Operation JumpStart Receives New Funding to Expand and Continue Services

by News Bureau on Monday, Oct. 31, 2011

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Oct. 31, 2011 — The Douglas C. Greene Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) at Southeast Missouri State University was recently awarded grant renewals on two Program for Investment in Microentrepreneurs Act (PRIME) grants from the U.S. Small Business Administration as well as new funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Delta Regional Authority and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).  

The new and renewed grants will allow the CIE to continue business training and technical assistance to help disadvantaged entrepreneurs start, operate or grow small businesses in southeast Missouri.  

The SBA PRIME grants competition was open to all 50 states and territories, and recipient organizations were required to provide a 50 percent match. Approximately $1.67 million was awarded for new projects and $6.3 million was awarded to grantees that received funding in previous years to allow them to continue work in their communities begun in fiscal 2009 and fiscal 2010. One of the Center’s PRIME grant applications was renewed at $99,771 to continue the Delta Region Microenterprise Development Alliance program activities, and the second was funded for $65,368 to continue Operation JumpStart training and follow-up services to help small businesses grow.  

“We were very excited to get this funding. It will allow us to continue to develop and deliver technical assistance and training programs, including the nationally recognized Operation JumpStart program which targets small businesses between one and five employees,” stated Dr. James Stapleton, executive director of the Douglas C. Greene Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and associate professor of management at Southeast.   

The CIE was the only organization in the nation to receive two PRIME grant renewal awards. 

In developing the Delta Region Microenterprise Development Alliance program, the CIE worked with members of the Delta Leadership Network to offer entrepreneurship capacity building symposia in all eight Delta region states. The symposia certified more than 160 individuals or organizations to deliver Operation JumpStart training in rural locations throughout the lower Mississippi Delta region. During this second year, SBA PRIME funding will allow the CIE to offer subcontracts to one program in each Delta state that is ready and determined to begin a microenterprise development program, but is lacking funding. The CIE also will provide coaching, mentoring and assistance with access to microloans through its new partner, ACCION Delta.  

The second PRIME grant renewal will focus on a 24-county region of southeast Missouri to provide four Operation JumpStart entrepreneurial training courses and other technical assistance services. The goal is to assist in the development of at least 16 new business start-ups that can generate 25 new jobs in rural regions of the state. The project also will help small businesses with hurdles they face by offering business counseling and access to capital.   

“In the midst of the economic downturn the country has been experiencing, SBA’s PRIME grants are an increasingly important tool in our toolbox to help small businesses,” said SBA Administrator Karen G. Mills. “With these grants to nonprofit organizations, more entrepreneurs will have access to the training and technical assistance they need to have their businesses grow, succeed, create jobs and promote stronger local economies.”  

In addition to the two PRIME grant renewals, the U.S. Small Business Administration recently awarded the CIE $75,000 under its Portable Assistance program. Approximately 15 grantees were selected from applicants throughout the nation and Missouri’s submission, “Operation Rebound,” was selected for funding. The initiative is a collaboration between the University of Missouri Extension and Southeast Missouri State’s Small Business Technology Development Center to assist small businesses impacted by adversity, particularly recent employer downsizing in Stoddard, Bollinger, Cape Girardeau, Scott, New Madrid, Dunklin, Butler and Wayne counties. Operation Rebound will do this via both new and established methods including zone analysis, Web-based outreach counseling, FisCal financial analysis, coaching on e-commerce opportunities and customized business training.   

The Delta Regional Authority confirmed funding for another project of the CIE called JumpStarting Missouri Communities Post Flood. This project will use $145,556 to provide targeted workforce development via entrepreneurial training to communities hit hardest by the destructive flooding early this year. The CIE will offer its signature small business training model, Operation JumpStart, to 80 individuals who are interested in starting or expanding businesses in the region. A goal of the program is to assist at least 25 new small businesses and to create new jobs as these businesses grow.   

Another business development program targeting economic recovery was funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for fiscal year 2011-2012. In this program, the CIE will use $71,000 in funding from USDA Rural Development’s Rural Business Enterprise Grant program to assist communities hit by recent disasters by offering outreach business counseling, Operation JumpStart training, expansion of online information resources and business development webinars.  

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 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 the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the entrepreneurial support services it offers, visit www.semo.edu/cie.