Posted: February 17, 2015, 9:21 a.m.
by Haley Petrey.
Big things are happening in Montgomery, Alabama, as steps are taken to transform it into the new tech hub of the South.
Boyd Stephens, owner of Netelysis, Meg Lewis, the director of tourism at the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce Convention and Visitor Bureau, and Adam Warnke, owner of Lightning Line and Tek Line Accelerator, are the masterminds behind this tech revolution.
The initiative’s Facebook account sums up the RevolutionMGM movement perfectly as “a community of technology and creative professionals, who want to connect and create new opportunities in Montgomery, Alabama.”
The goal of the RevolutionMGM movement is to bring together the tech community to share ideas, while tapping into the talent of locals.
“Montgomery is in a unique position in that it is home to more tech/creative talent than most cities in the region,”Warnke said. “This movement is helping create the atmosphere to bring light to the enormous amount of talent.”
RevolutionMGM has held multiple events and meetings in Montgomery over the last six months. These events and meetings give like-minded people the opportunity to share ideas and talents while networking and building relationships. The events also feature speakers who inspire and share what they have done in their own communities to kick start their startup scenes.
Currently, Montgomery has all the building blocks needed to construct the tech scene — talent, facilities, ideas and capital. RevolutionMGM seeks to tap into the existing talent of the already large number of millennials in town. The name of the game is to inspire these young adults to collaborate and start up companies of their own, and to ultimately attract other young adults from other cities.
“The goal is for young professionals to realize that they can find the same opportunities in Montgomery as they would in other cities,” Lewis said.
Downtown Montgomery is also in the process of being polished and transformed. This renovation includes new residential space and restaurants, and even the repurposing of the historic lower Dexter Avenue buildings into the new Market District.
“The city has a lot of momentum right now, and we are just a small cog in that wheel trying to help keep the momentum going,” Warnke said.
Two projects have already begun in response to the RevolutionMGM movement.
The Gumption Fund, which is a nonprofit, micro grant organization, will be starting its first project of painting a mural downtown. For the second project, mentors and coaches will teach the LEAN Startup Methodology. This program is for anyone interested in starting a tech company.
According to the Montgomery Advertiser, the mural will be painted by Montgomery native, Sunny Paulk. The mural will commemorate the Selma to Montgomery march and will be completed in time for the 50th anniversary celebration.
With the 50th anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery march coming up, RevolutionMGM will host a 48-hour “hackathon,” Feb. 20-22. During the hackathon, these creative minds will develop an app for people to use while walking the historic trail from St. Jude to the capitol.
So, where is this movement headed? Already, other large tech cities are catching a glimpse of what’s taking place in Montgomery. Investors in Austin, Texas, for example, are even looking to bring a co-working brand to Montgomery.
RevolutionMGM is also reaching out to college students in hopes of connecting them with potential employers in Montgomery. It is recruiting talent by hosting events, pitch competitions, hackathons and conferences, and bringing together employers and students with the skills to fill the job.
Montgomery is quickly becoming the best place for young, talented professionals by offering the opportunity to grow and play. So brace yourselves. The Creatives are coming.
For more information or to join in on the revolution, check out #revolutionMGM on Facebook or revolutionmgm.com.