Start-Up Weekend to be Held at USM in Hattiesburg

(Ridgeland, MS) – Innovate Mississippi announces that the next Startup Weekend will be held November 6-8 on the campus of the University of Southern Mississippi (USM) in Hattiesburg and in a partnership with the university’s Trent Lott National Center for Excellence in Economic Development and Entrepreneurship. Powered by Google for Entrepreneurs, Startup Weekends are intense 54-hour events that operate worldwide, bringing together serial entrepreneurs, programmers, developers, graphic artists and business-minded people for weekends of company creation.

“We’re so excited to be partnering with the University of Southern Mississippi’s Trent Lott National Center for this event,” said Tony Jeff, president and CEO of Innovate Mississippi. “We hope to bring the community, college students and regional entrepreneurs together and see real businesses formed over the weekend.”

The agenda begins with aspiring entrepreneurs pitching their business proposals to the group, who then votes for the most promising 10 to 15 ideas. The group will divide into small teams based on the ideas they want to work on, and spend the rest of the weekend developing a proof of concept, demo or finished product. Mentors are on hand to help fine-tune the idea into a real company. A panel of seasoned professionals evaluates each team’s startup and their chances of real-world success.

The event concludes with an awards ceremony where the top three teams receive in-kind prizes from local service providers and sponsors. In addition, each participating team will continue to consult with the entrepreneurial development team at Innovate Mississippi to further develop their business plans. “Several companies formed from Startup Weekend Mississippi events have gone on to successfully grow their businesses, so I expect we’ll see the same from this event,” added Jeff.

“USM is pleased to host Startup Weekend because we recognize that south Mississippi has a large number of entrepreneurs and innovative thinkers who want to pitch an idea for a new business concept,” said Shannon Campbell, Ph.D., director of the Trent Lott National Center. “Startup Weekend is designed to rally support around these ideas with a team of volunteers who possess business, technical and creative backgrounds. At the conclusion of the weekend, a winning team is selected and awarded a prize package of additional technical and business support for growing their idea.”

The mission of Startup Weekend is to provide a high-energy, collaborative environment that facilitates experiential education and meaningful connections. Participants also build long-lasting relationships and may even walk away with a job or an investment.

Visit more information and to purchase tickets, which include all meals for the weekend.

Follow all Startup Weekend Mississippi events on Twitter via @SWMississippi or visit their Facebook and LinkedIn pages by searching Startup Weekend Mississippi.

Contact Tasha May in USM’s Office of Economic Development at or 601-266-5507 for more information.

Innovate Mississippi is a nonprofit organization with the mission to drive innovation and technology-based economic development for the State of Mississippi. Visit to learn more.