Innovation on the MS Gulf Coast

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I firmly believe that one of the keys to Mississippi’s economic future is to foster a culture of entrepreneurship. A culture in which young people don’t just grow up thinking about getting a job one day, but instead, maybe they dream about starting a company of their own. A culture in which we celebrate the successes of entrepreneurs, and acknowledge that failures are a part of the process. In this culture we would “lift the lid” on thinking about what we can accomplish. To build this kind of a culture it takes a takes a team effort. I am encouraged by a recent visit I had with Stephen Whitt who is the Executive Director of The Innovation Center in Gulfport.

The Innovation Center, formerly known as the Gulf Coast Business Technology Center, was founded in 1990 and is a project of the Harrison County Development Commission. The Innovation Center is a business incubator formed for the purpose of “encouraging the development of small, start-up businesses by providing an atmosphere in which they survive and prosper.” The incubator has 35 tenant residents plus virtual tenants as well in its approximately 45,000 square foot building. Whitt took the helm of the incubator in 2007 with the charge by Harrison County Development Commission Executive Director Larry Barnett to, “develop an entrepreneurial friendly culture on the Gulf Coast.”

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