Rural Entrepreneurship Forum

The fourth annual Rural Entrepreneurship Forum will take place on April 5-6, 2018 in Oxford, MS. As part of the Catalyzing Entrepreneurship and Economic Development (CEED) Initiative at the McLean Institute for Public Service and Community Engagement, the annual forum seeks to bring individuals together to promote entrepreneurship and economic development in Mississippi. The forum is open to participants and free of charge thanks to a generous financial gift from the Robert M. Hearin Support Foundation to the McLean Institute. Others sponsors include the Oxford-Lafayette Economic Development Foundation, UM Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Insight Park, and other generous partners. 

April 5, 2018 (The Innovation Hub at Insight Park)

  • Teresa Hubbard, Mississippi Business Journal’s 2018 Business Woman of the Year, will hold a “meet and greet” from 1:30-2:30 pm.
  • The Mississippi Small Business Development Center will host a pre-forum workshop on small business setup at 2:30 pm. Email Judy Forester at to sign up. 
  • Vince Jordan, Lobaki, Inc., will showcase Virtual Reality from 2:30-4:00 pm.
  • The forum registration table will open at 3:00 pm. You will receive a nametag and program at this time.
  • At 4:00 pm, there will be an opening session with a panel discussion on entrepreneurship and economic development in Mississippi.  Jon Maynard, Oxford-Lafayette Economic Development Foundation, will moderate a panel with Josh West, Blue Delta Jeans; Haleigh Hurt, Rent-A-Reb; Allyson Best, UM Division of Technology Management; and Denotee Martin, Minority PUL Alliance. 
  • Lodging and restaurants may be found at Visit Oxford MS.  

April 6, 2018 (Oxford Conference Center)

  • The forum will start at 9:00 am and end at 4:00 pm.  Lunch will be provided. 
  • Speakers include:  Janet McCarty, Cotton’s Café; Phillip Ashley Rix, Phillip Ashley Chocolates; Karen Kurr, NoTime2Cook; Leonard Brown, Brown’s Farm and Shiitake Mushroom; Eli Gross, Trustmark National Bank; Alan Branson; Hope Credit Union; Tasha Bibb, Innovate Mississippi; Clifton Williams, Guaranty Bank & Trust Company;  Sheena Allen, Capway; Ryan Snow, CEED Innovation Fellow; Vince Jordan, Lobaki, Inc.; Bethany Cooper, Base Camp Coding Academy; Taeisha Gambrel, Sisters of Faith; Eli Harnett, Aerial Production Photography; Lee Ingram, Collegiate Tutoring; Albert Nylander, McLean Institute for Public Service and Community Engagement.  

For more information on the forum please contact Dr. J.R. Love, CEED Project Manager, at

Planning committee members: Dawn Boddie (CEED Innovation Scholar), Cobie Watkins (UM Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship), Allen Kurr (Oxford-Lafayette Economic Development Foundation), J.R. Love (CEED Project Manager), William Nicholas (UM Director of Economic Development), Brady Ruffin (CEED Innovation Scholar), and Tim Lampkin (Higher Purpose Co.).


  • Please submit your information to assist in the registration process.