New Venture Challenge

By: Mike McDaniel
By: Mike McDaniel

They may be relatively unheard of across the state, but if you ask Latasha Bibb with the Mississippi Technology Alliance, they are becoming part of Mississippi's economic horizon.

"Hopefully one day we'll all know and hear their names everywhere," said Bibb.

'They' are more than 30 companies from across the state made up of innovators and technology entrepreneurs. All of them are part of the MTA's new venture challenge, each one competing to develop and push forward a tech savvy business plan.

Some are startups and others are exploring new opportunities like Brad McMullan, the president and CEO of textingleader.com. It's a new media company which started in Mississippi, focusing on mobile marketing and app development for companies across the globe.

"MTA has literally helped our company triple in size and we've been able to focus on a way to make the playground better to play on if you will, learning new ways to actually grow and market our business, not only here in Mississippi, but all around the world," said McMullan.

The competitors are getting oversight and guidance from industry experts as many of them prepare to pitch their home grown companies to real life investors.

"This gives them a good opportunity to get in front of some serial entrepreneurs and seasoned investors and to get really good feedback for their businesses," said Bibb.

"The MTA invests in local startup technology companies to help give them the resources they need to actually reach a new level," said McMullan.

If networking and cash aren't enough, also at stake is free business growing assistance through services from attorneys, accountants and web designers. It's a prize Bibb says can go a long way in putting Mississippi companies on the map.

"We've seen companies raise over $5 million and hire over 60 employees and these are all winners from the competition," said Bibb.

With that type of success, Bibb says Mississippi's entrepreneurs are trying to step out ahead of the rest.


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