Cadence Bank Supports High-Tech Hub for Innovation, Jobs in Mississippi
The Mississippi Center for Innovation and Technology in downtown Vicksburg is a hub for high-tech ventures and innovation. MCITy brings new opportunities for technology and jobs, and Cadence Bank is proud to be a partner.
In a once-derelict structure in the heart of Vicksburg, Mississippi, high-tech has found a new home, potentially bringing with it employment opportunities and new innovations.
The Mississippi Center for Innovation and Technology (MCITy), a learning and working center for innovation, training, education and technology, will be housed in the former Mississippi Hardware Building. The 50,000 square-foot space connects small- to medium-sized companies and ventures with the Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and other technology centers. Cadence Bank helped close the financing gap for this project through a combination of debt and equity financing that was interwoven with resources obtained through the New Markets Tax Credit and Historic Tax Credit programs.
“The goal of MCITy is to equip the people of Mississippi, one of the most impoverished states in the nation, with the key technical and entrepreneurial skills they require to compete effectively in the high-tech marketplace,” says Dr. Jeff Holland, MCITy Director.
Cadence Bank saw a unique opportunity with MCITy
MCITy reached out to Cadence Bank when the project began, Holland says.
“Cadence Bank was well known to the developers of MCITy as an institution willing to challenge the boundaries of traditional lending. And it was known to be committed to the economic development of this part of the U.S.,” he says. “From the outset, MCITy’s developers viewed Cadence as a team member rather than a financier.”
Cadence Bank stepped in to help finance the project, investing $7 million in total.
“As a company, we make investments and community development loans and provide other financial services to people in communities that are less fortunate,” says Will Shurtleff, director of Tax Credit Investments at Cadence Bank. “Those funds go into communities where we have a presence.”
MCITy brings together high-tech opportunities
Holland says MCITy pulls together academic, business and government organizations under one roof to promote communication, cooperation and collaboration. Partners in this high-tech venture include:
- ERDCWERX, the technology transfer partner for the ERDC
- Vicksburg-Warren Partnership, the primary local economic development driver
- Mississippi State University’s Entrepreneurship Center
- Hinds Community College, a leading workforce trainer
- Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning, which has technology connectivity to the state’s four research universities.
MCITy will facilitate the sharing of technology with local programs and businesses. This in turn will create new products and services that benefit society.
Holland says the process involves:
- Training the next generation of workers required to support high-tech industries of the future
- Providing prospective entrepreneurs with the means to compete in the high-tech sector
- Connecting university, government and private developers to extend the state’s technological base
- Facilitating access for non-traditional entities to partner with and use the resources of ERDC
MCITy will provide jobs in addition to technology
All this activity will create jobs at MCITy, Shurtleff says. Initially employing around 30, MCITy anticipates 250 jobs will be created over a five-year period.
“Not just jobs centered inside the building itself, but outside as well,” he says. “That’s one of the reasons Cadence Bank was drawn to this project. It’s not only the job creation, but the catalytic nature of training for future employment.”
Some of the beneficiaries of this process will include historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in the area.
Holland says MCITy has partnerships with schools throughout the state, which will give students a chance for job placement and hands-on experience while getting their degrees.
“The HBCUs in Mississippi have quality science, technology, engineering and math capabilities,” Holland says, “so for the HBCUs to have satellite campuses within the complex is a great opportunity for everyone. It will increase exposure and impact for this innovative and unique project across the state.”
Cadence Bank demonstrates its commitment to Mississippi
Partnering with ventures such as MCITy demonstrates the bank’s commitment to its values, in particular valuing relationships and doing right by others.
“The tax credit project itself is not about the bank making an investment and a loan into the project and then walking away,” Shurtleff says. “It is a commitment for an extended period of time. We have a relationship with that customer and developer for a seven-year period.”
“We feel we’ve done right by others by working well with the sponsor to mitigate any issues as best we can. We want this project to succeed. We want these types of projects because of the outcomes they generate, especially for low-income individuals and low-income communities. We want them to succeed, and we want to put them in the best position to do that.”
Holland agrees that Cadence’s expertise has been invaluable.
“The flexibility Cadence has exhibited throughout this project has greatly enhanced the project’s success,” he says.
“Not only do we want the project to succeed,” says Shurtleff, “we want the people going through those doors to benefit, especially the students who are going to take what they learn there and go off into the real world.”
Cadence Bank supports MCITy and the benefits of the technology and jobs it provides to Vicksburg, Mississippi. To learn more about how we’re helping people, companies and communities prosper, visit our Stories page.
This article is provided as a free service to you and is for general informational purposes only. Cadence Bank makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or timeliness of the content in the article. The article is not intended to provide legal, accounting or tax advice and should not be relied upon for such purposes.