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MCC's JumpStart receives benchmark designation

By Staff
Special to The Star
March 27, 2001
The JumpStart Entrepreneur Development program at Meridian Community College was one of 43 international benchmark practices recognized this month by the U.S. Secretaries of Agriculture and Education.
The Benchmark Practices for Local Economies program identifies best practices in rural economies, and is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Fund for Rural America.
JumpStart was designed to create wealth in the community by helping African-Americans become successful entrepreneurs.
Initially funded by Ewing Marion Kaufmann Foundation of Kansas City, and now in its sixth year of operation, JumpStart has assisted in starting or expanding 40 new small businesses ranging from retail to food to professional and personal services.
JumpStart has a success rate of 80 percent for new start-ups and expansions, and more than 105 participants have graduated from the program.
Participants must have a desire and determination to own their own business, attend a "Make a Job" workshop, attend an entrepreneurship study group workshop and sign-up to join the entrepreneur study group. Business plans, market research and networking are explored while participants have access to MCC's Small Business Development Center. In addition, JumpStarters receive 45 hours of computer training.
Benchmark Practices for Local Economies' goal has been to identify and disseminate information about exemplary programs and practices at community colleges in non-metropolitan areas that have had a positive impact on their regional economies.
Nominations were received from countries as far away as Iceland and New Zealand. An international panel of experts evaluated the nominations and designated 43 as Benchmark Practices.

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