February 20, 2018  

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Southern Entrepreneurship Program to Host Statewide High School Competition

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Thirty high school student presentations will highlight the annual Statewide Business Plan Competition set for Monday, May 9 at the University of Southern Mississippi’s Trent Lott National Center for Excellence in Economic Development and Entrepreneurship.

The elite group was chosen from regional qualifying contests around the state during the month of April. Over the past few weeks, these high school juniors and seniors have been working diligently to complete revisions recommended through feedback and scoring received from regional competition judges.

The annual statewide competition is sponsored by the Southern Entrepreneurship Program (SEP) at Southern Miss. Participants will compete for prizes including cash awards and three immediate contestant slots in the Mississippi Technology Alliance’s “New Venture Challenge” later this month.

An impressive combination of business professors, bankers and business development professionals comprise the judging panels that evaluate each presentation and provide experience-based advice. Among the high schools that have qualified for the state competition are Petal, Stone, Gulfport, Biloxi, West Bolivar, Heidelberg and Columbus.

Throughout the school year SEP offers three symposiums to provide its student participants with a comprehensive educational experience covering entrepreneurship fundamentals and business 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.

For more information about the SEP and how interested high school can become involved, contact James Wilcox, director of the Southern Miss Center for Economic and Entrepreneurship Education at 601.266.6055 or james.b.wilcox@usm.edu or visit the Web site at www.theSEP.org