- Wesson News
Mississippi Entrepreneurship Forum set for April 12-13 in Hub City
The Mississippi Entrepreneurship Forum, an annual event that connects universities and colleges to community and business partners in the state, will be held April 12-13 in Hattiesburg. The NextUp! Student Business Pitch Competition will be held as part of the Forum.
Students who would like to participate in the competition, which includes cash prizes for winning ideas, must apply by February 28. For more information and registration, visit the MEF Website. New this year, selected participants will be paired with mentors from the Mississippi Small Business Development Center, headquartered at Ole Miss, to prepare for the competition.
Competitors receive feedback from judges, who are a mix of business owners, business resource providers and other business leaders in the state. Winners receive cash prizes to help them grow their businesses. The Mississippi Development Authority serves as lead sponsor of the NextUp! competition, with additional funding support from Innovate Mississippi and other donors.
Leading entrepreneurs, economic developers, innovators, and future business owners will participate in the Forum. The events on Wednesday, April 12 will be held at William Carey University and the Thursday, April 13 events will be held at the Trent Lott Center for Excellence in Economic Development and Entrepreneurship on the campus of The University of Southern Mississippi.
The Honorable Michael Watson, Mississippi Secretary of State, will speak on Wednesday afternoon and Dr. Joe Paul, President of The University of Southern Mississippi, will give welcome remarks on Thursday morning. Panel discussions on Technology Commercialization and Innovation; and Mississippi’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem will be included in the agenda. In addition to the panels, the Forum offers opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs to network with owners of thriving businesses and gain valuable, practical tips for establishing and building a successful business.
Now in its eighth year, the Forum is part of the Catalyzing Entrepreneurship and Economic Development initiative, funded by a financial gift from the Robert M. Hearin Support Foundation. Previous events have been held in Clarksdale, Tupelo, Greenwood, Oxford, Jackson, Ridgeland, and Vicksburg. The 2021 forum was held virtually due to COVID-19.
A complete list of sponsors, including colleges and universities in Mississippi, and additional information about the 2022 Mississippi Entrepreneurship Forum is available on the MEF website.