Economic development was the main topic on the agenda during a meeting of local business leaders and the Mississippi Economic Council.
The East Mississippi Business Development Corporation hosted the MEC at Business before Hours. MEC is bringing its Insight Tour to 14 cities.
Economic competitiveness was the primary topic, with education and health care as the economic drivers, and how they can affect the economy of the state.
MEC executive director Blake Wilson says east Mississippi is already ahead of the curve in the state on health care. He says this area's health care community could be a catalyst for future growth.
"That's what we see as an area of opportunity for Mississippi and it will not only help us get jobs directly from the health care industry, but also creates a better community and creates a more attractive place for business locations," said Wilson.
But to truly grow like it should, Wilson says education must also be a focus, particularly early childhood education. The MEC supports a bill pending before the legislature that would provide grants to communities to help them improve already existing Pre-K programs.
"Why not use the existing delivery system of both public and private childcare centers that exist, but collaborate and connect these more effectively, so that the community is really a part of moving this educational resource forward?" Wilson said.