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11/4/2022 - Jackson, Miss.

Turning the spark of an idea into a business that is firing on all cylinders may be a daunting task for many Mississippi entrepreneurs, but the good news is that there is help. Mississippi Public Universities provide training and expertise to students who plan to launch their own businesses after graduation and to community members trying to navigate the challenges of starting a business and turning a profit.

Mississippi State University's Center for Entrepreneurship and Outreach (CEO) helps young entrepreneurs raise more than $1 million annually to launch over 100 new startups and grow existing ventures. Students have access to experts, funding, mentorships and more to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams of transforming inventions into profit-seeking innovations. Relationship building, business training workshops and one-on-one sessions are all efforts generated from the university's 12,000 square feet of CEO facilities that aid students in developing business models built for growth. MSU's current startup and spinoff companies annually generate $20.8 million in income for the state of Mississippi, according to a recent university-commissioned study. Just last year, Mississippi State was listed as one of only 200 universities internationally named inaugural Best Maker Schools in Higher Education by Make: magazine and Newsweek news organization.

The Bricks-To-Clicks® Marketing Program within MSU's Division of Agriculture, Forestry, and Veterinary Medicine has helped hundreds of businesses attract more customers and increase revenue with a clear marketing message. Through free on-demand courses and live marketing webinars, the program offered through the MSU Extension Service is helping Mississippi businesses thrive. Dr. James Barnes, Associate Professor and Extension Economist in MSU's Department of Agricultural Economics, offers one-on-one coaching to create and implement marketing plans to grow revenue. Learn how Bricks-To-Clicks® empowers businesses in our state to succeed.

The Bachelor of Science (BS) in Culinary Arts program from the Culinary Arts Institute at Mississippi University for Women is one of the few programs of its kind in the Southeast United States that prepare students for careers in the food industry. The four-year program combines the top-ranked liberal arts education The W is renowned for with the latest culinary techniques taught by acclaimed chef instructors. Students may choose from four emphasis areas: culinary management, food art, food journalism and nutrition and wellness.

The University of Mississippi's Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship has supported more than 60 student-led ventures and awarded more than $188,000 in seed funding since 2018 and inspires students to create innovative businesses through excellent teaching, exceptional service and world-class research. CIE provides entrepreneurship education through focused major and minor degree programs; a graduate certificate; competitions and experiential learning opportunities; and world-recognized entrepreneurship research. Specific activities include a pitch competition, a fall business model competition, a spring business plan competition, an entrepreneurship club, Discovery Grants to test venture feasibility, and the Rebel Venture Capital Fund for initial seed grant funding. CIE also hosts the REDe Entrepreneurship Summit, an annual speaker event with the goal of encouraging, celebrating and enhancing entrepreneurial endeavors for students from varied academic backgrounds, such as the arts, engineering, pharmacy or business.

The annual Mississippi Entrepreneurship Forum brings together leading entrepreneurs, economic developers, innovators, and future business owners to learn more about the entrepreneurial climate and the future of entrepreneurship in Mississippi. It is hosted by the University of Mississippi's Grisham-McLean Institute for Public Service and Community Engagement and Innovate Mississippi. In its seventh year, the forum provides opportunities for aspiring business owners and thriving entrepreneurs to share practical and useful information about building a business.

The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) Trent Lott National Center for Excellence in Economic Development and Entrepreneurship serves as the catalyst for a university-wide focus on economic development training and research serving public entities, nonprofit organizations, businesses, and individuals. USM staff provide client-requested assistance and offer expertise in strategic planning and leadership development; education and training; community analysis and research; and other technical support. The center works with public entities, nonprofit organizations, businesses, and individuals to plan and implement activities designed to generate jobs and income using data-driven economic development.

The University of Southern Mississippi's Gulf Blue initiative pools the knowledge of research scientists, federal agencies, industry partners, and entrepreneurs to further develop the Mississippi Gulf Coast into a global leader in blue technology. The history, geography, and maritime resources position the Gulf Coast to lead the development of world-changing innovation that will emerge from Mississippi.

USM's Center for Economic and Entrepreneurship Education (CEEE) serves as an educational resource for K-12 educators and students in south Mississippi. Established in 2005, CEEE bridges today's educational gaps in economic, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy through relevant, hands-on learning experiences and competitions. Through a high-impact combination of teacher trainings and its Southern Entrepreneurship Program (SEP) youth initiative, CEEE benefits approximately 15,000 K-12 students annually across Mississippi.

The Hatchery, located in Scianna Hall on the Hattiesburg campus of The University of Southern Mississippi, serves as a hub to help align and connect the wealth of entrepreneurship-related resources, knowledge, and vision. Part lounge and part laboratory, the Hatchery's Inspiration Lab contains a laser engraver, 3D printers, and other creative tools, and was designed by a conglomeration of students, faculty, and staff to help transform latent ideas into testable solutions.

Hosted by Delta State University's College of Business and Aviation, the International Business Symposium provides a unique opportunity for Delta State students and Mississippi residents to gain insights from and interact with some of the most successful business leaders in the country. Previous presenters include Charles Pleas, senior vice president and controller of AutoZone, and Stephen Cesler, retired vice president of global customer business development for Procter & Gamble. David Abney, chief executive officer and chairman of the board of United Parcel Service, and his wife, Sherry, established the symposium in 2006. A Delta State alumnus, Abney frequently returns to campus to speak at the event.

Delta State University's Center for Business and Entrepreneurial Research (CBER) was established in the College of Business and Aviation in 2005 as an educational, networking, and consulting resource for entrepreneurs, governmental agencies, and owners of privately held businesses. The aim of the CBER is to stimulate the enterprising spirit and deepen knowledge about entrepreneurial processes in the Delta, both in newly created enterprises and new activities launched by existing businesses. The CBER promotes entrepreneurship by means of development, research, information dissemination and technology awareness-raising activities for entrepreneurs and enterprise leaders.

Delta State University's Women Minority Business Development Center (WMBDC) is the largest single expansion of business development for women entrepreneurs across the state of Mississippi, with a concentration in the Mississippi Delta region. Under the auspices of the College of Business and Aviation at Delta State and with support from a $1.5 million grant from the Kellogg Foundation, the WMBDC will play a pivotal role in positioning women-owned business owners for success as they continue to grow and recover.

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The Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning governs the public universities in Mississippi, including Alcorn State University; Delta State University; Jackson State University; Mississippi State University including the Mississippi State University Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine; Mississippi University for Women; Mississippi Valley State University; the University of Mississippi including the University of Mississippi Medical Center; and the University of Southern Mississippi.

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