Operation JumpStart Partners with Kauffman Foundation to Distribute First Step Courseware

Nationally Recognized Microenterprise Development Program Will Make Courseware Available to Small Business Training and Support Organizations Nationwide

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., May 27, 2011 — The Douglas C. Greene Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) at Southeast Missouri State University, home of the nationally recognized Operation JumpStart microenterprise development program, has entered into a license agreement with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation to distribute and provide support for its First Step training program and materials to agencies throughout the United States.

The Kauffman Foundation is a private nonpartisan foundation that works to harness the power of entrepreneurship and innovation to grow economies and improve human welfare. Through its research and other initiatives, the Foundation aims to open young people’s eyes to the possibility of entrepreneurship, promote entrepreneurship education, raise awareness of entrepreneurship-friendly policies, and find alternative pathways for the commercialization of new knowledge and technologies.”Our research at the Kauffman Foundation shows that new and young companies account for all net new job creation in the United States. This supports Operation JumpStart’s focus on assisting individuals who are unemployed, low income, or otherwise disadvantaged to start microenterprises that provide employment for the founders and substantial economic impact for their local communities,” says Lesa Mitchell, vice president of advancing innovation at the Kauffman Foundation. “Agencies interested in supporting micro-entrepreneurs should consider this program as a proven and cost-effective option for doing so.”

Operation JumpStart is a practical, hands-on, training program designed to help entrepreneurs test the feasibility of their business ideas and plan to successfully launch new ventures. The program was launched in 2006 and has assisted hundreds of aspiring entrepreneurs in defining their personal vision and goals and to determining whether a business concept is a feasible business opportunity. The program is specifically designed to address the needs of the micro-entrepreneur, which may explain why ventures developed through the program are sustaining at over 90 percent after two years of operation.

Along with distributing the newly rebranded “Operation JumpStart: First Step” curriculum and materials, Operation JumpStart will deliver certification training.

“The First Step curriculum has been and continues to be a critical component of our Operation JumpStart program, which has had tremendous success assisting micro-entrepreneurs who face tremendous odds,” said Dr. James Stapleton, executive director of the Douglas C. Greene Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. “Given Kauffman’s commitment to innovation and entrepreneurship, we are thrilled to continue to make this courseware available and to support agencies and organizations that specialize in small business training and microenterprise development at the community level.” 

For information about Operation JumpStart or the Operation JumpStart: First Step curriculum, call (573) 651-5095 or email ojs@semo.edu.

About the Douglas C. Greene Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship:

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 incubation and development services.  The CIE supports Southeast Missouri State University’s strategic priority to accelerating economic growth and development that improves the quality of lives, communities and businesses in southeast Missouri and beyond.

For more information about the CIE and the entrepreneurial support services it offers, contact (573) 651-2929 or visit www.semo.edu/cie.