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During the pandemic, Mississippians left their day jobs to start their own businesses

Published: Oct. 27, 2021 at 6:50 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - According to the Greater Jackson Chamber Partnership, Mississippi led the nation in startup applications during the pandemic.

Side hustles turned into businesses, others filled needs that arose during lockdown. One local business opened this summer is now in 30 states, another is ready to launch in about two weeks.

“My grandmother looked at me one day and was like, ‘Now Kristen, when it’s my time to go don’t you let me be the only one out here without flowers,’” said Kristen Allen.

Those words prompted the 39-year-old from Brandon to start Bloombridge, a service that delivers flowers to gravesites. The app and website launched in July in seven states and now is in 30.

“Our logistics sends out the arrangement to our runners,” said Allen. “The arrangement comes to their home and they take it to the cemetery. Once they get to the cemetery they put the arrangement out and they take a photo, and they upload it through our app and it’s sent to you.”

“I left my real job and I took the entrepreneurial journey,” said Raj Ramarao of Madison.

The IT specialist is meeting another big demand with an alcohol delivery service. Moonshine.com launches in mid-November to take liquor from the store to your door. An app is in development.

“House Bill 1135 came into effect as of July first, and we took that opportunity, and we started building a platform,” said Ramarao. “So far we are working with one store in Madison County, but we’ll be looking to expand throughout the state.”

Both businesses got their start through Innovate Mississippi which has developed more than 1,500 companies.

“We’ve had a lot of companies that have had side hustles for a while that now they’re really jumping in with both feet and really interested in trying to grow those into real businesses,” said Innovate MS President/CEO Tony Jeff.

It’s Accelerate conference is November 9-10 at the Westin Jackson for entrepreneurs from across the state to learn about developing businesses and meet investors.

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