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MSU students win start-up business competition

June 4th, 2013 No comments

Mississippi State students have again won the Mississippi New Venture Challenge Competition.

John L. Gazzini, of Birmingham, and Olive Branch’s Read T. Sprabery took first place, with Nimbus Mobile, an app design business. Nimbus is close to launching FeatherServe, which allows pool service companies to more easily and efficiently manage their operations.

Gazzine and Sprabery both graduated from MSU in May with computer engineering degrees.

Second-place went to Sensei Mobile, LLC, founded by Matthew M. Hoelter of Collierville, Tenn., another MSU spring computer engineering graduate. He is launching a service called Chat Katana that provides an anonymous one-on-one messaging service through a native phone application.

The annual competition is sponsored by Innovate Mississippi, a Ridgeland-based nonprofit organization that promotes statewide innovation and technology-based economic development.

“It’s gratifying to see our students continue a tradition of excellence,” said Abby Thompson, entrepreneurship program coordinator in MSU’s Office of Entrepreneurship and Technology Transfer, in a school press release.

For the past three years, Mississippi State students have won eight out of nine places in the competition Overall, MSU had 11 teams compete in this year’s New Venture Challenge.

“We have taken purposeful steps to make innovation and entrepreneurship priorities. We have been building that ecosystem steadily with students, faculty and staff,” said Gerald Nelson, director, OETT.

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Nissan sets May sales record, Toyota’s jump slightly

June 3rd, 2013 No comments

Nissan North America set a sales record in May, with 114,457 deliveries.

That’s a 24.7 percent increase over May 2012. The global Nissan division also set a record, with 106,558 deliveries, up 31.2 percent over last year.

In North America, sales of the Altima, Pathfinder, Sentra and Rogue led the charge. The Altima and Sentra are made in Nissan’s Canton facility, which marked 10 years of production last month.

Altima sales totaled 31,940 for the month, a 40.8 percent jump from May 2012. Sentra sales (12,504 units) were up 64.5 percent.

“We are in the midst of launching five all-new, top-selling Nissan models in 15 months, and the effort is paying off,” Jose Munoz, senior vice president for sales and marketing at Nissan Americas, said in a company press release. “Altima, Pathfinder and Sentra, the first three of these launches, are up a combined 64.6 percent in May, which shows that our new products are hitting the sweet spot of delivering the innovation, style and value that buyers want.”

The Canton facility, using $100 million in bonds issued by the Madison County Economic Development Authority, is expanding its supplier park. Leases of the new buildings would pay the debt service. Lawmakers approved the bond package last legislative session.

Also on Monday, Toyota announced that its May sales were up 2.5 percent, with deliveries totaling 207,952.

“New vehicle sales are heating up along with the weather, and solid May results coupled with an excellent Memorial Day weekend provide great momentum as we move into the summer selling season,” said Bill Fay, group vice president and general manager of Toyota Division.

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