November 21, 2014  

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Southern Entrepreneurship Program Hosts Mississippi High Schools

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The Southern Entrepreneurship Program (SEP) is set to commence its fifth successive year in Mississippi high schools with a student symposium on Thursday, Sept. 29 at the Ronald E. Whitehead Advanced Technology Center on the campus of Jones County Junior College.

The first in a series of three symposiums scheduled each school year, the event is expected to attract more than 200 high school students from around the state who will hear personal inspirational stories of six young successful entrepreneurs.

The University of Southern Mississippi’s Center for Economic and Entrepreneurship Education (CEEE), the Trent Lott National Center for Excellence in Economic Development and Entrepreneurship, Jones County Junior College, and Regions Bank have teamed up to host the event.

High schools registered to attend include Hattiesburg, Petal, Heidelberg, Bay Springs, Noxubee County, Gulfport, Columbus, Forrest County Agricultural, Long Beach, West Bolivar County, Harrison Central, Biloxi, Laurel, and Natchez.

The day’s educational activities will kick off with a discussion panel of entrepreneurs experienced in the fields of marketing, social media, retail sales, cosmetology, childcare services, and food sales. Students will then have the opportunity to attend self-selected “break out” sessions led by the entrepreneurs to address industry-specific topics and questions.

Throughout the school year, SEP symposiums offer high school students a broad educational experience including an intro to entrepreneurship and start-up financing. Experienced entrepreneurs as well as small-business funding and development professionals representing local banks, the U.S Small Business Administration, and Small Business Development Centers help to lead each symposium. Near the end of each school year, SEP hosts regional and statewide business plan competitions to showcase student efforts and successes.

The Southern Entrepreneurship Program is establishing a network of young entrepreneurs through a unique hands-on approach to education. SEP provides professional assistance and training to high school students interested in starting their own businesses.

Beginning in 2007 as a pilot program in four Mississippi high schools has steadily grown to include more than 20 Mississippi high schools and has effectively trained 81 Mississippi teachers in the program. 

More information on SEP and how interested high schools can become involved is available by contacting James Wilcox at james.b.wilcox@usm.edu, calling 601.266.6055, or visiting the website at http://www.theSEP.org.