OJS Propels New Business Start-Ups in the Bootheel


by News Bureau on Thursday, Mar. 01, 2012

Seven people, representing five counties, graduated from the six-week Operation JumpStart class for aspiring new business owners conducted in Caruthersville, Mo., by the Douglas C. Greene Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Southeast Missouri St

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., March 1, 2012 – Several new small businesses will open or expand in southeast Missouri in the next few months because of the help of an award-winning, nationally-recognized program that recently completed in Caruthersville, Mo.   Seven potential new entrepreneurs graduated from the Operation JumpStart (OJS) small business training program held recently in Caruthersville.

The participants learned to develop the components of viable business feasibility plans, and all had the opportunity to submit their plans in December in a competition for seed grant or start-up capital for their business concepts. In addition, entrepreneurs who graduated from the OJS program are eligible to apply for start-up capital through ACCION Delta, a new microlender to the Missouri area, part of the larger organization ACCION Texas. 

The Douglas C. Greene Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) at Southeast Missouri State University sponsored Operation JumpStart. This microenterprise development program was additionally funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration. SBA offers a variety of programs and support services to help you navigate the issues you face with your initial applications, and resources to help after you open for business. They help small businesses start, grow and compete in global markets by providing quality training counseling and access to resources.  

The class was facilitated by Dr. Jamie Frakes, dean of the Jimmy Naifeh Center at Tipton County, Dyersburg State Community College. John Ferguson II of Pemiscot County Economic Development, Inc., was instrumental in obtaining funding from three local sources to support the program. 

“We are pleased that entrepreneurship training like this is available to our residents here in Pemiscot County,” said Ferguson. “The Operation JumpStart program is a leading small business development program and has demonstrated effectiveness in numerous southeast Missouri communities. It is just one of the many resources available through the CIE to small businesses to help them be successful.”

Ferguson partnered with the mayor’s office, several local banks and businesses to develop support for the Operation JumpStart program in Pemiscot County. Other programmatic support was provided by the Caruthersville Chamber of Commerce, the Pemiscot County Port Authority and local schools, including the Pemiscot County Career & Technology Center. The City of Caruthersville, Bank Star of the Bootheel, and First State Bank and Trust provided startup capital for feasibility plans chosen by a Review Committee. These plans were chosen for their potential for success.  Loretta Covington and Margie McAdams were both selected to receive funding.

“I am very grateful, happy and appreciative of the opportunity to improve my small business,” said Covington. 

She also expressed her thanks to the OJS Review Committee, the local investors in the community of Caruthersville and added special thanks to Frakes. Covington is the owner of Loretta’s Nails, located in Caruthersville. McAdams’ business, Pressing Made Easy, is located in Hayti, Mo. The Center has plans to offer 10 additional OJS classes throughout southeast Missouri in 2012.  Locations for classes this spring are Cape Girardeau, Piedmont, Park Hills, Perryville and Sikeston.

Operation JumpStart has been instrumental in assisting more than 650 individuals who have started or expanded more than 250 small businesses in Missouri, Tennessee and Illinois.  For more information about the OJS program and other business services available from the CIE, contact the CIE at (573) 651-2929 or visit www.semo.edu/cie.

The CIE 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.