Compete to Win $500 and a Fame Recording Studio Session as the First North Alabama All Star

October 16, 2014

facebook profile pictureNorth Alabama – Mudslide Productions is proud to present the first “North Alabama All Star” music video competition, sponsored by the University of North Alabama and Fame Recording Studios.   To enter the contest, aspiring song writers, singers, and music lovers can simply upload a Country, Christian, Gospel, or Blues music video to the website  Once a video is uploaded, contestants can share the video with their friends via an internet link.  The five videos with the most likes will qualify for the finals and will be judged by the Mudslide Production judges to determine the contest winners.

A grand prize of $500 dollars and a recording session at Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals will be awarded to the first place winner.  Two runners up will be selected and each will be awarded $250.

The mudslide team will review the videos and post approved videos to the website and to the Mudslide YouTube channel, providing a link for contestants to share with their friends, family and beyond.  The earlier contestants enter, the longer they have to generate likes for their video, so contestants are encouraged to post their videos as soon as possible to enhance their chances of winning.

Every potential North Alabama All Star is encouraged to upload a video no longer than three minutes in length, singing any song of his or her choice, even original creations. The video must then be uploaded to the web site between October 15th and December 1st.  Voting or “likes” will be recorded from October 15th to December 15th.  The winners will be announced on December 16th.

For more information and contest rules, contestants should visit the web site and click on the Rules and Regulations tab at the bottom of the page.

From Cotton Field to Clothing Rack….

October 10, 2014

You’ve probably heard of “farm to table,” but how about “field to garment”? In Alabama, acclaimed fashion houses Alabama Chanin and Billy Reid have a new line of organic cotton clothing made from their own cotton field.

It’s not just an experiment in keeping production local; it’s an attempt to revive the long tradition of apparel-making in the Deep South. North Alabama was once a hub for textile manufacturing, with readily available cotton and access to cheap labor. But the industry all but disappeared after NAFTA became law, as operations moved overseas.

Now, Sue Hanback is again working a sewing machine in a cavernous building that was once part of the biggest cut-and-sew operation in Florence, Ala.

“I’m gonna five-thread this shirt,” she explains, stitching cuffs onto an organic-cotton sweatshirt.

Hanback was last laid off in 2006 when this was a T-shirt factory. Her husband worked in the dye house. She’s been a seamstress all her life.

“Ever since I was 18 years old,” Hanback says. “So that was like, 48 years.”

Keeping Cotton Local

Hanback is one of about 30 people who work at The Factory, home to Alabama Chanin, the fashion and lifestyle company founded by Natalie Chanin. The site includes a cafe, workshop and the company’s flagship store.

Chanin is best known for her flowing, made-to-order organic garments, entirely hand-stitched and inspired by the rural South of the 1930s and ’40s.

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Win $5,000 to Help Start Your Business

October 9, 2014

Got a Business Idea?  Audition It!!

Would $5,000 help you start your business?  Aspiring entrepreneurs can present their business ideas to a panel of area professionals on November 18. The best idea will be awarded a $5,000 cash prize.  The Shoals Chamber of Commerce’s Idea Audition has been designed to help foster new businesses, help entrepreneurs polish their presentations, and introduce them to community leaders who might be instrumental in helping make their ideas a reality.

For more information and to register visit Shoals Idea Audition.

11 ways to stand out in a job application

September 29, 2014

Great Tips for Those Seeking Employment…………………..

11 ways to stand out in a job application

We recently advertised for a content marketing intern. We had over 100 applications in 1 week, some great ones some not so great. The main surprise for me was how few people made a strong effort to make their application stand out.

In this post I’ll run through 11 ideas to do that based on how I, as someone employing someone, looks at job applications. Of course everyone is different and others may not look for these things. These tips will be useful if you ever want to work for me or anyone like me.

For more tips visit



Attention Aspiring Entrepreneurs!

September 25, 2014

SHOALS — Aspiring entrepreneurs can present their business ideas to a panel of area professionals on November 18. The best idea will be awarded a $5,000 cash prize. The Shoals Chamber of Commerce’s Idea Audition has been designed to help foster new businesses, help entrepreneurs polish their presentations, and introduce them to community leaders who might be instrumental in helping make their ideas a reality.

“This is part ‘Shark Tank’ and part ‘American Idol,’” said Mary Marshall VanSant, Vice President for Investor Relations and Public Policy for the Shoals Chamber. “We’ll even help business people rehearse and polish their presentations to help them refine their ideas and make them into viable businesses. Five thousand dollars is a great reward for the best idea, but we’re hoping that the exposure to business leaders in the community will also foster some mentor relationships.”

The idea for the Audition came from a group of Chamber members who want to encourage entrepreneurs to create businesses in the Shoals area. VanSant added, “Our area has tremendous resources to support the business start-up, from the Shoals Entrepreneurial Center to the Shoals Chamber, and from the Alabama Technology Network to the Small Business Center at UNA. When we began brainstorming the idea of a business pitch contest, the UNA Business School stepped forward and offered facilities and expertise. That’s how this event came to be.”

Participants must register by November 11, 2014, but there is no cost to participate. Registration and contest rules can be found on the event website at

For more information check out the rest of the story at

In Loving Memory of Tom Sauls

September 23, 2014

The Shoals area lost a great man last week.  Tom Sauls spent countless hours volunteering his time for various organizations in the Shoals area.  Tom enjoyed giving back to the community and that’s exactly what he did after his retirement from Reynolds Metals Company.  He began volunteering with the Shoals Entrepreneurial Center in 1992 and continued until recently.  He volunteered with United Way, the VA Community Services Program, and SCORE.  Tom was also a member of the Exchange club where he earned a place in their “Book of Golden Deeds”.   Mr. Sauls’ death is a truly a loss for our community and he will be greatly missed!


Free Soil Testing for Small Farmers and Home Gardeners

September 4, 2014


An Event for Small Farmers and Home Gardeners:

Bring a soil sample and get a quick and free pH reading as well as personalized advice about USDA-NRCS programs from local NRCS staff:

Thursday, September 11, 2014

3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Jack O Lantern Farm, 430 Garage Road, Muscle Shoals, Alabama

For additional information or to request special accommodations, contact Charlie Meek @ 256.383.1446 or Mike Roden @ 256.773.8495 or Matt Copeland @ 256.383.4323



Innovation Engineering

August 21, 2014

IE ClassToday marks history for the beginning of an excellent new program at the University of North Alabama. Innovation Engineering, the most recent addition to the College of Business minor degrees, broke ground in Keller Hall this morning with the first cornerstone class that the degree offers, Create. College of Business Dean Gregory Carnes and Janyce Fadden from UNA’s College of Business teamed alongside Giles McDaniel, the Executive Director of the Shoals Entrepreneurial Center and Mitch Hamm, the Center Director of the Alabama Technology Network to license and implement Innovation Engineering as an option to undergraduates seeking to become future entrepreneurs. The University of North Alabama is the first college university in the state of Alabama to offer this program to students studying any major or minor.

Innovation Engineering is designed to help students develop creativity and generate inventive ideas in any field of study. By the completion of the program, each student is guaranteed to graduate with valuable entrepreneurial experience, numerous company and community networks, and even a patented business idea. The implementation of Innovation Engineering as a minor degree aids in excelling UNA’s STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) departments to a competitive level with larger state universities.

Kate and I are ecstatic to be students of Innovation Engineering. Dr. Santanu Borah is instructing this first core course and has spent countless hours preparing and researching to engage us in innovative entrepreneurship. We are enthusiastic to see where this course leads future students and the positive effects this program has at UNA.

How to Start an App Development Company

August 21, 2014

Starting an app development company may seem like an impossible task if you are not a designer or developer. Designers, developers and project managers are all very skilled and highly paid professionals. How can someone with no development or design skills compete? Putting together an experienced team can be expensive, time consuming and above all scary. On top of that, building your team is really only half of the battle. Getting clients to commit large amounts of money on an idea or new venture can be tricky. Below is the first part of an ongoing series of guides on how to start a mobile app business from scratch.

Fact: Either be the developer or the designer or the sales person.

Mobile app development projects are too big and too far apart to try and go it alone. Running this type of operation really necessitates a team. If you want to start a mobile app business you really only need to be one of the three. Having a team of dedicated and skill specific individuals allows you to offer a better product and take on multiple clients at once. As projects start to come in you can grow your team and make a steady stream of income as opposed to large chunks going it alone.

Myth: Finding developers is the hardest part of starting an app business

Most of our clients that we work with in our white label mobile app reseller program come to us in search of just development services. Most assume that this is the trickiest part of the whole process because they are unfamiliar with development. We have found that design skills are actually much harder to come by. Designers really do command a great deal of money in the mobile field and deservedly so. Developers skills may be more difficult in terms of education but the talent pool is much larger.

Tip: How to build your mobile app development team

You can build your team by looking for local talent but to get things started sites like or Elance can provide amazing talent at lower costs. The best option for most people who try to start a mobile app business from scratch is to partner with an agency. An agency can provide the design, development, and project management skills right away. This would then allow you to focus on getting clients. With our platform you can hire a phonegap developer and allow them to take on multiple projects at once all by their lonesome. Our platform speeds up the process of development and will help reduce your overhead.

Tip: How to price your mobile app projects

Pricing the initial projects can be extremely tricky. If you go it alone and try and build a team you will have to rely on the developer and the designer to give time estimates on how long it will take. This can take some time to figure out. You have to relay the information and hope that they respond quickly. Most of the time you will then have to create a proposal. Our company and some other agencies provide dedicated project managers to assist in the process. They are on call and can provide a quote right away. This helps speed the process up and makes sure your budget is accurate. There’s nothing worse than quoting to low and taking a loss after all the hard work you put in getting a client.

In the next part of our “How to Start a Mobile App Development Company From Scratch” series we will discuss ways to go about finding new clients, proposals, and contracts.

Interested in starting your own mobile app development agency? Give us a call today at (203) 521 – 3896 or contact us at

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Three Essentials of Crowd funding

August 20, 2014


Over the last few years, a myriad of online platforms for lending money, funding projects and sourcing information have popped up across the Internet. With so many surface similarities, it’s easy to see why you might get a little confused.

Is Kiva a crow funding platform? What does LendingClub do? What is crowdsourcing and is that the same thing as crowd funding? They may seem alike, but there are big differences between these new platforms that you should know.

Related: What Does a Multibillion-Dollar Corporation Want With Crowd funding?

Here are the three essential things every entrepreneur should know about crowd funding.

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