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Entrepreneurship Center Assists Small Businesses in Central Mississippi

MC business professor John Brandon
MC business professor John Brandon

Unemployment levels keep climbing with more than 20 million Americans suddenly out of work due to the COVID-19 health emergency. Mississippi College School of Business leaders are reaching out to people struggling in metro Jackson and beyond.

The MC Center of Entrepreneurship staff is assisting the small business community in Central Mississippi as well as students.

“In recent weeks, the Center has received inquiries from business students, now sheltered-in-place at home in Mississippi, scattered throughout the United States and across the globe,” says director John Brandon.

Students want to know how this unprecedented pandemic is impacting the local business climate along with the world economy. There are now more than two million coronavirus cases spanning the globe. Coronavirus infections resulted in more than 30,000 deaths across America, the world’s leader. Mississippi reports 3,624 COVID-19 cases and 129 deaths as of April 16.

The health crisis has sparked economic heartache and is draining bank accounts for people from 20-somethings to senior citizens.

“They want to understand what an entrepreneur can and should do to survive (and, even thrive) in such a situation,” says Brandon, a business professor on the Clinton campus.

“Our entrepreneurship classes have quickly added up-to-date components of real-life responses to the COVID-19 crisis situation into the Spring semester’s curriculum,” he said. “Students are learning real-time, and how to plan better for future crisis events.”

As for companies in the region, their hard hit employees are getting help from Mississippi College regarding business loan applications, available SBA loan funds, and tips how to access government agencies.

“Our principal assistance is to share reliable information to businesses who need critical information in a timely manner during this uncertain time,” Brandon added.

The director of entrepreneurial development, Brandon often connects with Mississippi College students. They are scattered around the nation and other countries taking online classes for weeks.

James Tate Marchant, an MC entrepreneurship major from Denver, Colorado, is learning as he keeps on top of health emergency developments.

“Particularly with this pandemic, I have seen how customer service is so essential,” Marchant says. “Right now, disruptive ways to produce customer service are being seen everywhere. We need to learn to take aspects of these new skills and apply them to when things return to normal.”

MC junior Donald Westby Gibson of Brandon is learning valuable lessons up close as a double major in finance and business administration.

His family works in the automobile business. “It has been difficult for business. You’ve got to stay on your toes and be prepared. Our business is now having to prepare for when the market should open back up to take immediate advantage of the opportunities,” Gibson said.

To help companies during tough times, MC’s Center of Entrepreneurship works with several agencies. Partners include the City of Clinton, the U.S. Small Business Administration and the Mississippi Small Business Development Center. About 130,000 Mississippians filed for federal assistance since the COVID-19 crisis began earlier this year.

Staying in touch with customers and understanding their perceptions are keys for businesses as they prepare to make a comeback, Brandon says.

For additional information, contact John Brandon at The City of Clinton’s economic development officials can be reached at