The Southeast Innovation Center Receives $164,800 to Expand Entrepreneurship Training

Map of the DRA territory

Operation Jump-Start continues to attract regional attention and received word that it is receiving $164,800 from the Delta Regional Authority (DRA) to expand its entrepreneurial training program into new territory

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo.,

Oct. 23, 2007 – Operation Jump-Start continues to attract regional attention and received word that it is receiving $164,800 from the Delta Regional Authority (DRA) to expand its entrepreneurial training program into new territory. 

Bill Vickery, director of entrepreneurship and training at the Southeast Innovation Center, was invited by DRA last January to speak to its Delta Leadership Institute about Operation Jump-Start and how it is creating new businesses and new jobs in southeast Missouri.  The presentation helped convince DRA to use Jump-Start as an economic development tool in other parts of its region.

The DRA consists of 240 counties and parishes along and near the lower Mississippi River delta.  Although the region is one of the most historic, culturally rich parts of the nation, it is also one of the most impoverished and economically challenged.  In 2000, Congress established the Delta Regional Authority to enhance economic development and improve the quality of life for the hard-working residents of this region.

“This funding allows us to be able to expand our program and to reach and deliver assistance to individuals who aspire to see their dream of business ownership become a reality,” Vickery said.  He adds, “This proven program changes lives and has made positive economic impacts throughout the region.”

The Southeast Innovation Center will use the funds to expand its training east into southern Illinois and deep into the Missouri Bootheel and other DRA counties where plant closures have caused severe job loss in the past few years.  Communities are searching for ways to replace the economic sting of manufacturing decline, and Operation Jump-Start offers a proven model. 

Dennis Roedemeier directs the Missouri Research Corporation, which oversees the entrepreneurship program.  He says, “The economic importance of entrepreneurship and small business creation is not new. What is new is that the economic development leadership of the nation has come to realize it is the most important driver for the future of our rural areas and the success of the country.”

After only 18 months, Operation Jump-Start has been instrumental in the start-up of 61 businesses that created 79 jobs.  The success rate of these businesses is much higher than those businesses started without Jump-Start training.