- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Recent editorials from Mississippi newspapers:


Sept. 15

Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal on expanding entrepreneurial culture in state:

Mississippi State University’s Entrepreneurship Center, which helps make start-up business goals into realities, will move in late November to new quarters in McCool Hall in the heart of the Starkville campus.

The 2,000-square-foot space will better accommodate the needs and aspirations of the program started in 2009.

Entrepreneurship means conceiving and building a business enterprise from the ground up.

When Keith Kakadia started his business, SociallyIn, he had no business connections in the Starkville area.

Daily Journal reporter Zack Orsborn reported Monday through the help of the Entrepreneurship Center, Kakadia was able to get his first client.

The primary focus is for students, but the center is also available to faculty and staff. There is also a component which serves external clients to include individuals, existing businesses, start-ups and communities.

MSU’s center leaders looked at the cutting edge e-centers across the nation to help shape what Mississippi State would seek.

One of the programs used as a model was the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship providing the expertise, support and connections needed for MIT students to become effective entrepreneurs.

The website for MIT’s program says Robert Edwards and Charles Easley of MIT have estimated Martin Trust has produced leaders who’ve founded 25,600 active companies employing 3.3 million people and generating annual world revenues of nearly $2 trillion. The group of companies, if it were its own nation, would be the 11th largest economy in the world.

“It’s going to help put (MSU) on the map,” Kakadia said. “It’s one of the biggest e-centers in the state. For startups, we’re going to have a lot more resources that we are going to be able to utilize.”

Eric Hill, director of the e-center, and his staff began planning the “cutting edge” facility in August 2014 by visiting other hubs at MIT, NYU and Texas A&M.;

“We wanted it to be something that when somebody comes on this campus, and of course with all the Mississippi stigma, they say, ‘Oh my gosh, this is literally Silicon-Valley-level awesome,’” Hill said. “That drove so much of the design and cost process.”




Sept. 12

The Sun Herald, Gulfport, Mississippi, on Biloxi’s plan for spending money from BP oil spill settlement:

We like Biloxi’s forward-thinking plan for its BP disaster settlement.

The city will put its $4.1 million share into an Economic Development Security Fund designed to overcome the economic damage caused by the catastrophe that spewed millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf, damaged the environment and sent a shockwave through the tourism, fishing and seafood industries.

The money will be used to attract new businesses or help existing businesses expand. The best thing about these incentives is the recipients must pledge to repay the money, either with cash or receivables. That helps ensure the $4.1 million can be used again and again to spark the economy.

Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gillich said the city can, in essence, borrow from itself, saving it from paying interest on loans it otherwise might have to take out to match state and federal grants.

The city plans to use the money to get grants and loans from the Mississippi Development Authority, state and federal transportation departments or other agencies. It also could be up-front money to for community promotions and special events, officials said. It could be invested in public utilities such as ultra-high-speed Internet.

In any of those instances, the Economic Development Security Fund would be repaid.

And the money will stay on the Coast, which, after all, is where the disaster hit.

The Legislature would do well to listen to city attorney Gerald Blessey’s advice and set up a similar fund with the $750 million it will control. Then it could use it again and again to help restore the area most affected.




Sept. 15

The Vicksburg (Mississippi) Post on Miss Mississippi as runner-up in 2016 Miss America Pageant:

Miss Mississippi Hannah Roberts’ strong showing in the 2016 Miss American Pageant is certainly a boost in image for the Magnolia State and our city.

Roberts finished second to Miss Georgia Betty Cantrell in the country’s most prestigious pageant Sunday in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Miss Mississippi executive director David Blackledge best summed up Robert’s role in the competition.

“Wow, she was awesome. She has worked hard all week long and is deserving of what she got,” Blackledge said.

“This is a great showing for Mississippi and we are so excited.”

The showing is also great for Vicksburg, the city that has been home to the Miss Mississippi Pageant for decades. Our community sent throngs of supporters to New Jersey to root for Roberts, who is from the tiny Covington County community of Mount Olive.

Perhaps her (strong showing) will spark increased interest in the Miss Mississippi Pageant and bring even more visitors to our fair city next summer.

Roberts also benefited greatly from the pageant. During Wednesday night’s preliminary competition, she was named as one of the five STEM scholarship winners, where she was awarded an additional $5,000 in scholarships to the $25,000 as first runner-up.

“We are ecstatic. It’s been a roller coaster of emotions all week. We would just like to thank all the state of Mississippi and to say thank you for letting our daughter represent this great state,” her father, James Roberts said.

Roberts won’t be reveling long in New Jersey. On Wednesday, she will speak to Vicksburg Lions Club at Toney’s on Mission 66. The club has invited all members of the community to attend and show their support for Roberts. Club representatives said they hope for a packed house in the meeting room at Toney’s

Come out and show your support and let it be know that no matter where she’s from Vicksburg will always been Miss Mississippi’s hometown.



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