Tupelo wins USDA rural development award

Daily Journal reports

TUPELO – The successful efforts of Tupelo business and political leaders in the creation of a new business incubator were recently recognized with an award at a conference held by USDA Rural Development and the Economic Development Resource Center at the University of Southern Mississippi in Oxford.

The city of Tupelo won the award in the category for Rural Business Projects. They were one of three nominated for recognition for their innovation in projects fully or partially funded through USDA Rural Development monies. The winning project was the new IDEA Center business incubator, which was funded in part by a grant of $200,000 from USDA Rural Development, along with another $2.4 million in leveraged funding from other sources.

The award was presented by USDA Undersecretary of Agriculture for Rural Development Thomas Dorr and USDA Rural Development State Director Nick Walters to a large delegation from Tupelo, including Mayor Ed Neelly and representatives from Tennessee Valley Authority, Appalachian Regional Commission, Community Development Foundation and several other entities.

“This business incubator is just the latest in a long, long history of progressive moves taken by Tupelo and her leaders – moves which have earned Tupelo a well-deserved reputation as one of Mississippi's most visionary communities,” Walters said. “Tupelo is a light that leads Mississippi and the South, and where Tupelo goes, others would do well to follow.”