ELSEWorks

About

ELSEWorks Entrepreneurship Initiative

The goal of the ELSEWorks Entrepreneurship Program is to encourage and promote entrepreneurship and positive social change in the community, state, and region.

ELSEWorks focuses on four areas:

Academics

Business Development

Social Entrepreneurship

Commercialization

The ELSEWorks team, composed of four faculty members and a Director of Entrepreneurial Development, have more than 100 total years of diversified experience in business, finance and marketing. Team members are:

Dr. David H. Culpepper, Chair, Professor of Accounting

Kelsey Worch Ebelhar, Director of Business Analysts

Dr. Blakely Fox Fender, Professor of Economics

Dr. M. Ray Grubbs, Professor of Management

Dr. Penelope J. Prenshaw, Professor of Marketing

ELSEWorks, the entrepreneurial program of the internationally acclaimed Else School of Management at Millsaps College, is uniquely positioned to advance entrepreneurship in the state and region.

For more information contact Kelsey Worch Ebelhar, Director of Business Analysts, at worchke@millsaps.edu.

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Academics

ELSEWorks provides students unparalleled opportunities working with faculty, alumni, and industry experts to gain high-level entrepreneurial business experience in a number of settings and to engage the community.

 

Jackson's Mayor Tony Yarber with City Officials, Owner Raymond Horn, and ELSEWorks Student Analysts at the Grand Opening of  Mississippi Cold Drip Coffee & Tea Co.

Jackson's Mayor Tony Yarber with City Officials, Owner Raymond Horn, and ELSEWorks Student Analysts at the Grand Opening of Mississippi Cold Drip Coffee & Tea Co.

 

ELSEWorks and the Undergraduate Student

  • The Undergraduate Concentration in Entrepreneurship consists of a four-course sequence. It begins in the junior year with Innovation and Entrepreneurial Finance and is followed by Entrepreneurship and Entrepreneurial Investments in the senior year.
  • Undergraduate students have the opportunity for entrepreneurship internships and participation with the Entrepreneurial Investment Fund.
  • Students also have the opportunity to engage in extracurricular endeavors that allow them to apply entrepreneurial concepts to community outreach projects that improve the quality of life and standard of living for people in need. Such projects have included work with Hope Community Credit Union, Lemonade Day, and the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program.

 

"My ELSEWorks internship challenged me in ways I could not have imagined. I served as a consultant to a small business in Jackson - something unheard of for undergraduate students at many colleges and universities."
Jennifer Goebel, B.B.A. 2013

 

Dr. Culpepper's Undergraduate Entrepreneurial Finance Class at Lucky Town Brewing Co.

Dr. Culpepper's Undergraduate Entrepreneurial Finance Class at Lucky Town Brewing Co.

 

 

ELSEWorks and the Graduate Student

  • ELSEWorks Business Analysts are M.B.A. and M.Acc. graduate students that have been chosen for select assistantships. These assistantships have an additional stipend and allow the graduate student to lead projects with startup companies and to be involved in other entrepreneurial ventures.
  • A graduate entrepreneurship practicum is offered in both fall and spring semesters. Students complete advanced business consulting projects for entrepreneurs and businesses. 

 

"To be able to apply what I learned in the classroom, and see it contribute to Lucky Town's success is incredibly exciting and fulfilling."
Victor Cobb, M.B.A. 2014

 

ELSEWorks Entrepreneurial Investment Fund

The Fund invests in a variety of entrepreneurial private equity ventures by canvassing and screening a large array of investment opportunities across multiple industries and selecting those that maximize tradeoffs between perceived risk and return. It is unusual for students to have an opportunity to work with a fund which focuses on non-public companies at any university, much less at a small liberal arts college.

One primary goal of the Fund is to involve students in the Fund's activities, providing them with a rich, hands-on learning experience that exposes them to the world of private equity and the critical role it plays in capital, wealth, and job creation. Students apply what they have learned in their entrepreneurial and other coursework by researching, evaluating, forecasting, and performing due diligence on various investment opportunities, as well as monitoring the progression of companies through the various stages of growth and maturity, including liquidity. Students participate in the legal, tax, valuation, and regulatory challenges faced by these companies as well as the evaluation of the entrepreneurial/management team, marketing plan/market potential, intellectual property/competition, and the business plan. Our students have participated in the hosting of various companies' management teams and Angel Investors on campus to observe and participate in the capital raising process.

The Fund is primarily focused on, but not limited to, entrepreneurial start-up firms, including seed stage, early stage, and expansion/mezzanine stage investments. While not limited geographically, the Fund primarily considers and evaluates Mississippi-based opportunities. The Fund currently holds investments in various sectors, including computer networking technology, medical devices/pharma, renewable energy technology, hospitality services, and craft beer. Two companies are headquartered in Mississippi and some others have significant connections to Mississippi.

 

"We believe by placing our students in a position to have meaningful input into high level decisions that have very real and potentially transformative consequences, they learn to embrace diversity, risk, and important challenges - thus, how to be a leader."
Dr. David H. Culpepper

 

Business Advantage Program

The Business Advantage Program is a 15-week certificate program which teaches the essentials of business to successful professionals who have no prior education in business. Graduates include architects, artists, engineers, high school teachers, public officials, members of the medical community, and leaders of nonprofits. The website includes video testimonials describing how the Business Advantage Program has benefitted the professional and personal lives of previous participants.

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Business Development

ELSEWorks Business Consulting Projects

Patty PattersonStudents have completed business consulting projects for clients across the region:

A Place Imagined - operational and marketing planning for startup children's playhouse manufacturer

Bell Book Publication - publishing support for book written by local Jackson, MS, judge

Capital Complex Study - feasibility study for the relocation of Mississippi state agencies

Downtown Block Development Study - feasibility study for real estate development in downtown Jackson, MS

Else Documentary Project - film development and creation of profile of Charles Else

ELSEWorks Entrepreneurial Fund - see details under Academics page

Fondren Hotel Study - business planning including franchising opportunities for boutique lifestyle hotel

Hockey Arena - feasibility study for arena to be located in Jackson-metro area

Hub Midtown - creative business development center, see details under Social Entrepreneurship page

Isaro Foundation - business planning for non-profit publishing facility located in Rwanda

Landmark Building Study - feasibility study for location of Mississippi Department of Revenue

LeFleur East Foundation - strategic plan for Jackson area neighborhood association

Lucky Town Brewing Co - business planning and funding assistance for microbrewery located in Midtown, Jackson, MS

Pearl River Glass

ELSEWorks Business Analysts at Pearl River Glass

Millsaps Conservatory of Music - planning assistance with Department of Music for community music school in partnership with Mississippi Symphony Orchestra

Millsaps College Theatre Department - feasibility planning for blackbox theatre to be located in Midtown, Jackson, MS

Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians - retail center development project

Mississippi Cold DripMississippi Cold Drip Coffee & Tea Co. - business plan expansion of startup coffee company with new location in Midtown, Jackson, MS

Mississippi Industries for the Blind - research project to assess salary structures among call centers

Mississippi Museum of Art - market research project to develop new revenue streams

MS Micro Buyout Fund - business acquisition model development

OffBeat - business plan development for alternative culture retail store in Midtown, Jackson, MS

Pearl River Glass Studio - business plan for major expansion in Midtown, Jackson, MS

Pix-Capri Dine-In Theatre - market viability study for dine-in theatre in Fondren, Jackson, MS

Purple Word Center for Book & Paper Arts - business planning for printmaking and bookmaking studio Midtown, Jackson, MS

Purple Word Center for Book and Paper Arts

S'cream Ice Cream - feasibility study for gourmet ice cream business

Sheena Allen Apps - mobile application development project

Soul City Hospitality - market research and business planning for food innovation center and regional food hub for state of Mississippi

Soul Wired Café - business plan development and funding assistance for start-up café in Midtown, Jackson, MS

The Donor Tree - operational and market assessment for fundraising website

 

Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians Groundbreaking

Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians Groundbreaking

 

Business Advantage Program

The Business Advantage Program is a 15-week certificate program which teaches the essentials of business to successful professionals who have no prior education in business. Graduates include architects, artists, high school teachers, public officials, members of the medical community, and leaders of nonprofits. The website includes video testimonials describing how the Business Advantage Program has benefitted the professional and personal lives of previous participants.

 

Innovate Mississippi and the Angel Fund Network

ELSEWorks partners with Innovate Mississippi, a nonprofit organization with the mission to drive innovation and technology-based economic development for Mississippi. The Angel Fund Network is administered by Innovate Mississippi and is hosted on the Millsaps campus. It is comprised of accredited individual and institutional investors from inside and outside of the state. Students and professors assist with coaching on business plans and presentations and help prospective investors with due diligence.

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Commercialization

University of Mississippi Medical Center

University of Mississippi Medical Center

 

Members of the ELSEWorks team support regional efforts to commercialize early stage technology research in Mississippi as well as more focused efforts related to commercialization of University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) medical device and pharma research. ELSEWorks has worked with UMMC researchers in terms of negotiating licensing agreements with the institution and business plan development for purposes of commercialization of UMMC research technology.

ELSEWorks has also been active within the angel investor/venture capital community and has facilitated successful capital raises for multiple entrepreneurial start-ups.

 

ELSEWorks Entrepreneurial Investment Fund

The Fund invests in a variety of entrepreneurial private equity ventures by canvassing and screening a large array of investment opportunities across multiple industries and selecting those that maximize tradeoffs between perceived risk and return. It is unusual for students to have an opportunity to work with a fund which focuses on non-public companies at any university, much less at a small liberal arts college.

One primary goal of the Fund is to involve students in the Fund's activities, providing them with a rich, hands-on learning experience that exposes them to the world of private equity and the critical role it plays in capital, wealth, and job creation. Students apply what they have learned in their entrepreneurial and other coursework by researching, evaluating, forecasting, and performing due diligence on various investment opportunities, as well as monitoring the progression of companies through the various stages of growth and maturity, including liquidity. Students participate in the legal, tax, valuation, and regulatory challenges faced by these companies as well as the evaluation of the entrepreneurial/management team, marketing plan/market potential, intellectual property/competition, and the business plan. Our students have participated in the hosting of various companies' management teams and Angel Investors on campus to observe and participate in the capital raising process.

The Fund is primarily focused on, but not limited to, entrepreneurial start-up firms, including seed stage, early stage, and expansion/mezzanine stage investments. While not limited geographically, the Fund primarily considers and evaluates Mississippi-based opportunities. The Fund currently holds investments in various sectors, including computer networking technology, medical devices/pharma, renewable energy technology, hospitality services, and craft beer. Two companies are headquartered in Mississippi and some others have significant connections to Mississippi.

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Social Entrepreneurship

Dr. Prenshaw and students lead a Midtown Entrepreneurship Workshop

Dr. Prenshaw and students lead a Midtown Entrepreneurship Workshop

 

Midtown is a diverse and primarily low income neighborhood adjacent to Millsaps College. ELSEWorks supports a holistic strategic plan for community revitalization including education, economic development, community and culture, and health and wellness initiatives. The plan is spearheaded by Midtown Partners, Inc., a non-profit community organization which works to make Midtown a vibrant, healthy, sustainable community in which to live, work, and raise families.

The primary focus of ELSEWorks is economic development, specifically growing Midtown's creative economy. The work underway provides experiential learning opportunities while giving students a way to actively and purposefully engage with and influence our local community through strategic partnerships.

The centerpiece of this economic development initiative is a creative business development center named the Hub Midtown. The Hub is composed of two buildings located in the heart of the Midtown Arts District, the Hatch and the Hanger. The Hub Midtown model provides new business owners access to group workshops and business consultation prior to and during formation, as well as subsequent one-on-one business consulting. See below ELSEWorks' efforts to grow the creative economy in Midtown.

 

Midtown Map  

The Hatch with 11,000 square feet provides affordable space and support to start-up businesses and entrepreneurs. The gallery provides space for showings by Midtown artists and is also the site of 1 Million Cups Jackson meeting every Wednesday morning. Mississippi Cold Drip Coffee & Tea Co., founded in 2012 by Raymond Horn, was recruited by ELSEWorks, and is the first tenant to move into the Hatch, and began brewing operations in spring of 2015. “We’ve been involved in helping him select a location for production, and a graphic design for his packaging, along with sorting out a system of financial recording and production policies and procedures,” said Kelsey Worch, M.B.A. 2015 and ELSEWorks business analyst. “We’ve met with him regularly and have gotten to experience and help with a large amount of his company’s development,” said Worch.

The Hangar boasts 20,000 square feet of warehouse space and 3,000 square feet of office space. One of the first tenants in the Hangar was Millsaps art professor Sandra Murchison and her business, Purple Word Center for Book & Paper Arts. ELSEWorks helped Murchison develop her business and funding plan and secure space in the Hangar for Purple Word. Other tenants in the Hangar include Repurposed Projects, Inspire Jackson, Red Squared Productions, and Storied Salvage. ELSEWorks provided Patty Paterson, owner of Repurposed Projects a business plan for her business specializing in furniture made from recycled pallets. Patty said, “ELSEWorks has been with me every step of the way. They’ve just been really great.”

OffBeat, owned by well known Jackson DJ Phillip “Young Venom” Rollins, received assistance from ELSEWorks in the form of a market analysis to support expansion of his alternative culture retail store. Rollins is also a recent graduate of the Business Advantage Program.

TurnUp Studios hosts space for artists Clay Hardwick, B.A. 2009, and daniel johnson (sic), B.A. 2011. Hardwick's father is Phil Hardwick, Millsaps M.B.A. 1984, an adjunct instructor in the Else School as well as the Business Advantage Program. johnson (sic) completed the Business Advantage Program.

Pearl River Glass Studio owner Andy Young received assistance from ELSEWorks with a $1 million expansion of his business. Young said, "My craft is 1,000 years old, but when I needed to develop new methods to address market challenges, I turned to ELSEWorks. We had to survive and we had to move forward. The business plan I had at the time was not going to do that. We had to think strategically; ELSEWorks was helpful in conversations about what direction to go."

Midtown Partners Resource Center is run by Midtown Partners, Inc. who is a key partner of the College and supports various education, economic development, community and culture, and health and wellness initiatives in Midtown. Monica Cannon, director of community outreach, and Whitney Grant, creative economies director, participated in the Business Advantage Program. The Center is the future site of Midtown Public Charter School, opening fall 2015.

Soul Wired Cafe received various levels of business assistance from ELSEWorks. Jennifer Goebel, B.B.A 2013, provided business planning assistance that supported the loan application. "It challenged me in ways I could not have imagined to serve as a consultant to a small business in Midtown-- something unheard of for undergraduate students at many colleges and universities," Goebel said.

Studio 2 Concrete/SwingLab is owned by Andy Hilton who is known for his concrete art and SwingLab convertible swings and was one of the first Midtown artists to participate in the Business Advantage Program, and was the first president of the Business Association of Midtown.

Lucky Town Brewing Company, recruited to Midtown by ELSEWorks, in partnership with Midtown Partners, Inc., received assistance with identification of the site location, zoning and funding assistance. As Chip Jones, co-owner of Lucky Town said, “The entire team at ELSEWorks proved to be a very useful resource in developing a schedule and making connections with proper contacts to ensure the process was carried out efficiently. We consider the brewing process a craft in and of itself, so the proposed use fits within the existing fabric of the creative economy.” The ELSEWorks Entrepreneurial Investment Fund is an investor in Lucky Town.

CS's hosts the Beer and Business topical workshops offered by ELSEWorks every quarter to the Business Association of Midtown members. Workshop topics have included: taxes and your business; licenses, permits, and zoning; finding sources of capital; intellectual property; business insurance; and digital marketing.

1 Campus 1 Community Fellow's Residence is the home of Millsaps 1C1C fellows, whose work is focused in the Midtown community. The fellows support Brown Elementary and Rowan Middle schools as well as many other community needs and sponsor the College’s annual Midtown Block Party.

 

Hope Enterprise Corporation

Hope Enterprise Corporation

Hope Enterprise Corporation is a private nonprofit community development financial institution. Students assisted with expansion efforts into three rural Mississippi communities that had lost their only banks. Students conducted marketing research, participated in membership drives, conducted financial literacy sessions, and attended the grand opening (where new accounts surpassed expectations!).

 

Youth Entrepreneurship Camp

Youth Entrepreneurship Camp

The youth entrepreneurship camp was developed for high school students from the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians (MBCI). MBCI is a community of approximately 10,000 members living on tribal land located in 10 counties in Mississippi. The entrepreneurship camp curriculum consisted of a combination of experiences, discussion and lecture, guest speakers, fieldtrips, a mentoring component including exposure to elder tribe members with business skills and success stories, and fun activities.

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