Mississippi Seed Fund
The Mississippi Seed Fund is managed by Innovate Mississippi. Innovate Mississippi provides high-tech, startup companies with access to pre-seed financing, early stage risk capital and product development capital to stimulate and accelerate the development of high-performance, technology-based business ventures in Mississippi.
Seed Fund FAQs:
Who is eligible?
Eligible applicants must be in the process of commercializing advanced technology, defined as a state of the art, proprietary product, process, material, design, and/or know-how. Industries assisted by the program include, but are not limited to:
- Life sciences
- Information technologies
- Communications technologies
- Electronics and related fields
- Medical devices and instruments
- Energy Service and related firms developing a proprietary product or technology for these industries are also eligible to compete for Program funds.
Eligible firms must be technology-based, sufficiently innovative to provide a competitive advantage in the marketplace and have the potential for significant, high performance growth (high performance is defined as value added per employee, sales per employee, revenues per employee, and/or employment levels per sales exceeding the national average for the industry sector).
Do applicants have to be located in Mississippi?
Firms applying for assistance under this program must be located in, or must have relocated to, and be primarily domiciled in Mississippi prior to the receipt of program funds.
What size companies are eligible?
Eligible firms must be classified as small businesses in accordance with the U.S. Small Business Administration (no more than 500 employees).
Does the fund consider companies at any stage of development?
The stage of development depends on the type of funds the business is seeking.
- Mississippi Research and Development Fund: Any small Mississippi company.
- Mississippi New Technology Business Fund: Eligible firms should be in a development stage prior to full production. This is further defined as any stage from idea conceptualization up to, and prior to, established and steady market sales. This, for the most part, suggests firms in the development, proof of concept, and prototype stages of their life cycle. Firms needing "pre-seed" capital are also eligible, with funding allowed for prototype development, completion of business plans, executive recruiting and detailed market analysis needs.
- Rural Innovation Fund: Any small company located in a rural area of Mississippi.
Are all companies eligible to receive funding?
Firms not eligible for funding under this program include:
- Retail services
- Oil and gas exploration and production franchisees
- Real estate development, management, and investment companies
- Any technology or non-technology firms that do not have a proprietary product or service.
(Firms will not be disqualified because their customers are in such industries.)
What kind of match is required?
Eligible firms must leverage $1.00 of other resources (of which a percentage must be cash) for every $1.00 of financial assistance requested from the program. The following list identifies the required cash match for each program:
- Research and Development Fund: 50%
- New Technology Business Level I: 25%
- New Technology Business Level II: 50%
- Rural Innovation Fund Level I: 25%
- Rural Innovation Fund Level II: 50%
Cash must be in hand or committed in writing by private investors or lenders to be released coinciding with receipt of program funds. The balance of non-cash matching funds may be in the form of "in-kind" matching funds. The following types of in-kind matches may be allowed:
- Pro-bono services provided to the applicant
- Services provided which are paid for with stock rather than cash
- Donated rent or space
- Time and resources of the firm and its employees dedicated to the same activities proposed for financial support
- Pro-bono, not deferred, compensation by employees
- Imputed equivalent or fair market value of equipment donated or used in the project
- Direct costs of intellectual property brought to the project as valued by an independent third party.
How much is the award?
Research and Development Fund has a maximum award of $100,000 in any one year with a $200,000 aggregate limit.
New Technology Business Fund Level I has a maximum award of $10,000 on a one-time basis.
New Technology Business Fund Level II has a maximum award of $100,000 in any one year with a $200,000 aggregate limit.
Rural Innovation Fund Level I has a maximum award of $10,000 on a one-time basis.
Rural Innovation Fund Level II has a maximum award of $100,000 in any one year with a $200,000 aggregate limit.
What kind of payback is expected?
Repayment provisions shall require a minimum repayment of one times (if repaid within 36 months after award) and a maximum repayment of two times the original amount funded by the program (after 36 months). The amount and type of payback shall vary depending upon the performance of the company. Innovate Mississippi reserves the right to accept the pay back in the form of cash, stock, royalty or any combination.
When is payback expected?
A specific plan and schedule for repayment for each award contract shall be detailed in the contract. However, the maximum time period for repayment to be completed will generally be five years from the date the original award contract is executed.
How do I get the money?
Potential applicants will submit an oral presentation of their business proposal accompanied by a business plan or a product development plan to Innovate Mississippi. Once a proposal meets Innovate Mississippi application standards, the applicant will be invited to formally apply to the fund. A completed application, and required document attachments including four (4) copies of a complete business plan, must be filed with the program manager. Innovate Mississippi staff will review all applications and business plans for completeness and compliance with eligibility requirements. Those applications business plans that meet the standard criteria will be forwarded to an expert, independent review committee for analysis and scoring. Applicants whose plans exceed the minimum required score will be offered an award contract at the recommended funding level until program funds are exhausted.
How can I get started?
Guidelines for writing business plans and a description of the qualification and scoring criteria are available from the Innovate Mississippi. Innovate Mississippi can also help applicants identify service providers to assist them. Applicants are encouraged to use these resources to help them prepare successful application materials.
If you have questions concerning the Innovate Mississippi Mississippi Seed Fund please call 601-960-3610.