To link student entrepreneurial energy with regional companies, The University of North Alabama (UNA) created an Institute Fellows program in 2016. The Fellowships are an opportunity for employers to engage UNA students for research and expansion initiatives to advance the companies and provide real-world projects for students to practice and showcase entrepreneurial skills. These opportunities are paid, faculty-mentored experiences – driving toward actionable, student-led project-end reports. UNA raised $75,000 over three years from the Daniel Foundation of Alabama and utilized funding from a 2016 Appalachian Regional Commission grant. Thus far, 36 students have served as Fellows, including 17 female and 8 minority students. Their work has helped to retain or create over 30 jobs. These Fellowships are named after UNA’s Institute for Innovation and Economic Development.