CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., May 16, 2012 -- The Douglas C. Greene Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) at Southeast Missouri State University has been recognized by the Southern Growth Policies Board with a 2012 Innovator Award.
The CIE’s Operation JumpStart program expansion into the 252 counties in the eight states served by the Delta Regional Authority region was chosen as the top program in Missouri.
The Operation JumpStart entrepreneurship development program, developed at the CIE, has trained more than 700 aspiring entrepreneurs who led to the launch of nearly 300 businesses. The CIE is using this expertise to provide education, mentoring and training certification to a new network of nearly 150 economic and community development organizations throughout the delta region. This network of Operation JumpStart affiliates completed certification training during the second half of 2011, and is projected to train and support more than 450 aspiring entrepreneurs and launch over 150 new businesses in the region by the end of 2012. Participants that complete the program have access to the largest microlender in the United States, ACCION Texas, Inc. ACCION formed a collaboration with the CIE and the Delta Regional Authority to work with other local and regional banks to provide small loans to start-up businesses.
“Access to training and resources is crucial to developing successful small businesses and creating good-paying jobs for the people of the Delta region,” said Chris Masingill, the Federal Co-Chairman of the Delta Regional Authority. “This program is one in a series of initiatives we are supporting to accelerate entrepreneurship and continue building our economy of the future. We are excited to partner with Southeast Missouri State University on this project and appreciate the recognition by the Southern Growth Policies Board.”
“Awards of this nature are very gratifying as they validate the regional approach we have taken in this project,” said Dr. James Stapleton, executive director of the CIE. “The recognition also underscores the importance of partnerships. The expansion of this effective program would not be possible without the support and direction of the Delta Regional Authority.”
Innovator Awards are presented annually to one organization in each of Southern Growth’s 13 member states in recognition of initiatives and organizations that are improving economic opportunities and quality of life in the region. The 2012 Innovator Awards recognize initiatives that are successfully preparing Southerners to meet the workforce needs of a globally competitive business sector.
Southern Growth Policies Board is a non-partisan public policy think tank based in Research Triangle Park, N.C. Formed by the region's governors in 1971, Southern Growth Policies Board develops and advances visionary economic development policies by providing a forum for partnership and dialog among a diverse cross-section of the region's governors, legislators, business and academic leaders and the economic- and community-development sectors. This unique public-private partnership is devoted to strengthening the South's economy and creating the highest possible quality of life.
Stapleton will be presented the award at Southern Growth's 2012 Chairman's Conference, held June 25-26 in Chattanooga, Tenn. Hosted by Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, the conference will examine job and workforce trends, with a view towards reimagining tomorrow’s educated worker. View information about the conference at: http://www.southerngrowth.com/conference/conf.html.
The Douglas C. Greene 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 consulting, incubation and development services. The center supports Southeast Missouri State University’s strategic priority to accelerate entrepreneurial growth and development that improves the quality of lives, communities and businesses in southeast Missouri and the southeast region.
For more information about the Douglas C. Greene Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the entrepreneurial support services it offers, call (573) 651-2929 or visit www.semo.edu/cie.