About Us

The Southern Entrepreneurship Program (SEP) is a statewide youth entrepreneurship initiative coordinated by the Center for Economic and Entrepreneurship Education (CEEE) as a service of The University of Southern Mississippi - College of Business. The SEP consists of an annual series of regional and statewide student opportunities designed to complement and enhance existing classes, curricula, and clubs with the goal of furthering the advancement of high school innovation and student entrepreneurship in the state of Mississippi.


The mission of the Southern Entrepreneurship Program (SEP) is to provide business development and opportunity recognition skills to students and educators in Mississippi high schools through an annual series of experiential, interdisciplinary trainings and competitive opportunities.


  • Local Opportunity Recognition
  • Personal Asset Mapping
  • Market Research & Validation
  • Soft Skills (e.g., networking, business etiquette)
  • Business Financing (e.g., bootstrapping)
  • Furthering Education
  • Business Ethics
  • Business Plans & Development


  • Symposium I - "Getting Connected": A statewide introduction to the fundamental concepts of entrepreneurship, engaging students through interactive discussion panels and competitive tasks
  • Symposium II - "I Am My Own Boss": A regional event, developed to introduce students to the basics of business etiquette, networking, and market research
  • Symposium III - "My Future, Today": A regional business plan “qualifier” competition
  • Statewide Business Plan Competition: An invitation-only competition for the top 25 student businesses from the regional qualifiers
  • Making Money Now! Competition: A supplementary competition for SEP participants, requiring student action and ingenuity


Founded in 2007 as the Southern Mississippi Youth Entrepreneurship Program (SMYEP), the SEP was developed as a critical response to the lack of existing entrepreneurship training within Mississippi’s K-12 educational system. The University of Southern Mississippi, Jones County Junior College, the Area Development Partnership, Harrison County Economic Development Authority, the Economic Development Authority of Jones County, and a pilot group of four Mississippi public high schools participated in the initial development of the program in Forrest, Harrison, and Jones Counties. The SEP has since grown to engage more than 40 high schools across the state and to annually train more than 500 high school students and educators in the application of critical business development, personal finance, and economic principles.


  1. Contact us, and we'll keep you updated on any upcoming SEP events.
  2. Establish support from your school administration to attend a regional SEP event in your area. Need us to visit with your administrators first? Just let us know!
  3. Join us! Participation in SEP events is free (except for those pesky travel costs) and is always a great investment in your students' futures!

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