The Alabama Innovation Corp. issued its first wave of grants to support small businesses statewide and three of the 30 companies that received money are located in Tuscaloosa.

The goal of the $4.5 million grant program is to help grow and advance the state's innovation economy.

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Three companies with Tuscaloosa ties received funding through the program -- 525 Solutions, BioGradMatch and the EH Group Inc.

According to a press release from the Alabama Newscenter, 525 Solutions is trying to find new uses for the waste created by shrimp shells in underrepresented and underutilized communities in an effort to move away from overreliance on plastics.

BioGradMatch will use its grant to fund a partnership between Stillman College and Admit Academy that will assist students at historically Black colleges and universities overcome obstacles associated with applying for biomedical graduate programs.

The EH Group Inc. will spend their portion of the grant money to developing technology and programs to detect and identify objects captured in military satellite images, such as vehicles, camouflaged structures and more.

The Alabama Innovation Corp. is a new public-private partnership that aims to support the state's entrepreneurial ecosystem and invests state funds to that end.

“Thanks to the Innovate Alabama Supplemental Grant Program, the work of the Alabama Innovation Corporation and the Alabama Legislature, 30 small businesses across our state will have the opportunity to commercialize their technology to help solve global issues,” Gov. Kay Ivey said in a press release. “We are proud to support these entrepreneurs and business leaders who will leave a lasting impact on Alabama’s economy and pave the way for future generations of Alabamians.”

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