DRA, Nixon Announce Entrepreneurship Training Grant for Southeast

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Feb. 18, 2011 — Today, at a press conference hosted by Southeast Missouri State University, the Delta Regional Authority and Governor Jay Nixon, a grant to expand Operation Jump-Start, an entrepreneurship training program at Southeast’s Douglas C. Greene Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, was announced. The funding announcement is part of DRA Federal Co-Chairman Chris Masingill’s new focus on small business and entrepreneurship.

The DRA funding will expand Operation Jump-Start to four new sites in Southeast Missouri. The sites will train 60 entrepreneurship students in four six week sessions, cutting commute times and bringing Operation Jump-Start directly into communities. Operation Jump-Start is a small business training course that teaches entrepreneurs essential business planning skills and allows each graduate to compete for up to $5,000 in seed capital based on the viability of their submitted business plans. Since Operation Jump-Start was started by the CIE in 2006, the program has educated approximately 550 individuals who have created more than 200 small businesses and about 350 jobs.

“The Delta Regional Authority was created to support economic development efforts in the Delta region,” said DRA Federal Co-Chairman Chris Masingill. “What better way to support these efforts than to grow our own companies and jobs here in the Delta. Operation Jump-Start has a great track record of training entrepreneurs to start a business and stay in business, increasing the value of their communities. I thank Governor Nixon, DRA’s new States’ Co-Chairman, for joining me in supporting the funding for this project and President Dobbins and Dr. Stapleton for providing the leadership at Southeast to develop and run Operation Jump-Start.”

 “This additional DRA funding is a major investment in continuing the great work of Operation Jump-Start,” said Governor Jay Nixon. “In these times, it’s vital that we grow our economy by creating a climate where the entrepreneurial spirit can thrive. America was built on the dreams of self-starters with the moxie to invest in themselves.

“Small businesses are mighty engines of job growth, and Operation Jump-Start’s graduates are already creating good jobs for Missourians. I look forward to working with the DRA and  Southeast’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship to retain and create even more jobs through this timely expansion of Operation Jump-Start.”

Ken Dobbins, president of Southeast Missouri State University, said, “Our partnership with the DRA and Governor Nixon’s Office is just one of many of our collaborative efforts to help improve the lives of the citizens of our service region.  We believe Operation Jump Start has been and will continue to be an extremely successful initiative for creating new small businesses in our state.”

About the Delta Regional Authority

The Delta Regional Authority (DRA) is a federal-state partnership that serves 252 counties and parishes in parts of Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee. Chris Masingill, appointed by President Obama to be the DRA’s federal co-chairman, along with the governors of the eight states, comprise the Authority’s board. For more information, please visit: http://www.dra.gov/.

About Southeast Missouri State University and the Douglas C. Greene Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

The Douglas C. Greene Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) 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, visit: www.semo.edu/cie.