MDA Using Tech to Try to Retain Businesses

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Mississippi lost a record 117 manufacturers in 2002, plants that closed or left the state and had employed 11,063 people.

Another 102 Mississippi companies closed last year and 41 have closed since January.

Jeff Dukes is the Mississippi Development Authority's associate director of existing industry and business.

Dukes has introduced a Web-based software that the MDA hopes will be a proactive step toward keeping companies in Mississippi.

The software is actually a 42-question survey where every CEO, plant manager and business owner in Mississippi can elaborate on problems and concerns they confront. Business owners can vent concerns on anything from NAFTA to burdensome local zoning codes.