Take a deeper look into the story of Mississippi’s creative economy. Whether through the lens of a creative enterprise or community organization, each contribution to the creative economy has impact on job creation, civic pride and cultural identity.
The Strategic Investment Pilot Program (SIPP) supported projects that focused on the growth and expansion of existing programs and/or products in the creative sector. SIPP was designed by the Bureau of Creative Economy and Culture to serve as an economic development stimulus for Mississippi’s creative sector. This highly competitive grant opportunity was offered to nearly twenty organizations, communities, individuals and entrepreneurs around the state. The SIPP grant helped generate important data pertaining to Mississippi’s Creative Economy. Here are a few case studies:
With this SIPP grant, Hugh of Sweet Magnolia was able to equip a van with a freezer. This allowed for his product to have a greater reach and market growth. Sweet Magnolia picked up approximately 17 new customers since the airing of Delta Flavor, a documentary produced by fellow SIPP grant recipient Blue Magnolia Films, increased their brand into 6 new towns throughout MS. Additionally, Hugh’s sales are up approximately 20%. He was able to add 3 new employees who are young people that he mentors. Hugh says he “demonstrates to all of our employees a no-nonsense work ethic and this spreads to the other employees. Everyone is treated fairly, with respect and we have a fun and safe atmosphere. The young people love working at Sweet Magnolia! I have definitely seen an increased level of maturity and leadership with all of our young employees.”
Blue Delta Jeans saw creative sector expansion opportunities by the capacity increase and time savings that the business will benefit from. When testing the new software process, that was purchased with SIPP grant money, Blue Delta Jeans saw their measurement to cut time alone decreased by over 54% on the first trial. This savings alone will allow the business to service more customers in less time. The software purchase allows Blue Delta to diversify their product line-up and venture into other cut and sew projects that they have had to turn down in the past. Many opportunities are available for American cut and sew operators but Blue Delta has never pursued these ventures due to their limited capacity. This software will open whole new market categories for the business.
As a result of ArtPlace’s educational program, two students from the Art + Design class received part-time work. The director of a non-profit organization in Grenada is publishing a children’s book and hired our students to illustrate the book. It is an excellent opportunity for our students to gain real business experience and learn how to work as a team. Three local artists were hired to teach classes throughout the year, and a total of 52 students learned entry level job skills in carpentry, sewing and art + design and the arts were made more accessible to a traditionally underserved community. With assistance from SIPP and volunteers ArtPlace expanded their sewing classroom and updated our electrical and lighting for the carpentry and art classes. They will now be able to offer additional classes which means more artists will be hired.