A record 2,700 business owners, political leaders, and future entrepreneurs attended the Mississippi Economic Council's Annual Meeting. From workshops about customer service to recognizing the academic achievements of Star Students and Teachers, Blake Wilson the president of MEC says it's about celebrating the state's successes.
"So this is an opportunity for us to celebrate our competitiveness and sharpen our sword to be more competitive." said Wilson.
Wilson invited two Mississippi natives whose competitive edge has made them successful-the CEO of UPS David Abney, from Greenwood and Ken Carter, from McComb, whose story of coaching a high school basketball team in California, became a movie called "Coach Carter." In a workshop, Coach Carter told the audience people like to do business with people they like, and to take work seriously.
"Learning that hard work is a skill. See everybody's always trying to create an app or all this other stuff looking for the easy way. Some times you just have to take the steps. There's no escalator and there's no elevator, you just have to take the steps." said Carter.
David Abney, the keynote speaker, praised Mississippi for leading the nation in oil and gas development, as well as the growth of businesses owned by women. He urged companies to begin exporting goods and services to emerging markets like Indonesia.
"Eighty percent of the world's purchasing power is outside of the United States. It is extremely important that U.S. businesses, Mississippi businesses, learn how to cater and how to serve that growing market." said Abney.
Abney says that Mississippi companies should also pursue online retail, another fast growing market.