News Release

Mississippi Receives Grant to Help Unemployed Become Self-Employed

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September 24, 2013

JACKSON, Miss. — Mississippi was awarded a $365,271 grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, the Mississippi Department of Employment Security announced today.  The funding, available through the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, allows Mississippi to develop a Self-Employment Assistance program for eligible individuals who are unemployed and want to start a business.

Self-Employment Assistance programs are designed to give regular, eligible Unemployment Insurance benefits recipients the chance to use their time to create and build a business.  Participants will receive their regular weekly unemployment insurance benefits and not be required to spend their time looking for regular work.  However, they are expected to spend the time building their business while they remain able to work.  Any monies earned from their new business must be reported but it will not be deducted from their weekly unemployment insurance benefits. 

The state expects to fund between 50 to 100 new business ventures.  Funding limits the number of program participants to no more than five percent of the individuals receiving unemployment insurance benefits at any one time in the state.  Participants must complete an application process and, if chosen for the program, MDES staff will monitor their progress.  Specific eligibility criteria and training programs are being finalized for the launch in early 2014. 

“This program is another opportunity for Mississippians to invest in themselves by becoming entrepreneurs and provide a better future for their families,” said Mark Henry, MDES Executive Director.

Information about current MDES programs and services is available 24 hours a day on the agency website at





For more information or to apply, go here.