Mississippi’s Geospatial Cluster Transitions from Public to Private Sector

September 02, 2010 -- (Jackson, MS)— The stakeholders of the Enterprise for Innovative Geospatial Solutions (EIGS) are pleased to announce the transition of the management and support of Mississippi’s geospatial technology industry cluster from The University of Mississippi to the private sector. The official signing of the agreement took place on August 5, 2010, in Jackson, Mississippi. The cluster will now operate through a self-managed, self-funded program administered by the newly-formed Magnolia Business Alliance (MBA).

The university and the member companies agreed that a solid foundation for this industry has been established and the private sector is now best suited with the tools to effect the changes needed to grow the cluster even more.

On hand for the signing ceremony were Gray Swoope of the Mississippi Development Authority, Dr. Alice Clark of the University of Mississippi, Craig Harvey of NVision Solutions, Scott Dow of Aerotec, and Tim Brogdon of Skylla Engineering.

“With tech markets in decline all around us, it is not a mistake that Mississippi’s geospatial companies have been successful,” said Craig Harvey, Chief Operating Officer of NVision Solutions. “The State of Mississippi saw the benefit in fostering companies in the geospatial industry sector. The fact that we are here, stable, confident and still growing is a testament to that stewardship and the foresight of the State of Mississippi, Ole Miss, and NASA.”

The State of Mississippi through the Mississippi Space Commerce Initiative (MSCI) and the Enterprise for Innovative Geospatial Solutions (EIGS) has spent the last decade nurturing and growing a high-tech business cluster in the geospatial technology industry. As a result, the state is now home to one of the nation’s largest and most well-organized geospatial technology clusters.

Throughout its history, MSCI and EIGS have contributed significantly to the state’s economic well-being by providing a growing number of high-paying jobs that generate tax revenue for the state. During the past year, 847 people were employed by EIGS member companies with an average salary of $57,885, roughly double the per capita income for the state. Revenues for the cluster topped $125 million.

Over the course of a decade, Mississippi took on the unprecedented challenge of creating and nurturing a geospatial industry cluster from the ground up. What started as a unique collaboration among the state of Mississippi, NASA, the private sector, and academia has matured into a thriving industry cluster of more than 20 award-winning geospatial companies. The MSCI and EIGS programs have built educational programs, research infrastructure, and a self-sustaining business cluster and the stakeholders recognize that it is time for the next step in the natural progression of a cluster, the transition to the private sector.

Mississippi’s geospatial companies, acting by and through the Magnolia Business Alliance (MBA), have established a 501C6, a Mississippi not-for-profit corporation. MBA will operate as a cluster and, along with their economic development partners at the Mississippi Development Authority, the Hancock County Development Authority, the Minority Business Enterprise Council, the Mississippi Enterprise for Technology, and the Mississippi Technology Alliance, will support the continued growth of the geospatial industry in Mississippi as well as provide assistance and support for new high tech and cluster support businesses in Mississippi. For more information, visit http://www.magnolia-ba.biz/ or contact Craig Harvey, 228-242-0015.

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