Y’all Business site seeks to aid small business development

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Zachary Oren Smith, Mississippi Today

Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann 

Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann announced Wednesday the relaunch of his Y’all Business site, saying “Mississippi’s future is in small to medium-sized businesses.”

The site, coupled with a new mobile app, allows anyone to view information and rankings for Mississippi business climate and various measures of quality of life in the state.

A 2016 report from the nonprofit Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found that the majority of jobs are created by businesses that start-up or are already present in a particular state.

“This is not the Toyota or Nissan we’re starting,” Hosemann said. “This is the mom and pop business starting. If you look it up, everyone is going to tell you that that is the future.”

While there has been a net increase of five corporations formed in Mississippi in the first quarter between 2015 and 2017, the number of limited liability companies increased by 867, Hosemann said. With so much growth in this classification, he said, work had to be put into developing an environment where those companies are more likely to succeed.

In order to build strong economies, the nonprofit’s report encouraged states to “focus on producing more home-grown entrepreneurs and on helping startups and young, fast-growing firms already located in the state to survive and to grow — not on cutting taxes and trying to lure businesses from other states.”

During recessions, it is these young, fast-growth companies that are responsible for most new jobs, the report said.

“State economic development policies that ignore these fundamental realities about job creation are bound to fail,” the report said.

“Mississippi’s future is in small to medium-sized businesses,” Hosemann said. “Y’all Business was designed to provide the information this target demographic needs — at no cost to the user — to choose to invest in Mississippi.”

The Y’all Business site is a depository aimed at increasing perspective entrepreneurs’ access to consumer information.

The site aggregates and shows a plethora of information on individual counties, municipalities, and regions, such as median household income to the number of persons 65 years of age and older.

The hope, Hosemann said, is to get entrepreneurs as much information as they can so that they can develop their businesses in communities where they can succeed.

“You make a better business decision with the right information,” Hosemann said. “We need to get them the right information because when they prosper, the State of Mississippi prospers.”

A look at the Secretary of State’s new consumer information portal.

 

While similar consumer information tools might cost thousands of dollars for companies to develop, the Secretary of State’s office is offering it for free in hopes that it will encourage continued growth of the state’s entrepreneur class.

In planning the relaunch the Secretary of State’s office surveyed more than 78,000 Mississippi businesses about the greatest barriers to developing or expanding their businesses.

Of these businesses, 25 percent said an educated workforce was a first priority. Y’all Business shows where community colleges and universities are located, giving both potential employers and those interested in securing jobs a view of where training and education opportunities are offered.

Just under 20 percent said the availability of financial resources is their first priority. The website offers a list of contacts for each county that range from the economic development authority to who to call for workforce development and training.