Innovation Challenge to foster young entrepreneurs in Starkville

The Greater Starkville Development Partnership and Center for Entrepreneurship and Outreach at MSU are partnering to host Innovation Challenge. The Parent/Student Kick-Off Meeting at 5:30 p.m. on March 22 at one of the e-Center’s most successful start-up businesses, Glo, with guest speaker Tyson Lee. (Photo by Mary Rumore, SDN)
By: 
MARY RUMORE
Staff Writer

The Greater Starkville Development Partnership and Center for Entrepreneurship and Outreach in the College of Business at Mississippi State University are collaborating to bring the inaugural Innovation Challenge to junior high and high school students in Oktibbeha County.

Sponsored by International Paper, the contest is a hands-on opportunity for innovative Oktibbeha County middle and high school students to experience a real-world entrepreneurial process.

“This is a great opportunity for students to develop their entrepreneurial spirit in our community,” President and CEO of the Partnership Scott Maynard said.

Maynard said one of the main focus areas of the Partnership is education, and this joint effort with the e-Center and local schools is a perfect example of cultivating educational opportunities.

MSU College of Business Director of Outreach Jeffrey Rupp also shared his excitement about the Innovation Challenge.

“The e-Center and programs like Innovation Challenge continue blurring the lines between town and gown – if we can support these students at an earlier age, it increases the likelihood they’ll stay in Mississippi, and in our local community, to live and work,” Rupp said.

During the four-week, teacher-led program, participating individuals and teams will develop and pitch their own business ideas and plans, spend a day at the MSU e-Center learning and exploring business development, work with MSU students and staff and pitch ideas at the e-Center roundtable.

The program concludes with a competition for a $500 grand prize, as well as scholarships to the MSU ICreate Entrepreneurship Summer Camp.

The event is open to any sixth through 12th grade students living in Oktibbeha County, including Starkville Academy, StarkvilleOktibbeha Consolidated School District, Starkville Christian School and homeschool students.

Those interested in participating are invited to attend the Parent/Student Kick-Off Meeting at 5:30 p.m. on March 22 at one of the e-Center’s most successful start-up businesses, Glo, located at 419 East Lampkin St. Tyson Lee, another start-up success in Starkville, will be guest speaker.

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