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Entrepreneurship Initiative Approved Projects: Mississippi

PROJECT: Cut Flower Production Feasibility Study
GRANTEE: Mississippi Agriculture & Forestry Experiment Station

Purpose: To examine the factors affecting productivity of cut flowers.


ARC: $25,000
Other Federal: $0
State: $25,100
Local: $0
Total: $50,100

Description: This study will examine the factors affecting productivity and evaluate cultural practices such as fertilization and irrigation for their effect on flower production, quality, and shelf life. The grantee will also survey the market acceptability of cut flowers produced in Mississippi. In addition, the grantee will develop production budgets for four crops and analyze the profit potential for cut flower production. Analysis of the marketing prospects for fresh cut flowers grown in Mississippi will be part of the study. Flowers will be delivered to local retail and wholesale florists for evaluation of market acceptability. Tupelo florists Magnolia Wholesale Florist, United Wholesale Florist, Betty's Flowers, Boyd's Flowers, Jody's Flowers, and SunnyCros Flowers participated in the evaluation of flowers in 2001 and will be asked to collaborate again in 2002. Projected outcomes include the involvement of 20 participants and the creation of 20 new jobs and 10 new businesses.


PROJECT: Design Study for the Tupelo Regional Commerce Center
GRANTEE: City of Tupelo - Community Development Foundation

Purpose: To produce an architectural design for the creation of a business incubator.


ARC: $10,000
Other Federal: $0
State: $0
Local: $10,000
Total: $20,000

Description: The grantee will create an architectural design for a small business incubator that will help create and nurture 45 new businesses in the City of Tupelo and Lee County. Working closely with the Small Business Development Center at the University of Mississippi, a new business incubator located in downtown Tupelo will provide prospective entrepreneurs with a site where they can receive both hands-on business training and technical assistance. The design for the incubator will be closely aligned with the needs of its future tenants and will accommodate the spatial needs of both retail and service-based businesses.


PROJECT: Economic Alternatives Microenterprise Program
GRANTEE: Sacred Heart Southern Missions

Purpose: To provide low-interest micro loans and technical assistance to low income residents of Benton and Marshall counties for the start-up or expansion stages of small business ventures in those counties.


ARC: $30,000
Other Federal: $42,775
State: $0
Local: $16,000
Total: $88,775

Description: The Economic Alternatives' Microenterprise program provided low interest loans for new or expanding businesses and will provide access to entrepreneurial education, technical, and managerial training. Economic Alternatives also arranged for additional networking and peer counseling for entrepreneurs through the Marshall County Chamber of Commerce. During the grant period, the Self Employment Loan Fund (SELF) created by the grantee awarded 4 persons loans of $2,500 each. SELF is continuing the mentoring program for small businesses. Two small businesses from Holly Springs, MS have registered for the Mississippi Market Expo in Jackson, MS. Their registration fees were paid by SELF. The Loan Coordinator for SELF continues to make site visits to small businesses to assist them in critical areas. The grantee sponsored a networking event for small businesses at the MIC Incubator. Additional project outcomes include the creation of 4 new businesses and 5 new jobs.


PROJECT: Greater Golden Triangle Incubator Entrepreneurial Regional Initiative
GRANTEE: Mississippi State University Research & Technology Corporation

Purpose: To help the greater Golden Triangle Region support the growth and development of entrepreneurs.


ARC: $200,000
Other Federal: $0
State: $0
Local: $110,000
Total: $310,000

Description: The Mississippi State University Research and Technology Corporation will build a new 25,000 square foot technology incubator. Approximately 5,000 square feet will be dedicated to an electronic clean room and 20,000 square feet for incubator tenants. The University, the US Department of Commerce, Oktibbeha County, and the Tennessee Valley Authority have committed over $3 million to support the construction of this facility. ARC support will help equip the facility and provide for start-up operating costs. The incubator will provide shared tenant services, training and technical assistance. The facility currently has a waiting list of seven companies wanting to locate in the incubator. The incubator is projected to help create 10 new businesses and 35 new jobs.


PROJECT: Itawamba County Development Small Business Plan Entrepreneurship Pilot
GRANTEE: Itawamba County Development Council

Purpose: To support the development of new businesses and expansion of existing firms in the target region.


ARC: $26,750
Other Federal: $0
State: $0
Local: $67,556
Total: $91,306

Description: The Entrepreneurship Pilot Project is a cooperative effort between the Itawamba County Development Council and Itawamba Community College. The project provides business planning support and business simulation training to existing businesses and those who desire to start their own business. The project utilizes GoVenture simulation software, and community college instructors assist with program development, community outreach, and evaluation. A group of area businesspersons act as mentors to participating entrepreneurs throughout the project. This program helped start seven new businesses and create 29 new jobs. The grantee formed a mentoring committee comprised of local business leaders to provide support to entrepreneurs, and utilized business simulation software to assist aspiring entrepreneurs.


PROJECT: Kemper County Incubation Expansion
GRANTEE: Kemper County Economic Development Authority

Purpose: To provide support for the expansion of a business incubator.


ARC: $70,000
Other Federal: $0
State: $0
Local: $25,000
Total: $95,000

Description: The grantee will expand the Stennis Business Incubator to accommodate two additional tenants in the facility. The two prospective tenants include: 1) a cosmetics producer which has sales contracts with major drug store chains, and 2) a manufacturer of tractor trailer fenders and air chamber systems. Both of these firms are start-up businesses. ARC funds will support the 2,500 square foot expansion for storage and loading facilities, and 50 additional parking spaces to accommodate the expanding workforce. The grantee expects the two new tenants will create 54 additional jobs.


PROJECT: Lee County Youth Entrepreneur Program
GRANTEE: City of Tupelo

Purpose: To develop a youth entrepreneur program that will educate and inspire at-risk youth to value free-enterprise, undertake business ventures, and develop workforce skills.


ARC: $52,572
Other Federal: $0
State: $0
Local: $17,317
Total: $69,889

Description: Four organizations—the city of Tupelo, the Boys and Girls Club of Tupelo/Lee County, the Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Lee County and Junior Achievement—are in partnership to provide entrepreneurial education and training to approximately 100 at-risk youth. The program follows the Junior Achievement model for entrepreneurial education. Operating after-school, a variety of field trips and guest speakers are available to youth, giving them an opportunity to meet with and learn from actual entrepreneurs in the Lee County area. In addition the Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Lee County recruit mentors for each of the 20 participants. Members of the business community spend a minimum of four hours per week over a one-year period with each participant. The age of the participants ranges from 10 years up to 18 years old.

Completed outcomes of the project over the grant period include the involvement of 41 youth in a special summer entrepreneurship workshop, 48 youth in a business planning course which involved site visits to businesses, and 20 adult mentors as speakers and one-on-one coaches. Additionally, 21 youth owned businesses were started.


PROJECT: Mississippi State University Entrepreneurial Education Training Center
GRANTEE: Mississippi State University Extension Service

Purpose: To deliver ongoing entrepreneurial training that integrates technology-based business skills and tools for home-based and micro businesses, small farms, and young people in Appalachian Mississippi.


ARC: $99,842
Other Federal: $0
State: $0
Local: $24,961
Total: $124,803

Description: The Mississippi State Extension Service has an Entrepreneurial Education Training Center at its northeast District. The Center serves as a technology-based incubator designed to deliver on-going entrepreneurial training to client groups. Home-based businesses, small farmers and young people learn how to use technology in order to improve management efficiency to be more competitive.

Completed outcomes of the project for the grant period include the participation of 580 persons in a range of entrepreneurial training courses. Course topics included: Bed & Breakfasts, Entrepreneurship 101, Clowning as a Business, Antiques as a Business, Pottery as a Business, and Technology as a Tool.


PROJECT: Mississippi State University Regional Youth Entrepreneurship
GRANTEE: Mississippi State University

Purpose: To support youth entrepreneurial education throughout the region.


ARC: $92,820
Other Federal: $0
State: $0
Local: $95,023
Total: $187,843

Description: The grantee has developed a regional youth entrepreneurship project which introduces middle school students and teachers to entrepreneurship through the formation of a student-led company. The program involves a three-week summer workshop for the students with industry partners, the formation of a multimedia company to produce instructional and informational materials for the industry partners, and the pairing of the students with graduate students from Mississippi State University for support of research activities. 18 students and seven teachers from a four county area participated in a three-week summer workshop on entrepreneurship, science, and mining and environmental technology at the Red Hills Mine. A student 'company' was formed to produce educational multimedia materials and master CDs on the impact of mining on people and the community (IMPACT). These materials were produced for use by the Red Hills Mine, and targeted to regional educators.


PROJECT: Mississippi State University Virtual Entrepreneurial Education and Training
GRANTEE: Mississippi State University

Purpose: To support the development of entrepreneurial education programming and entrepreneurial enterprises in the region.


ARC: $80,845
Other Federal: $0
State: $0
Local: $21,212
Total: $102,057

Description: This project sought to create a virtual business incubator and provide youth apprenticeship training to adults and youth in a seven-county area. A series of adult entrepreneurship workshops were held, attended by 61 business owners. An electronic retailing conference was conducted, attended by 95 persons, two thirds of whom were business owners. Specialized E-Biz training for small businesses was conducted, involving 16 – 20 persons a session for four sessions. 61 youth participated in the E-Corps program, receiving a range of business training. 10 youth have established small businesses, including: soap and candle production; greeting cards; fishing lures; livestock; and cleaning. And several youth have been offered jobs.


PROJECT: Regional Conference on Entrepreneurship Education and Training
GRANTEE: Southern Rural Development Center

Purpose: To expose many local policymakers and practitioners to currently available models and approaches for entrepreneurship education and training.


ARC: $12,719
Other Federal: $0
State: $0
Local: $11,935
Total: $24,654

Description: This grant supported one of three sub-regional conferences on entrepreneurial education and training. Over 130 local education service providers, policy makers, and funding entities from 8 states attended this event, held in Birmingham, Alabama. The conference location and grantee were selected through a competitive grant-making process. The aim of this sub-regional conference was to encourage national best practice tailored to the particular needs of local communities. The three main groups that the conference targeted included: educational service providers (teachers, principals, superintendents, board members, community colleges, four-year institutions); funding entities (departments of education, department of commerce, Governor's offices); and state and local policymakers (county commissioners, mayors, state legislators, college presidents, and chambers of commerce). The conference was held on November 18-19, 1999.


PROJECT: Tupelo Middle School SELECT
GRANTEE: Tupelo Middle School

Purpose: To support youth entrepreneurial education.


ARC: $205,500
Other Federal: $0
State: $0
Local: $257,560
Total: $463,060

Description: The grantee promotes entrepreneurship across different generations of Mississippi citizens through the application of new information technology. All 8th grade students at the Middle School participate in Junior Achievement's Enterprise in Action training, and a select group continue with a GoVenture management simulation program. Upon completion of the training, the students design a technology business which provides training for senior citizens and service providers. Mississippi State University's computer science students serve as mentors for the middle school students.

549 eighth grade students and 100 seventh grade students participated in Junior Achievement - Enterprise in Action Program, which occurred over an 8-week period and involved business volunteers. 573 seventh grade students participated in career discovery, which included a Career Day, guest lecturers, hands on activities, and written assignment. 44 seventh and eighth grade students participated in the Excel Technology Class. These students performed advanced computer technical duties, such as: conducting internet searches for teachers and staff, producing power point presentations for teachers and staff, and producing brochures and flyers for educational events. Teachers also received one-on-one training from these students on hardware and software use. These students also produced and marketed a video yearbook that was sold to the student body. A for profit calendar making businesses was also started by this student group. Another group of 50 seventh and eighth grade students utilized the Go Venture business simulation software to 'start' and 'run' their own business. Due to the successes of this program, the local school board adopted the program into the curriculum.


PROJECT: Winston County Business & Industry Incubator
GRANTEE: Winston County Board of Supervisors

Purpose: To fund minor repairs to and start up operations of an industrial building in order to facilitate its use as a small business incubator.


ARC: $50,000
Other Federal: $0
State: $0
Local: $12,000
Total: $62,000

Description: The Winston County Board of Supervisors will operate and renovate an existing structure to be used as a small-business incubator. The facility, designed to help new entrepreneurs, is expected to help create three new businesses and ten to fifteen new jobs within its first year of operation. The site is located in an industrial park on 7.6 acres of land where expansion is possible. ARC grant funds will be used for minor repairs, painting, landscaping, furniture and operating costs during the start-up phase. It is expected that the incubator will be self-sufficient by its third year of operation.


PROJECT: Youth Entrepreneurial Program
GRANTEE: Boys & Girls Club of North Mississippi, Inc.

Purpose: To implement a Youth Entrepreneurial Program that serves at-risk youth.


ARC: $78,620
Other Federal: $0
State: $0
Local: $21,736
Total: $100,356

Description: The project sought to help at-risk youths to become entrepreneurs, enhance and apply their knowledge of basic academic subjects, and develop strong workforce skills. The curriculum for the program was provided by Junior Achievement. During the grant period, there were 200 participants in the program. The main focus for the group was on implementing the Junior Achievement curriculum. This allowed for the selection of a core group of young people who were motivated to become more involved. This core group of youth, called Keystone Productions, decided to focus entrepreneurial activities on providing services/entertainment and productions for members of their club. Completed outcomes include the creation of 4 new student-run businesses and the creation of part-time employment for 70 students.