After six weeks of evening classes, 13 aspiring entrepreneurs graduated recently from the Operation JumpStart small business training program held at the Public Health Center in Ironton, Mo.
These individuals learned to develop the components of a viable business feasibility plan, and all have the opportunity to submit their plans early this month in competition for seed grant or start-up capital for their business concept.
The Douglas C. Greene Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) at Southeast Missouri State University conducted the training and partnered with the East Missouri Action Agency (EMAA) of Park Hills to provide the seed capital for the competitive grants for the Operation JumpStart program. The microenterprise development program was additionally funded in part by the Delta Regional Authority, a federal-state partnership whose directive is to improve the quality of life for those living in 252 counties and parishes in the eight-state Mississippi River Delta Region.
“I learned 100 times more than I expected to learn,” said one graduate of the Operation JumpStart program. Another participant stated that “the entire class was extremely important to me. Thank you for bringing the class to my area.” The program drew participation from Iron, St. Francois, Reynolds and Washington counties.
“The JumpStart model consistently produces businesses that are still in operation at an astounding rate of 92 percent after two years,” according to Gina Harper, training coordinator for the program. “Some of these participants drove quite a distance to participate and that really tells us that the demand for entrepreneurial training remains widespread in the region.” Operation JumpStart has been instrumental in assisting about 600 individuals who have started or expanded more than 200 small businesses in Missouri, Tennessee and Illinois. The Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Southeast Missouri State University has been recognized by the Kauffman Foundation as the top deliverer of this entrepreneurial curriculum in rural America.
The Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Southeast Missouri State University is one of the most comprehensive entrepreneurship-focused university centers in the Midwest, offering a wide array of academic and outreach programs and services, including: innovation development and research; entrepreneurship education, training and mentorship; and business incubation and development services. The CIE supports Southeast Missouri State University’s strategic priority to advance the region’s economic appeal and strength by accelerating local and regional economic growth and development that improves the quality of lives, communities and businesses in southeast Missouri and the surrounding region.
For more information about Operation JumpStart or the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the entrepreneurial support services it offers, visit http://www.semo.edu/cie/.