SEMO receives business award

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

HARRISBURG, Ill. -- Southeast Missouri State University was honored at a Tuesday morning ceremony as the recipient of Southeastern Illinois College's Small Business Advocate of the Year award.

The university's Innovation Center was honored for its entrepreneurial partnership with Southeastern Illinois College as the two institutions strive to create successful business ventures in 20 southeastern Illinois counties. The award is normally given to an individual who provides leadership in the area of economic development; Southeast was the first institution to receive the honor.

Southeast president Dr. Ken Dobbins called the partnership a win-win situation for both institutions and states.

"Normally, we stay within our boundaries but chose to go across the river to help a region that is like Missouri in a lot of ways," Dobbins said. "Though the terrain in Southern Illinois may be more hilly than Cape Girardeau, we both are agricultural towns. Also, that area of the country is not the most prosperous, so we're hoping this partnership will change the lives of some of the residents who live in that region."

The partnership is made possible through a $164,800 grant offered by the Delta Regional Authority to expand Operation Jump-Start training to the Illinois counties.

The 12-class program teaches participants planning and presentation skills needed to compete for small business startup grants. Operation Jump-Start is targeted at people with low to moderate income ranges who wish to begin or expand a small business.

Dobbins said businesses that complete the training have a 96 percent success rate after two years.

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