CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Dec. 1, 2010 — Twelve budding entrepreneurs from across the region recently completed the Operation Jump-Start program in Ste. Genevieve, Mo., and were eligible to submit business plans for consideration in a seed grant competition. The Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Southeast Missouri State University and the Ste. Genevieve Area Chamber of Commerce co-sponsored the six-week business training program Operation Jump-Start.
Operation Jump-Start (OJS) is the small business training course that teaches entrepreneurs essential business planning skills and allows graduates to compete for seed capital up to $5,000 each based on the viability of their submitted business plans.
The OJS program drew participation from Ste. Genevieve, Perryville, Farmington, Fredericktown, Bonne Terre and Pilot Knob, according to Gina Harper, training coordinator for the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE).
“This is the third OJS class the CIE has sponsored in Ste. Genevieve,” said Harper. “The participants in this class came from five different counties, and that really tells us that the demand for entrepreneurial training remains widespread in the region.”
“The Operation Jump-Start program is a very valuable resource for people thinking of starting a business,” said Carol Wise, who drove to the classes from Pilot Knob.
Wise plans to open a new business called Carol’s Helping Hands in Ironton.
“The marketing analysis was one of the most important tools I learned in class,” she said because it helped her to understand if there was a need in her area for the in-home companion service she envisions.
During the six-week OJS class, participants learn a step-by-step approach to developing a business feasibility plan, in a supportive environment. Highlights of the course were guest presentations by local attorney Frank Elpers of Elpers, Inman and Gonz, and MRV Bank President Rich Hannekan.
Counseling and business planning support are additional ways that the CIE tries to reach entrepreneurs in the community and provide them with solid advice as they complete their feasibility plans. Throughout the feasibility plan design process, the graduates met with a business counselor from the CIE’s Small Business and Technology Development Center. Seed grant applications will be reviewed early this month, and applicants will be notified of their status.
The Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Southeast Missouri State University sponsors OJS in part with funding from the U.S. Small Business Administration and the U.S. Department of Labor. The Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship has been recognized by the Kauffman Foundation as the top deliverer of this entrepreneurial curriculum in rural America. The Jump-Start model consistently produces businesses that are still in operation at an astounding rate of 92 percent after two years. The entrepreneurial program has been instrumental in assisting about 600 individuals who have started or expanded more than 200 small businesses in Missouri, Tennessee and Illinois.
The 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 Global Entrepreneurship Week or the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the entrepreneurial support services it offers, visit www.semo.edu/cie.