CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., April 29, 2008 — The Southeast Innovation Center, a project of the Missouri Research Corporation on the campus of Southeast Missouri State University, is partnering to offer entrepreneurship training in collaboration with Southeastern Illinois College’s Workforce & Illinois Small Business Development Center of Harrisburg, Ill.
The partnership is made possible through a grant offered by the Delta Regional Authority (DRA) to expand Operation Jump-Start business start-up training to more DRA counties.
Operation Jump-Start is a nationally-recognized, highly successful training model delivered to individuals considering starting or expanding a small business. The program teaches participants essential business planning and preparation skills with non-academic, practical training. The model allows individuals to compete for small start-up grants after completing training and a feasibility plan. The Jump-Start model consistently produces businesses that are still in operation at an astounding rate of 95 percent after two years. The Southeast Innovation Center has been instrumental in training more than 500 individuals who have started nearly 160 small businesses.
The Delta Regional Authority works to improve life for the residents of 240 low income counties and parishes in parts of eight states in the lower Mississippi Delta. Led by a federal co-chairman appointed by the president and the governors of the eight states, the DRA fosters partnerships throughout the region as it attempts to improve the Delta economy. Southern Illinois has 16 counties that are part of the DRA in extreme southern Illinois. Missouri has 29 counties in the southeast portion of the state. Southeastern Illinois College is located near Harrisburg and Eldorado, Ill., and has an enrollment of about 5,000 full- and part-time students. The college is a public two-year comprehensive community college created in 1960 to serve all or portions of eight counties.
The association of the Southeast Innovation Center and Southeastern Illinois College is critical at this time because it will inject more than $20,000 in seed capital into the local economy in and around Saline and neighboring southern Illinois counties. Harrisburg and nearby towns were hit hard by ice storms and flooding in 2008, and the opportunity for residents to participate in Operation Jump-Start comes at a time when it is truly needed in the region.
Southeastern Illinois will host a class beginning July 8 and running two nights per week for six weeks. Materials, grants, and promotion are being provided by the Southeast Innovation Center, and Southeastern Illinois College is providing the location and an instructor. Those in the southeastern Illinois area interested in learning more about Operation Jump-Start may call Lori Cox at (618) 252-5001 Ext. 4.