10 Coast business leaders vow to work together. Here’s what that means for the economy

Days after the start of the state’s Legislative session, ten Mississippi Coast companies on Friday signed an agreement vowing to work together to strengthen the local economy – and fight for it in Jackson.

Together, the leaders said they will do three things: push elected officials to enact laws that help the Coast, share important data with each other and meet regularly to talk about economic development.

The Gulf Coast Business Council announced the agreement after a luncheon at the Knight Nonprofit Center in Gulfport, and each group signed the agreement at a press conference on Friday.

“The Mississippi Gulf Coast has a diverse economy made up of many sectors, including aerospace, shipbuilding, financial services, gaming, tourism and military,” Jamie Miller, president and CEO of the Business Council, said in a press release. “We will all have greater success by working together.”

Mississippi Coast business representatives and legislators at a press conference on Friday, Jan. 26, 2024.
Mississippi Coast business representatives and legislators at a press conference on Friday, Jan. 26, 2024.

The agreements, leaders said, mean the companies must create more competition, high-paying jobs, hire a skilled workforce and increase tourism.

Ten companies signed those agreements on Friday: Coastal Mississippi Tourism, the Southern Mississippi Planning and Development District, the Harrison County Development Commission, the Gulfport-Biloxi Regional Airport Authority, the Mississippi Enterprise for Technology, the Jackson County Economic Development Foundation, the Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission, the Jackson County Port Authority, the Mississippi State Port Authority and the Gulf Regional Planning Commission.

The groups will meet throughout the year to decide what to advocate for in congress, the Mississippi Legislature and to Gov. Tate Reeves.

They will also share company data with each other to find trends in the economy and workforce.

And they will talk regularly about meetings, events and programs that matter for economic development on the Coast.

Sun Herald editors Tim Thorsen and Blake Kaplan contributed to this report.