First Southwest Mississippi Entrepreneur Academy graduates receive certificates at Alcorn’s School of Business

First Southwest Mississippi Entrepreneur Academy graduates receive certificates at Alcorn’s School of Business

Twenty-nine proud prospective entrepreneurs walked across the stage in the Alcorn School of Business Auditorium on November 20, 2012, to receive their certificates of completion of the Southwest Mississippi Entrepreneur Academy from the Mississippi Development Authority Entrepreneur Center. The certificates, signed by Governor Phil Bryant and MDA Director Brent Christensen, marked the conclusion of a seven-month training program in the skills of entrepreneurship. Jack Curry and John Brandon of MDA’s Entrepreneur Center presented the graduates with their awards.

A group of Alcornites was among first Academy graduates: Janice Gibson, Alumni Affairs director, Beverly Adams, director of Student Services, School of Business, Freda Lawrence, director, Ag Communications, Helen Brooks, marketing coordinator for the ASU Extension Program, Darlene Jones, coordinator, Student Services Access Center, and Lorine Lias, area CRD extension educator for the ASU Extension Program.

“This was a very interesting class that allowed me the opportunity to build relationships with others interested in pursuing entrepreneurship,” stated Darlene Jones. “This course presented us with the tools needed to successfully start and operate a business. The most important was hearing the stories of local business owners and learning all of the legal aspects of business ownership.”

The crowd enjoyed congratulatory remarks from Sue Stedman, chairman of Natchez Incorporated, Darrell Grennell, president of the Adams County Board of Supervisors, Debbie Hudson, president of the Natchez Adams County Chamber of Commerce, Natchez Mayor Butch Brown, and Phillip West of the Natchez Business and Civic League. Dr. Derek Greenfield, director of Educational Equity and Inclusion at Alcorn State University, inspired and entertained the crowd with his tips for success. Chris Hinton of Natchez Inc. and Dr. Ruth Nichols, assistant vice president for Educational and Community Partnerships at Alcorn, were co-directors of the Academy.

The Southwest Mississippi Entrepreneur Academy is a partnership developed by Natchez Inc., Alcorn State University and Mississippi Development Authority. Its purpose is to provide upstart training and ongoing support for small businesses in the southwest region of Mississippi. Along with MDA staff, local and state professionals in the fields of human resources, finances, marketing, and legal matters provided instruction throughout the course.

Prior to the graduation ceremony, the graduates and guests enjoyed dinner provided by local business sponsors. Special presentations were made to John Brandon of MDA and Allen Terrell, ASU Technology Incubator manager, for their contributions to the success of the Academy.

A second session of the Entrepreneur Academy is scheduled for early 2013. For more information, call Natchez Inc. at 601.445.0288.

2012 Entrep Academy

Pictured: first group of Academy graduates.