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Group emphasizes new business ideas

NATCHEZ — Natchez needs entrepreneurs with ideas, investors and mentors to keep up with the ever-changing pace of business innovation.

Innovate Mississippi President and Chief Executive Officer Tony Jeff spoke to the Rotary Club of Natchez about the pace of technological innovation in business Wednesday afternoon.

Jeff said Innovate Mississippi will host an event in Adams County later this fall to find the next generation of entrepreneurs.

The event, Startup Weekend, will be a 54-hour business startup boot camp in which entrepreneurs will pitch an idea to a group of potential investors. Over the next couple of days, the entrepreneur will meet with mentors to fine-tune their idea and deliver a product and business plan by the end of the weekend.

At the end of the weekend, a jury panel of professionals who have been though the startup process numerous times will scrutinize the plans to find holes and evaluate if the idea can be a real-world success.

And while Jeff emphasized that technologically-driven ideas are important, he said any idea for a potential business is welcome at Startup Weekend.

“Companies are created over the course of the weekend,” Jeff said.

“We have had some (participants at past Startup Weekend events) who had customers by Sunday.”

The event, which will be Nov. 8-10, is already seeking registrants.

Early bird registration is $35.

Registration can be completed online at natchez.startupweekend.org.

Innovate Mississippi — formerly the Mississippi Technology Alliance — is a nonprofit organization with the goal of driving technologically-based economic development and innovation for the State of Mississippi.