Starting a Business

Here is a list of useful links that may help when considering starting a business.


The Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship runs a mentoring program to connect students with great ideas to mentors who can help you think through them.  Email the CIE and let us help. We also offer mentoring from an experience entrepreneurship coach on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in the Center office at 10 Conner Hall.  Appointments are requested.  Contact Owens Alexander at oalexander

Legal Services

If you need initial legal assistance in determining your business structure, forming an LLC, writing a contract or partnership agreements; the Transaction Law Clinic at the Law School can help. 


The Center for Manufacturing Excellence can put you in touch with their students, who can help you try out a production build and possibly help you develop cost estimates.  They have a fully functioning factory with multiple 3D printers, computer controlled cutting tools and an immense resource of staff and experience. You’ll need to supply your own materials and maybe cover overtime but if the machines are available, you may be able to use them.

Market Analysis and Start-up Assistance

If you know what business you want to be in and it is a regional business (restaurant, hotel, retail shop, etc.) that requires good information about local marketing needs and customer profiles, the Small Business Development Center has an amazing amount of data on customers and competitors that it provides free to entrepreneurs. The SBDC provides consulting, coaching & training for entrepreneurs to develop their business plans and to give insight on applying for financial programs for a startup business.  The state headquarters for the Mississippi SBDC is located on the Ole Miss campus.

The Mississippi Development Authority has some excellent resources and a convenient toolkit to answer all your questions about permitting, licensing, registration, etc.

Business Formation and Service

The Office of the Secretary of State of the State of Mississippi provides a variety of necessary and useful eservices to start-ups, early stage and mature companies.

Intellectual Property

Ideas are big part of entrepreneurship.  As a student participating in a university program, the university does not claim ownership over your ideas unless you are using substantial university resources.  If you want help thinking about patents or developing your ideas, you need to do two things. First, investigate the idea a little bit on your own.  This will help you ask the right questions.  Use this list. Then, contact the Technology Transfer Office. They will be happy to speak with you, no charge. Remember, it is more important to get a product developed than it is to get a patent written, so build first.  Work the legal stuff out when you have something.

If you are a faculty or staff member of the university and would like additional information about UM policies and procedures, please contact the Department of Technology Management.

Office Space

On the Ole Miss campus, Innovation Hub at Insight Park can provide office space, meeting space, communications, internet access, and executive coaching for very reasonable rents and favorable lease terms.  See William Nicholas at < for more details.

Local Community Support

The Oxford Chamber of Commerce with various sponsoring organizations have created the North Mississippi Enterprise Initiative.  They also have office space and coaching available and are open to everyone, not just students.


A popular way to start a business, particularly if you’re not especially confident in all aspects of launching a business is to franchise. Entrepreneur magazine has an exhaustive list of opportunities.