UAB Students Win First Place in Statewide Entrepreneurship Hackathon

UAB team takes home $10,000 prize in Innovate Alabama competition

A team of students from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) has emerged victorious in the Innovate Alabama: Entrepreneurship Hackathon. This annual competition provides college students across the state with the opportunity to showcase their entrepreneurial skills and pitch innovative solutions to real-world problems. UAB’s team, consisting of Jaival Vikal, Shiva Gupta, and William Rainer, impressed the judges with their solution to the challenges faced by rural entrepreneurs in Alabama. Their winning pitch, Producer’s Pantry, aims to bridge the gap between rural farmers and urban markets, ultimately benefiting both parties.

Addressing the Unique Obstacles of Rural Entrepreneurs

The focus of this year’s Innovate Alabama Hackathon was to address the specific obstacles faced by rural entrepreneurs in the state. UAB’s team dedicated extensive time and effort to researching and strategizing solutions for this underserved community. Their objective was not only to assist the designated community but also to potentially benefit other rural areas throughout Alabama. By identifying and developing novel solutions, the team aimed to make a meaningful impact on the lives of rural entrepreneurs.

Introducing Producer’s Pantry

Producer’s Pantry, the brainchild of UAB’s winning team, is a supply chain and logistics management company that aims to tackle the transportation and logistical challenges faced by rural farmers. The startup seeks to create a link between rural farmers and the rising demand for their products in more populous areas, such as Birmingham. Focusing initially on the distribution and sale of peanuts, of which Alabama is a leading producer, Producer’s Pantry aims to help farmers sell their products more effectively and obtain fair prices.

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Leveraging Cutting-Edge Technologies

To achieve their goals, the team plans to employ cutting-edge supply chain management technologies. They aim to establish an online network for rural farmers, implement a distribution system through farmers’ markets, and utilize a fleet of trucks to facilitate the process. By leveraging these technologies, Producer’s Pantry aims to streamline the supply chain and ensure that farmers can efficiently bring their products to market.

The Role of UAB and Mentorship

The UAB Collat School of Business played a crucial role in preparing the team for success in the Innovate Alabama Hackathon. The team credits their mentor, Dr. Murphy, for providing accessible lectures and invaluable guidance throughout the competition. UAB’s entrepreneurship program, known for its rigorous and relevant curriculum, equipped the students with the necessary knowledge and skills to excel in this opportunity. The team’s victory not only showcases their hard work but also highlights the strength of UAB’s entrepreneurship program.

Pursuing Grant Funding for Startup

With their eyes set on turning their idea into a reality, the team is actively pursuing grant funding to cover the initial startup fees for Producer’s Pantry. They have already applied for a grant that could provide the necessary resources to establish a strong foundation for their business, including land, infrastructure, vehicles, and software. This financial support will be instrumental in kickstarting their venture and bringing their innovative solution to life.


The success of UAB’s team in the Innovate Alabama: Entrepreneurship Hackathon demonstrates the university’s commitment to fostering entrepreneurial talent. Jaival Vikal, Shiva Gupta, and William Rainer showcased their innovative thinking, dedication, and entrepreneurial spirit in addressing the unique challenges faced by rural entrepreneurs in Alabama. With their winning pitch, Producer’s Pantry, they have not only secured a $10,000 prize but also the opportunity to make a meaningful impact on the lives of rural farmers. As they continue to pursue grant funding and establish their business, the team’s success serves as an inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs across the state. Through programs like Innovate Alabama, Alabama’s innovation ecosystem continues to thrive, providing support and resources for the next generation of innovators.

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