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Ole Miss Entrepreneurship Forum Highlights Mississippi’s Innovation ‘Spirit’

Over 100 people in Mississippi’s innovation ecosystem—entrepreneurs, economic developers, students and government officials—gathered in Jackson for the fifth annual Mississippi Entrepreneurship Forum, sponsored in part by the McLean Institute for Public Service and Community Engagement.

“The forum is designed to bring colleges and universities together in Mississippi to share about entrepreneurship, inform of best practices and discuss community and economic development in Mississippi,” said J.R. Love, project manager for the CEED initiative at the McLean Institute, said in a story at Ole Miss News.

Through a series of panel discussions and demonstrations, participants learned about new technology ventures, student entrepreneurship initiatives and some overall looks at the ecosystem for entrepreneurship, which involves the universities, community colleges, seed funds, angel networks and resources such as Innovate Mississippi and the Mississippi Development Authority.

Representatives from the University of Mississippi’s Office of Technology Commercialization, for instance, were on hand to discuss their role in moving intellectual property-driven projects from the university into the private sector. Mississippi State University had representatives from the MSU Center for Entrepreneurship and Outreach discussing their focus on incubating student- and faculty-led startup ventures. One panel featured Hagan Walker and Anna Barker of Vibe LLC, makers of GloCubes, a thriving Starkville-based business that sprang from a student project at Mississippi State.

Other participating colleges included Delta State University, the University of Southern Mississippi, Mississippi College, UMMC, Millsaps College, Jackson State University, Lindenwood University and representatives from the Mississippi Community College Board.

The event featured opening remarks by Glenn McCullough of the Mississippi Development Authority a lunch keynote by Sheena Allen, the dynamic technology founder and author originally from Terry, Miss.

The Mississippi Entrepreneurship Forum had previously been called the Rural Entrepreneurship Forum, and had been held in Clarksdale, Tupelo, Greenwood and Oxford.

Sponsors of the event included the Oxford-Lafayette County Economic Development Foundation, Innovate Mississippi, the ELSEWorks Entrepreneurship Program at Millsaps College, the UM Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and Office of Technology Commercialization, Mississippi University for Women, Belhaven University, Williams CPA Firm PLLC and Williams Sanjo.

Featured photo courtesy University of Mississippi.