Forty-Nine Graduate from Operation Jump-Start

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Nov. 3, 2008 — The Innovation Center at Southeast Missouri State University is proud to announce the graduation of 49 entrepreneurs from its Operation Jump-Start entrepreneurial training course. 

Four classes located throughout the region were completed in October and the graduates are currently in the process of submitting feasibility plans for their small businesses in competition for seed capital.  The most viable business plans, as voted on by a review committee, could be awarded up to $5,000 to be used in the start-up or expansion of their small businesses. 

Operation Jump-Start is a nationally-recognized, highly successful training model delivered to individuals considering starting or expanding a small business.  The program teaches participants essential business planning and preparation skills with non-academic, practical training.  The model allows individuals to compete for small start-up grants after completing training and a feasibility plan.  The Jump-Start model consistently produces businesses that are still in operation at an astounding rate of 95 percent after more than two years. The Southeast Innovation Center has been instrumental in training more than 570 individuals who have started or expanded 208 small businesses, and created 271 jobs in the Southeast Missouri region.

Funding for the program has been made possible because of a grant offered from the Delta Regional Authority (DRA) which works to improve life for the residents of 240 very poor counties and parishes in parts of eight states in the lower Mississippi Delta, and from the Workforce Investment Board of Southeast Missouri (WIB).  The WIB’s mission is to promote a state of economic well being by helping to create a skilled, diverse, motivated and adaptable workforce in Southeast Missouri.    

Classes were held in Poplar Bluff, West Plains, Farmington and Malden, Mo. Seed capital decisions will be made by the end of November, and winners will be notified.

Due to demand, Ste. Genevieve is currently hosting the course for a second time with graduation scheduled in early December.  Additional Operation Jump-Start classes are in the planning stages for spring 2009.  Class locations are tentatively set for Piedmont, Cape Girardeau and Bonne Terre, Mo.  If your community would like to host Operation Jump-Start, or if you are an entrepreneur interested in attending, please contact Gina Harper at gharper@semo.edu or (573) 651-2940.  Pre-qualification is required, and seating is limited.