Mississippi Startup Ecosystem
Click here to view the Mississippi Startup Ecosystem Map
Jackson Mississippi is located at the center of the state of Mississippi. The 2015 poverty rate for Jackson was 11.6% higher than the state of Mississippi for that same year according to City-Data.com (“Jackson, Mississippi (MS) poverty rate data,” 2017).
Mississippi boasts one of the highest rates of poverty as any state and ranks 51st at 22 percent (“Mississippi Report — 2016 — Talk Poverty,” 2017).
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a 4.5 percent unemployment rate as late as May of 2017(“Mississippi Entrepreneur Resource Networks,” 2017).
The startup ecosystem reaches throughout the state in various forms including technical resources, investment groups, entrepreneurship groups, and incubators.
Technical Resources provide each current and aspiring entrepreneur with assistance developing infrastructure to support growth.
Entrepreneurship Groups provide a support system for entrepreneurs that allows them to share best practice and develop partnerships and mentoring opportunities. Investment Groups provide much needed capital in the form of angel and venture capital. Incubators provide a working environment for startups that may include share administrative services, office space, and meeting rooms for small businesses.
Please see the chart below for an overview of the process based on Innovate Mississippi’s model.
A survey of a few entrepreneurs yielded some areas where the city and the state might improve on creating opportunities for more diverse business development. Survey respondents reported that having 4 universities and 2 community colleges in the area represented a significant opportunity for startups. The low cost of living was also listed as a fact that makes Jackson an ideal place for startups. Examples of successful Jackson area startup included Smartsync and Bomgar which resulted in healthy returns for its investors. The survey also listed Jim Barksdale, former Netscape executive, as one of the leading venture capitalist in the central Mississippi area. Survey respondents did point out a need for more technical resources including programmers and engineers. Coalesce was unanimously listed as one of the top incubators in the area. The respondents did show a level of optimism about the future of the Startup Ecosystem. The Mississippi Development Authority is also actively developing the ecosystem and has some major initiatives planned for 2017. Those initiatives include development of regional centers of excellence for manufacturing, bio-engineering, and computer science. The Mississippi Development Authority is also developing local venture capital funds that will help future entrepreneurs secure angel and venture capital easier.