Growing Gazelles


In a meeting several years ago in the office of the Chancellor at the University of Mississippi, five startup business owners met with a representative from a national entrepreneurship foundation. In the conversation, the representative shared the familiar statistics about startup failures with the group. One of the business owners strongly disagreed with the proposition by this “expert” that they would likely become a casualty of this failure rate as well and proclaimed, “we will not fail!”

The business owner who made that bold statement was Craig Harvey, one of the founders of NVision Solutions. Several years later, Craig received the SBA Small Business Person of the Year Award for Mississippi, and ironically, the keynote speaker at the award ceremony was this same “expert.” Harvey, a former Marine, is not one to shy away from standing up for what he believes in. After the speech, Harvey reintroduced himself and shared with the “expert” that not only his business, but all five of the businesses represented that day years before were still going strong!

I recently traveled to Stennis Space Center to visit with Craig, Tim Brogdon, also with NVision Solutions, and Tom Koger, the Executive Director of the Enterprise of Innovative Geospatial Solutions (EIGS). We had a spirited discussion about the mutual desire to build a culture of entrepreneurism in Mississippi, and I also learned more about the history of EIGS and the efforts to create a geospatial cluster at Stennis. Specifically, I learned more about the vision for the Magnolia Business Alliance, which all three of them were actively involved. The Alliance was recently formed as a 501(c)(6) non-profit organization for the advancement of small and medium businesses in the Southeast.

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