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9/15/2014 - Jackson, Miss.

The deadline for students to enter the Blueprint Mississippi Social Business Challenge has been extended to Wednesday, October 1, 2014. The Blueprint Challenge gives students from Mississippi Public Universities the opportunity to develop business plans to tackle some of Mississippi's most pressing problems and help reach the goals established by Blueprint Mississippi.

The application is available online at www.mississippi.edu and only requires the name of the team, names team members, brief biographical information on the chair and co-chair, the name of the faculty advisor and contact information for faculty adviser. Open to any public university student, the challenge requires students to work in teams with at least one faculty adviser. Teams must have a minimum of three and a maximum of six students.

Students are asked to focus their efforts in support of one of the nine goals identified by Blueprint Mississippi. In 2012, Blueprint Mississippi, an independent cooperative of organizations and leaders conducted an objective review of Mississippi's economic opportunities and recommended actions for putting Mississippi in the place of greatest opportunity, identified nine goals to enable a more prosperous, vibrant, and resilient Mississippi, built upon a foundation of economic opportunity for all its citizens.

The nine Blueprint Mississippi goals include:
  1. Increase the Educational Achievement of Mississippians
  2. Cultivate a More Robust Workforce in Mississippi
  3. Strengthen and Expand Mississippi's Economy
  4. Promote Health Care as an Economic Driver
  5. Support Mississippi's Creative Economy
  6. Continually Develop the Infrastructure for a Competitive Economy
  7. Increase Availability of Financial Capital
  8. Cultivate Diversity, Community Cooperation and Racial Reconciliation
  9. Improve Communication and Coordination Among Public, Private and Non-profit Leaders

The goals of the Blueprint Mississippi Social Business Challenge are to encourage students to develop ideas for solving Mississippi's most pressing problems, while learning important lessons about planning, teamwork and presenting ideas.

Teams will compete first in an on-campus challenge held in the fall. Each team will develop a business plan, outline their concept in a tabletop display and present their ideas to the judges in a brief oral presentation that may include a video. Five business leaders will serve as judges for the event. The business leaders serving on the judging panel will vary from campus to campus.

Each team will have at least three and no more than six members, who may be either undergraduate or graduate students or a blend of both, along with a faculty advisor. The teams may also enlist the assistance of professionals or alumni that have expertise in the topic the team plans to address or in building a business plan.

The winning teams from each of the on-campus Challenges will advance to a state competition, which will be held on March 12, 2015 in Jackson in conjunction with Universities Day at the Capitol. The table displays will be available for viewing in the Rotunda of the State Capitol from 8:00 a.m. until 12:00 noon. Five business leaders will serve as the judges for the event.

The elements of the written plan include an executive summary, a description of the social problem addressed, a summary of the Blueprint Mississippi goal the business will help reach, a description of the business solution, a market analysis, a financial analysis and the social impact the business will have. The table display and presentation will offer additional information on the plan, how it will be executed and the social results it will have.

The Blueprint Social Business Challenge encourages students to work in teams representing a cross-section of the campus and the programs offered at the universities. Through this experience, students will learn how to set and achieve goals, how to work as a team to achieve a common goal and how to use their skills and talents to help others. These skills will translate well as students graduate and enter the professional world as the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs.

The term Social Business was defined by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Prof. Muhammad Yunus and is described in his books Creating a World Without Poverty-Social Business and the Future of Capitalism and Building Social Business-The New Kind of Capitalism that Serves Humanity's Most Pressing Needs.

More information is available on Mississippi Public Universities' website at and will be posted on Twitter @MSPublicUniv.

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The Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning governs the public universities in Mississippi, including Alcorn State University; Delta State University; Jackson State University; Mississippi State University including the Mississippi State University Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine; Mississippi University for Women; Mississippi Valley State University; the University of Mississippi including the University of Mississippi Medical Center; and the University of Southern Mississippi.

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