CIE to Highlight Operation Jump Start at Heartland Conference


Photo of the Southeast Innovation Center.

The Southeast Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship will present Operation Jump Start at the 2010 Heartland Conference April 7-9 in Chicago.

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Feb. 19, 2010 – Southeast Missouri State University’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) was recently selected by the U.S. Department of Labor to present a 90-minute program at the 2010 Heartland Conference April 7-9 in Chicago.  

The Heartland Conference is a comprehensive technical assistance and training event for workforce development professionals to support economic growth in the Midwest through the exchange of innovative ideas and practices.

At the conference, Dr. James Stapleton, CIE executive director, and Gina Harper, training coordinator, will deliver the presentation titled “Operation Jump Start: An Entrepreneurship Training Model That Works.”

The selection process for the presentation was highly competitive and included submissions from across the Midwest.  John Scott, a spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Labor, said four times the proposals were submitted than actual workshop slots available. 

“It’s an honor just to be chosen from such a large pool of qualified proposals,” Harper said. “More importantly, we have the opportunity to share the development and success of our Operation Jump-Start program, which may empower other struggling communities represented at the conference to replicate its phenomenal successᾰaccelerating the creation of successful new ventures.”

Operation Jump-Start is a nationally recognized six–week entrepreneurship training program that teaches participants essential business planning and preparation skills with hands-on, practical training.  The program has been completed by nearly 700 individuals who have created more than 250 new businesses and hundreds of additional jobs. The businesses created have experienced an astounding 95 percent success rate after just two years. More than 66 percent are still in business after four years, a figure that far exceeds the national average of 50 percent, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration.

“Operation Jump-Start has proven to be an extremely successful model for assisting founders in critical business planning that leads to the successful start-up and continued operation of new ventures,” Stapleton said. “We are pleased to have this opportunity to share our model and program with others, and we are aggressively researching opportunities to improve and expand Operation Jump-Start.  This is also a fitting tribute to Gina and the rest of the CIE staff that work tirelessly on behalf of our clients and region.”

The CIE supports Southeast’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.

Located at the Southeast Innovation Center, the CIE is one of the most comprehensive entrepreneurship-focused university centers in the Midwest, offering a vast array of academic and outreach programs and services including innovation development and research; entrepreneurship education, training and mentorship; business incubation; business training and development; network building and community development.