Small Businesses to Benefit from Grants Awarded to CIE

by News Bureau on Thursday, Dec. 01, 2011

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Dec. 1, 2011 – Representatives from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Delta Regional Authority today outlined new grants recently awarded to the Douglas C. Greene Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) at Southeast Missouri State University.

The Delta Regional Authority recently confirmed funding for a CIE project titled JumpStarting Missouri Communities Post Flood. This project will use $145,556 to provide targeted workforce development via entrepreneurial training to communities hit hardest by destructive flooding earlier this year. The CIE will offer its signature small business training model, Operation JumpStart, to 80 individuals 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. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development recently funded a similar program to allow the CIE to assist businesses impacted by recent flooding. Leveraging these two programs will have a significant impact on hard-hit areas.

In addition, the CIE recently was 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 USDA, the Delta Regional Authority and the SBA. The renewed funding for the PRIME 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.

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. The CIE will also provide coaching, mentoring and assistance with access to microloans through its new partner, ACCION Delta.

“We were very excited to get the news about 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,” said 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.

One of the PRIME grant renewals 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 also help small businesses with hurdles they face by offering business counseling and access to capital.

In addition to the PRIME grant renewals, the U.S. SBA recently announced an award of $75,000 to the CIE under the SBA Portable Assistance program. About 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 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.