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MISSISSIPPI PUBLIC UNIVERSITIES CREATE SPACES FOR CREATIVE ENDEAVORS, ENTREPRENEUR SUPPORT

5/7/2020 - Jackson, Miss.

Creative ideas. talent and entrepreneurial spirit can often lead to very successful businesses and careers, but having the right tools, equipment, plans and advice can mean the difference between success and failure. Mississippi Public Universities provide spaces for students and the community to access these important ingredients for success.

Mississippians with musical talent do not have to travel to Nashville, New York or Los Angeles for a professional recording session to launch a career in music. Delta State University’s Delta Music Institute, an affiliate of Grammy Museum ® Mississippi, houses three state-of-the-art commercial recording studios as part of the entertainment industry studies program. The studios frequently attract clients from throughout the region while providing experiential learning for students.

Delta State University’s Delta Center for Culture and Learning works with various partners to stimulate economic development through Mississippi Delta cultural heritage. The Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area, managed by the Delta Center, has awarded more than $1.7 million in cultural heritage development grants to communities across the Mississippi Delta.

The Delta Center and MDNHA also have engaged thousands of tourists through K-12 educator workshops, service-learning experiences for college students, and other convenings. These programs have generated significant visitor expenditure for the region. According to a 2017 study, these grantmaking and tourism activities, along with tourism to Delta Center/MDNHA partner sites and attractions, generated $677.4 million in economic impact, the third largest of any National Heritage Area.

Jackson State University recently opened its Center for Innovation, combining education, research and entrepreneurship in a single location to spur inventions to power the economy and simplify life. The new facility for students, faculty and staff provides access to virtual experiences with Oculus VR technology and 3D printing, along with a soundproof room to create top-quality podcasts and green screen backgrounds for video projects. Each of these cutting-edge technologies are housed in a vast “expertise co-location” center, “makerspace” and Collaboratory, located on the second floor of the H.T. Sampson Library. The “one-stop shop” offers advice on technology transfer for moving innovative products and ideas to the market.

The Mississippi State Idea Shop, a 2,000-square-foot facility opened recently in downtown Starkville, includes the Turner A. Wingo Maker Studio and the MSU Retail Product Accelerator and serves as a new hub for entrepreneurship and innovation.

The Turner A. Wingo Maker Studio provides a comprehensive assortment of design workstations, 3-D printers, electronics workbenches and advanced woodworking tools not commonly available – all to help Mississippians build anything imaginable. Membership is available to the general public, and various workshops are regularly hosted for newcomers to the “maker movement.”

Open to the public, the Idea Shop was made possible through private support, as well as the USDA Rural Business Development Program. It is part of the MSU Center for Entrepreneurship and Outreach and operated by the College of Business and School of Human Sciences in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

The Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at The University of Mississippi inspires students to create innovative businesses through excellent teaching, exceptional service, and world-class research and help them gain the knowledge, skills, and experience necessary to become successful entrepreneurs who create innovative companies that provide valuable services, products, and employment. The Center provides student entrepreneurship education through focused degreed major and minor programs, supports opportunities to develop entrepreneurial ventures through competitions and experiential learning and encourages and stimulates entrepreneurship research.


The Center hosts the Edwin C. Gillespie Business Plan Competition, the marquee event for the academic year. The competition is the culmination of a series of events for participants, including workshops and a venture launch weekend event that helps participants to develop their ideas and presentations.

Entry into the Gillespie is also the gateway for the Colbert-Community Bank Innovation Award, a $5000 prize awarded to the outstanding Gillespie team driven by innovation in a product, process or service through the application or development of a technological change.

The University of Southern Mississippi’s Business and Innovation Assistance Center, better known as USM/BIAC, is located on the grounds of the NASA John C. Stennis Space Center (NASA-SSC) in Hancock County. Organized in 2009, USM/BIAC represents a set of programs, services and expertise that have organically grown from USM’s services that for more than a decade provided support to the State’s universities, NASA’s and other federal agencies’ technology development and transfer programs and related efforts in working with small businesses, industry and other organizations in technology development and commercialization.

USM/BIAC supports launching early stage technology R&D and innovation commercialization efforts by businesses, state/federal governments, universities and individuals that in turn are directed at fostering high-tech business growth and economic development within the state as well as supporting federal and state agencies in meeting their mission goals. It carries this out by identifying, networking and facilitating partnerships and opportunities among federal, state/university and private organizations that leverage their combined resources and capabilities in support of innovative technology development and commercialization.

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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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