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'Alabama Upstarts' highlights entrepreneurs in the state
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'Alabama Upstarts' highlights entrepreneurs in the state

Alabama Upstarts

There are lots of entrepreneurial efforts in Alabama – an app-based gas delivery service, vegan food service, and a cloth wrap fitted with a thumper to mimic a human hand on a baby’s back.

All of those ideas have been featured on the Alabama-based television show “Alabama Upstarts.” The show, created to highlight the state’s entrepreneurs, will be filming four episodes in Dothan on Saturday. The episodes will feature 12 entrepreneurs pitching their ideas to investors and also competing for a $1,000 prize sponsored by Dothan businessman Mike Schmitz, who has served as a judge on the show.

“The mission of this whole thing is for us to take the talents of Alabamians that maybe already have a company and they’re wanting to expand it or they’ve got an idea or a dream or they’re just beginning to start a company – to help those Alabamians get in business, get their companies up and going and create jobs,” said Terry Duffie of Scenic Cable Network and Productions in Dothan.

Duffie serves as an executive producer on the show. Episodes have been filmed in Birmingham, Huntsville and other areas of the state, but Saturday will be the first time filming in Dothan.

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On each episode, three contestants come before a panel of business-owner judges and pitch their ideas. On some occasions, a judge may choose to invest but Duffie said even outside business investors have invested in companies featured on the show.

Along with Schmitz, other Dothan business owners who have served as judges include DSI founder Alan Clark and real estate broker Gina Grant. Other judges include business owners and entrepreneurs from around Alabama.

“Alabama Upstarts” airs locally on WDHN on Saturdays at 10:30 p.m. Each episode runs about 30 minutes. Episodes also air on Alabama Public Television stations on Sundays at 1 p.m.

The Dothan episodes will be filmed at Health Center South. Episodes typically air about four or five weeks after filming, according to Duffie.

While contestants are not needed for the upcoming Dothan episodes, Duffie said anyone interested in being on the show can visit to apply to be a contestant.

“There’s so much talent in this state,” Duffie said. “It’s just really unbelievable, and we’re trying to harness some of that and keep it in the state and help people get up and get their businesses going.”

Peggy Ussery is a Dothan Eagle staff writer and can be reached at or 334-712-7963. Support her work and that of other Eagle journalists by purchasing a digital subscription today at

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