HOTCoffee Announces Innovation Leadership Awards


HOTCoffee, Huntsville's longest-running startup networking community, will announce and celebrate the city's top-ranked Innovation Leaders at its morning meeting at 7:45 a.m. in the UAH Chan Auditorium on Friday, Dec. 12. The public is invited to attend.

The Innovation Leadership Awards recognize initiatives started or expanded in 2014 as the most beneficial to creating a startup ecosystem in Huntsville that is vibrant, inclusive, and promotes a high quality of life for all. The HOTCoffee community, including over 400 entrepreneurs and supporters throughout Huntsville, nominated 24 worthy initiatives in the private sector, public sector, and social sector. The community then ranked the top three candidates in each of these three sectors.

HOTCoffee, originally Huntsville Open Tech Coffee, was launched in September 2013 by the UAH College of Business Administration as part of the mission of the school's Innovation, Commercialization, and Entrepreneurship (ICE) Lab to build the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Huntsville. Beginning with 18 participants, the bi-weekly morning meeting, open to all, now includes 40 to 60 participants meeting every other Friday morning. The meeting format consists of a welcome to new participants, news and announcements, and a seven-minute startup story by a local entrepreneur, followed by networking among those in attendance.

HOTCoffee is organized around six principles: 1) open, inclusive, and informal meetings; 2) a focus on high-technology, high-growth opportunities, but open to all entrepreneurship; 3) entrepreneurs must take leadership to create the entrepreneurial ecosystem; 4) participants must engage for the long term; 5) participants must give before they get; and 5) all are concerned with creating both business startups and a high quality of life in Huntsville. The Innovation Leadership Awards are in recognition of Principle 3.

HOTCoffee participants have spawned a number of significant contributions to the startup ecosystem in Huntsville, including MindGear Labs' Rocket City Launch from May 2 to 4, and Rocket Hatch, which has produced the ongoing evening Sip+Hatch networking event at the Nook and the "Will This Fly?" pitch competition that took place at Lincoln Mill on Nov. 20. Other initiatives launched by the UAH ICE Lab include the Competitive Coaching Clinics held at HudsonAlpha and the Accelerator Workshops conducted through the Small Business Development Center and held at the Chamber of Commerce.


Dr. John Whitman