Jackson and Mississippi are synonymous with blues music and comeback sauce and authors such as Eudora Welty and Richard Wright. But sometime soon, Jackson could be known for its technology scene.
In this issue, we cover tech goings-on such as Sandbox Live and updates in the technology community, but we also want this issue to be your guide to navigating that world. Here is a roundup of what the tech scene in Jackson looks like.
Beau York began local podcasting business Podastery a few years ago. In it, he works with local businesses such as The Country Squire Tobacconist on podcasts. Under the Podastery umbrella, he also produces podcasts such as Let's Talk Jackson where he and other hosts such as Chellese Hall talk to Jacksonians and metro-area people about the community and their businesses. York and Brian Bowser also created the Satchel Player app, which allows people to search for podcasts in their local area. Jackson also has podcasts such as The Roguish Gent, which Melvin Robinson hosts, and Mississippi Made, which Casey Combest hosts. To see more about Jackson podcasts, go to jfp.ms/podcasts.
With the rise of technology, coding has become more important than ever. For those who code or even those who want to learn, Jackson has options.
Jackson Area Web and App Developers: As the name suggests, this meetup, which Nader Dabit started when he moved back to Jackson in 2013, is for area web and app developers to socialize and network and learn some skills in the process.
Kids Code Mississippi: With the world well into the Information Age, coding has become more important than ever. It can not only be a way to establish a career, but sites such as Kodable.com show that learning to code can also empower kids to express themselves in creative ways, it can teach problem-solving and logic, and it helps them learn how to think more creatively. Mississippi has been slow to catch up, but it's getting there with the help of organizations such as Kids Code Mississippi, an organization that advocates for teaching kids how to code.
Sandbox Prep: The school hasn't come to fruition yet, but with the help of proceeds from Sandbox Live, and some matching funds from donors, it could. Mantle. co-owner Christopher Lomax says the idea behind Sandbox Prep is to get graduating seniors from Jackson Public Schools who are not going to college to apply to the program. They'll get to learn coding, with the end result being either a product or even learning how to take their skills into the freelance programming world. For more information, see pages 15-16.
Code Mississippi: This group is trying to grow the state's coding ecosystem. It updates a central website, codems.net, with information on resources, events and job listings related to coding and computer science. The idea is to aggregate all of Mississippi's coding ecosystem into one place, which could help the state organize its coding assets.
In a state that is one of the unhealthiest in the nation, we could potentially use more of a focus on combining technology and health care. Luckily, some locals are doing just that.
Health Data Analytics: Gathering health data can be difficult, as Denise Krause, who is the associate director for research and technology for the Office of Mississippi Physician Workforce and an associate professor at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, knows. But her new company, Health Data Analytics, is trying to make it easier for physicians and other medical professionals (and possibly patients) to gather needed data and possibly improve health statuses and outcomes. It even has a tool that geographically maps health providers, health determinants and Mississippi's health outcomes. For more information, visit viz4health.com.
Center for Telehealth at UMMC: Telehealth has gained traction as a way to get health care to people remotely, and believe it or not, Mississippi is a leader in this field. Telehealth provides a way for patients who may not have easy access to health care to be able to get it. The center at UMMC can do things such as evaluate mental health, do remote electrocardiogram readings and do teleconsults with patients. The center can also do corporate wellness, meaning employees can virtually see a doctor if they get sick at work. For more information, visit umc.edu.
With education still not being fully funded in the state of Mississippi, our students need all the help they can get.
SchoolStatus: This Mississippi-based company aggregates education data and gives students, teachers and administrators a better platform to communicate with. For more information, see pages 16-25.
Technology Student Association: Mississippi TSA, which is a chapter of the national organization, is the only career and technical student organization in the state that is dedicated to students in middle and high schools who are enrolled in or have taken technology-education courses. The students who participate learn through competitive events, leadership opportunities and more. For information about Jackson schools that participate, email Shanta Villanueva at email@example.com.
Tech companies need platforms to build off of, and luckily, some local businesses can help.
JXNTech: This is a meetup group for those who want to start, grow, work for, invest in or provide resources to tech companies in the area. Organizer J.C. Haitt said at a recent 1 Million Cups Jackson that he hopes the group can have strategy hacks, where people come together and build a business plan, focusing on business model and scaleability, and also monthly webinars.
1 Million Cups Jackson: If you want to get involved in the local business and the startup community, this is a good place to go. 1 Million Cups Jackson, which is every Wednesday in Coalesce at 9 a.m., gives a platform for businesses to get the word out about their product or service and to also hear feedback from the community.
Innovate Mississippi: The organization strives to drive innovation and further economic development in the state's technology sector. The website, innovate.ms, lists tech jobs, and the organization also has a speaker's bureau with experts on topics such as innovation management, innovation-led economic development, and entrepreneurship in the energy sector.
This is not a complete list. Add more at jfp.ms/techroundup.