her doctoral research on the concept of fear of failure and the excellent literature review paper she published in 2014 with Professor James Hayton through the Enterprise Research Centre in England.

This is the first "theory" focused episode of Ignite Alabama and Dr. Cacciotti provides an excellent summation of her research which reveals inconsistencies in the conceptualization of "fear of failure" and varied approaches to classifying and measuring this somewhat ephemeral concept.

We go a little deep but if you are interested why it can be challenging to "get your head around" fear of failure I think you will enjoy this episode.

Find out more at where you can get more comprehensive show notes.