We often refer to entrepreneurs and small businesses as the engine for jobs and economic growth. A recent study by the Delta Regional Authority confirms this.
Prepared by Dr. James Stapleton, executive director of the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Southeast Missouri State University, the study found that from 1992 to 2010, locally owned small businesses with nine or fewer employees created 91 percent of the net new jobs in the Delta region. This area includes Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee.
The study did indicate, however, that while more small businesses were created in later years of the study, they did not create as many jobs.
Small-business owners face several challenges, but the work they do is critical to our communities. Stapleton, who was assisted in the study by graduate student Justin Pobst and undergraduate student Mitchell Brunson, is to be commended for his work with the Delta Regional Authority and the center.
The center is an excellent resource for entrepreneurs, and Stapleton and his staff do important work that helps our local economy. This study is another tool to help local leaders and chamber executives in development, and our hope is that more businesses, and the resulting jobs, will be cultivated.