City of Vicksburg seeks grant for project to build entrepreneurship

Published 4:03 pm Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Vicksburg and Warren County economic development officials are hoping to land a $1.1 million grant that will be used to help area residents start high-tech businesses and develop high-paying local jobs.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen July 19 applied for the U.S. Department of Labor grant under the WORC, or Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities, through the Delta Regional Authority.

Pablo Diaz, Vicksburg Warren Economic Development Partnership President and CEO, said the city will serve as the agent for the grant funds under a contract with Mississippi State. MSU will use the funds for the grant agreement.

If approved, the grant would support a satellite office, team and programming for MSU’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Outreach at the Thad Cochran Mississippi Center for Innovation and Technology, or MCITy, project in downtown Vicksburg.

“If successful in its bid to locate at MCITy, the MSU-E-Center will work with area residents to help them start high-tech businesses and successfully seek funding,” Diaz said.

He said the program will cooperate directly with local governments, the Economic Development Foundation, ERDCWERX and the other organizations that will locate at the MCITy project.

“This grant is another collaborative effort to create quality programming that supports high tech entrepreneurship and high wage job development for the region. We are excited that the City was able to submit the application and we hope it will gain the support and approval of the Department of Labor,” Diaz said.

Located in the former Mississippi Hardware Building, MCITy was first proposed in 2017. At the time, it was seen as a project to promote the development of new technology for different markets, technology transfer and entrepreneurship by providing a source to help people start their own companies and compete for contracts with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers or the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center.

While that goal still exists, project officials said MCITy’s reach is expected to be broader to encourage innovation in a variety of ways.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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