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.
RSS Feed Subscribe in Apple Podcasts
Ignite Alabama - Sparking Innovation & Entrepreneurship in Alabama




All Episodes
Now displaying: Category: resources
Sep 29, 2015

George Kobler, an attorney in Huntsville, Alabama who practices in the area of intellectual property, is the guest on episode 16 of the Ignite Alabama podcast.

IP law encompasses patents, which is the focus of today’s conversation, as well as copyright law, trademarks, and proprietary information that falls within the realm of trade secrets.

In this conversation George explains the difference between copyrights, trademarks, patents and other forms of intellectual property. Our focus is on patent law.

To determine whether something might be eligible for patent protection, the first question is whether it pertains to eligible subject matter. George explains, basically, what this means. If yes, then the next question is whether the invention is both novel and non-obvious.

We walk through several hypothetical examples.

We also talk about situations involving co-inventors, modifications to someone else's design, inventions and discoveries made in the course of employment or using employer's resources outside of the scope of employment.

We finish up the question with hypotheticals relating to the team and project based environment where independent contractors come together to work on one business idea, while remaining free to pursue outside ventures.

Since the focus is on law and George and I are both members of the Alabama State Bar I wanted to give you the standard disclaimer that lawyers are required to use in advertising and other marketing materials, just to make sure that George and I are both in compliance with rules of the Alabama State Bar.

No representation is made that the quality of legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers.

LinkedIn is the best place to contact George. I've included a link to his LinkedIn profile in the show notes at He's also on Twitter: @RocketCityIP

Sep 15, 2015

Episode 15 of the Ignite Alabama podcast is a quick recap of two panel discussions from Rocket Hatch's Investor Day about how to pitch to and work with VCs and angel investors.

Full show notes available at


Sep 8, 2015

Welcome to episode 14 of the Ignite Alabama podcast. I’m your host and producer Sheree Martin and this show is about sparking innovation and entrepreneurship throughout Alabama.


This week’s guest is Antonio Montoya, an entrepreneur and one of the forces behind RocketHatch, a creative community and startup space in Huntsville, Alabama.


The RocketHatch statement of values are a perfect reflection of what every true 21st century enterprise should cherish:

  • Collaboration over competition
  • Trust over agendas
  • Encouragement over criticism


Those values reflect what I’m trying to offer through this podcast and my larger Shinecast mission. This show is about Conversations with entrepreneurs and innovators without an agenda other than sparking innovation and entrepreneurship--in whatever form or shape it emerges.


I’m a native of the Shoals area of northwest Alabama and Huntsville was always our “big city” neighbor. Huntsville is where we went for big city shopping during the holidays. Huntsville is where we went for symphony music and touring Broadway musicals. Huntsville is where my brother always did the Cotton Row Run 10K when we were growing up. 4 of my honeybee colonies came from Huntsville!


We all know Huntsville for its role in the NASA space program and for the many companies, large and small, that play a role in the national defense of our great country.


But Huntsville is also an arts community and it’s much more than a city for defense department contractors. A few years ago when I first began to actively get involved in the local foods movement in Alabama I discovered that Huntsville had the most active grassroots oriented local foods community in Alabama. Although it was led by the not-for-profit Food Bank of North Alabama, the wonderful thing about the Food Policy Council of North Alabama is that it is open to everyone and anyone who cares about building a sustainable local foods system in Alabama.


Before meeting with Antonio last week when he was in Birmingham for the Alabama Launchpad Innovation awards event, I spent some time reviewing the first annual report of the RocketHatch and I found it so refreshing.


I’ll just let the conversation with Antonio unfold and tell you the rest of the story.


I look forward to visiting with lots of RocketHatch community members on September 10, 2015 at the Investor Day event at the Space and Rocket Center.

Thank you so much for listening to Ignite Alabama podcast. Be sure to visit and sign up for the free email newsletter so that you don’t miss any news or episodes.

Sep 2, 2015

In this bonus episode of the Ignite Alabama podcast, Deon Gordon & Nichol Welty of REV Birmingham deliver the when, what and how to submit your business idea to the 2015 Big Pitch Competition.

PNC has put up $25,000 in prize money for this year's event.

The deadline for applications is currently set for September 4, 2015.

A panel of judges will select 10 finalists who will receive intensive mentoring and business guidance and then deliver their pitches, Shark Tank style, in November.

Since REV Birmingham's mission is to revitalize areas of Birmingham's urban core, the ideal business is one that will add to the neighborhood vibe and generate street traffic. So, if you're a maker or creative with a business that generates foot traffic this is a competition you should look into.

Find out more at

Aug 18, 2015

Greg Sheek, director of Launchpad Programs, gives us an in-depth look at the Alabama Launchpad, a program of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama.

Greg describes the Launchpad startup competition, time frame for submission (currently running 3x per year), and the types of feedback that entrepreneurs who go through the competition receive throughout the process.

Greg also provides an overview of the annual Innovation Conference and SBIR grant assistance provided through the Launchpad programs.

This year's Innovation Conference is set for September 2, 2015 in Birmingham.

Subscribe to the Ignite Alabama podcast on iTunes and listen via your favorite podcast app.

Find out more at

Jul 7, 2015

In this episode of Ignite Alabama I talk with Jennifer Skjellum, executive director of Tech Birmingham and the Central Alabama chapter of Angel Investor Management Group.

Jennifer moved to Alabama from Starville, Mississippi when her husband became chair of the Computer Science department at UAB. 

She's a successful tech entrepreneur with several successful business ventures under her belt and she's now involved in helping other entrepreneurs and start-up visionaries grow and launch their businesses through her work with the AIM Group, Tech Birmingham and a new 501c3, Tech Alabama.

In this episode, we cover everything from the recent Kaufmann Foundation report which ranked Alabama 49th in startups to a new coding program for teen girls.

For more information and full show notes, visit