Contact: Zack Plair
STARKVILLE, Miss.--A grant from the Robert M. Hearin Support Foundation will allow two state universities to collaboratively research business opportunities in the Mississippi Delta.
With the $73,395 award, Mississippi State University's Carl Small Town Center and the College of Business will partner with Delta State University's Master of Business Administration program to determine if a "symbiotic district" is a feasible means for economic development in the Delta.
A symbiotic district involves a single site where businesses, community members and the building itself exchange products -- such as garden vegetables, social services or cultural enrichment -- and reuse their waste byproducts. The aim of this recycle-reuse collaborative is to create sustainable businesses and neighborhoods while helping the environment.
"Creating a symbiotic district in the Delta, where businesses will not only profit from their close economic relationship but also an ecological one, will provide a model for sustainable economic development throughout the state," said John Poros, director of the Carl Small Town Center.
The grant also will fund a feasibility study in which MSU and Delta State MBA students, under the supervision of faculty outreach directors, will research possible business relationships in Delta communities for the project. Using those findings, the Carl Small Town Center's national Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellow, Emily Roush Elliott, will then work with students from MSU's School of Architecture to recruit potential business partners and secure buildings and site locations.
"We are pleased to be a part of this project that could provide a model for economic development not only in the Delta region, but throughout the state," said Sharon Oswald, dean of MSU's College of Business. "This is a great collaboration with not only the College of Architecture, Art and Design, but also our colleagues at Delta State."
Robert Hearin Sr., the Mississippi Valley Gas Co. chairman and chief executive officer who died in 1992, established the Hearin Foundation in his will. It primarily supports the state's higher education institutions and economic development.
The Carl Small Town Center, a research center within MSU's College of Architecture, Art and Design, is named for Fred E. Carl Jr., a major university benefactor who founded Viking Range Corp. For more information on the center, visit http://carlsmalltowncenter.org/.
MSU is Mississippi's flagship research university, available online at www.msstate.edu.