Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Spotlight: Jackson, MS

Jackson, MS

The natural gas boom turned Jackson into a cultural and financial hub in the state of Mississippi and the Deep South.

Jackson, MS is the state’s capital and most populous city. It became the region’s largest city and in the early 20th century after natural gas was found in the area. While the natural gas boom didn’t last long, Jackson remains a cultural and financial hub in the state of Mississippi and the surrounding region. Today, the city is emerging as an entrepreneurial hotspot for the Deep South.

The city ranked 153rd on Forbes’ 2019 list of the best places for business and careers, and 117th on WalletHub’s 2019 list of the best cities for Hispanic entrepreneurs, with a very promising ranking of 18th overall in the “Hispanic Business-Friendliness” category. Similarly, the state of Mississippi as a whole finished 9th in a ranking by Fit Small Business of the best states for black entrepreneurship. Finally, in a 2019 WalletHub ranking of the best states to start a business, Mississippi finished 13th overall with a ranking of 2nd overall in the “Access to Resources” category.

Based on these rankings, FundingSage has reviewed the resources that make up Jackson’s entrepreneurial ecosystem:

Entrepreneurial Meetups:

The Jackson Area Web and App Developers group is a meetup group for professionals in the technology development industry that provides them with support.

Women of Design & Tech aims to support women in the Jackson metro area in the design and technology industries through regular meetings.

 

Regular Entrepreneurial Events:

Jackson is home to one branch of 1 Million Cups, an organization that hosts weekly events in cities around the country to allow entrepreneurs to meet one another and share their startups.

In addition to hosting monthly networking events, Innovate Mississippi hosts Accelerate, an annual conference on technology innovation currently in its 21st year.

The Greater Jackson Chamber Partnership hosts a variety of regular events, including networking opportunities and meetings of area business ambassadors and professionals.

 

Startup Competitions:

One of the many startup competitions hosted by the University of Mississippi is a regional qualifier for the International Business Model Competition open to students in the region.

2019 marked the 11th annual Mississippi New Venture Challenge pitch competition, hosted just outside of Jackson by Innovate Mississippi, open to entrepreneurs throughout the state.

 

Co-working Spaces:

Located in Jackson’ central business district, Coalesce is a co-working space that places on emphasis on creativity and creation that offers several membership levels.

In addition to co-working space and private offices, The Synergy Link provides a number of benefits to its members, including hosting educational workshops and seminars.

Triad Business Centers offers a variety of workspace solutions, ranging from virtual office space to traditional co-working space to private offices.

 

Makerspaces:

Organized by the Mississippi Light Collaborative, The Collaborative Space is a lab and gallery for STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) creators in Jackson.

Jackson State University offers students access to a small makerspace that includes 3D printers, a variety of software resources, embroidery machine and more.

 

Incubators:

The Hub Midtown, made up of The Hatch and The Hangar, is a non-profit initiative from the State of Mississippi that aims to support creative businesses in the Jackson area.

Jackson State University is home to one branch of Mississippi’s Small Business Development Center network, which runs programs throughout the state to support small businesses.

Initially intended as an incubator in downtown Jackson, the Venture Incubator has become a virtual incubator program that supports startups throughout the state of Mississippi.

 

Accelerators:

Innovate Mississippi runs business acceleration services and other support to entrepreneurs in the Jackson area and the state as a whole.

Jackson State University’s e-Business center is a 30,000 square foot facility that runs programs and other incubation and acceleration services to support tech startups.

 

Colleges/Universities:

Belhaven University’s Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree program offers students the chance to choose a concentration in entrepreneurship.

Jackson State University runs several resources to support entrepreneurship outside of the classroom and offers a major in the subject.

Millsaps College’s Else School of Management runs the ELSEWorks Entrepreneurship Program, which students can join to help support the local business ecosystem.

Just outside of Jackson in Clinton, Mississippi College includes an undergraduate major in entrepreneurship.

 

Angel Groups/VCs:

Run by the organization Pearlbend Ventures, the Freshwater Fund is a seed-stage fund that invests in software and internet startups throughout the state and beyond.

Managed by Innovate Mississippi, the Mississippi Seed Fund invests in promising high-tech startups throughout the state of Mississippi.

Headquartered in Jackson, the Small Business Capital Fund provides financing to small businesses throughout the state through by giving them loans.

 

Entrepreneurial Newsletter Coverage:

While the Clarion-Ledger, Jackson’s daily newspaper, doesn’t have any newsletters specifically focused on business or entrepreneurship, it does offer several covering general news.

While the Jackson Business Journal doesn’t offer any newsletters, it does post its quarterly issues on its website for free.

The Mississippi Business Journal offers a daily e-bulletin containing the biggest business news and headlines from throughout the entire state.

 

Are you familiar with the entrepreneurial ecosystem infrastructure in Jackson, MS not included in the article above?  If so, let us know via a comment below and we will add it to the article. 

Interested in Ecosystem Spotlights of other cities in the USA?

Baton Rouge, LA, St. Louis, MO, Columbia, SC


Rebecca Cox

Rebecca is a seasoned international traveler and Digital Marketing Specialist who assists in marketing strategies and creative development for FundingSage. She is currently studying her postgraduate degree in Advanced International Business Management from UC Leuven-Limburg.