Meet the startups from the Alabama Launchpad social impact competition: Reboot Reforestation and OMNIS
On December 8, the Alabama Economic Development Partnership and the Alabama Energy Foundation will host the final of the last Alabama Launch Pad contest for startups. This round of the Launchpad is focused on the intention of companies to have a positive impact on the community. Ten finalists are competing for a combined funding of $75,000.
Reboot Reforestation wants to plant a seed, or more accurately, thousands of acres of seeds, across Alabama and the Southeast.
The Tuscaloosa-based startup seeks to help restore longleaf pine forests in the southeastern United States.
The longleaf pine, Alabama’s state tree, once spanned about 90 million acres from Virginia to Texas, but less than 5% of its original area remains, according to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
The restoration of longleaf pine forests has become a top conservation priority in recent years. More than 30 endangered and threatened species, including the red-faced woodpecker and the gopher tortoise, depend on pine trees for their habitat.
Enter Reboot Reforestation, which said it can “solve the degradation of longleaf pine forests in the southeastern United States and…do it in the most environmentally friendly way possible.”
Reboot Reforestation uses drones to plant trees, deliver herbicides and fertilizers. “By using drones, Reboot estimates it is able to reduce reforestation costs by up to 30%, eliminate soil compaction and erosion, and use up to 50% less herbicides. pesticides and fertilizers than helicopter spraying,” said CEO and co-founder Dalton Morris. said.
This reduces environmental impacts, as do the trees themselves, which Morris says sequester 2.5 tonnes of carbon each year for every acre of new forest.
Drones plant innovative seed balls that protect seeds “from predators, lock in moisture, and provide nutrients that increase germination and survival.” Drones are highly efficient, allowing large-scale planting at a lower cost than planting by machine or by hand, according to the company.
Learn more about rebootreforestation.com.
OMNIS seeks to bridge the gap between banks that don’t lend money to individuals and payday lenders and loan sharks that will but at astronomical interest rates.
“Underserved and unbanked people have never had an alternative to get the funds they need outside of operating services with an average interest of 400% per loan,” said Zakariya Veasy, CEO and Founder of OMNIS.
OMNIS is a financial services app that helps people access capital and build credit, Veasy said. He describes OMNIS as “a participatory social platform that allows individuals to earn money through their community with short-term peer-to-peer micro-loans and where others can borrow money to meet to their immediate needs.
Lenders receive loan requests on their feeds, and if they choose to honor the loan in part or in full, they select the interest rate for repayment. Borrowers post a loan request to their community and can accept or decline the terms of loans offered to them.
Veasy plans to increase OMNIS’ financial literacy and help people with limited or no credit histories “build strong reputations with major bureaus.”
OMNIS has partnered with several banks, including First Independence Bank, Greenwood, Regions, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America, so people turned down by banks have a chance to get what they need from OMNIS. The company will also partner with non-profit organizations and hospitals.
“The real impact of our solution, OMNIS, is a reality where immigrants, students, and other marginalized groups of people are empowered to realize their American Dream,” Veasy said.
Learn more about omnisapp.org.
The finals of the Alabama Launchpad Social Impact Competition will take place at 5 p.m. on Dec. 8 at Alabama Power Headquarters, 600 N. 18th St. in downtown Birmingham. The event is open to the public but the number of participants is limited. To reserve a place, please register here.