While speaking today to nearly 2,000 business leaders from around the state at the Mississippi Economic Council’s annual Hobnob event, Gov. Phil Bryant proclaimed November 2013 as Innovation Month in Mississippi.

“Mississippi’s economy grew by 2.4 percent in 2012, marking the first time the state’s economy surpassed $100 billion,” Gov. Bryant said. “This growth would not be possible without the innovative ideas and approaches that shape a business climate that is conducive to job growth and expansion. Economic development is a dynamic team sport, which means we must collaborate and be adaptable to market changes and industry trends.”

The proclamation highlights Mississippi’s innovations in health care, energy, agriculture, manufacturing, research and the creative economy, all of which contribute to Mississippi’s economic growth.

Area Development magazine has rated Mississippi as number nine among its 2013 list of best states for business, saying, “Mississippi is on an economic roll.” Mississippi tied for second in categories evaluating competitive utility costs and permitting speed and was among the top five states for overall cost of doing business and competitive labor costs. Area Development also awarded Mississippi a second consecutive Silver Shovel Award for strong economic development performance.

The American Legislative Exchange Council placed Mississippi among the top 10 states for overall economic outlook for 2013, and the Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity named Mississippi fifth in the nation for business startup activity in 2012. Bankrate.com named Mississippi the number five state for retirement, citing the state’s low taxes and lower-than-average cost of living.

“Through landmark legislation in 2012 and 2013, we’ve undergone business, health care, tax and energy reform that will give companies choosing Mississippi a strong competitive advantage in the marketplace,” Gov. Bryant said.

“Collaborating with our universities and community colleges to deliver robust training programs for our workforce is key to our competitiveness and future growth. Our state’s colleges and universities are providing cutting-edge technology and research and development opportunities so Mississippi-based companies have access to the latest advances to compete in a global economy,” Gov. Bryant said.

Mississippi’s cultural assets also offer tremendous potential for future growth.

“Our rich cultural heritage and creative economy, including tourism and film production are opening many new doors and providing new opportunities throughout Mississippi,” Gov. Bryant said.

The proclamation highlights Innovation Month events around the state, including:

• Chevron Refinery’s 50th Anniversary celebration in Pascagoula, November 4;

• Startup Weekend Natchez at the Alcorn State University Natchez campus, Nov. 8-10;

• Mississippi Broadband Connect Coalition’s 3rd Annual Summit in Jackson, Nov. 12;

• Innovate Mississippi’s Annual Company & Investor Spotlight event in Jackson, Nov. 12;

• Innovate Mississippi’s 14th Annual Conference on Technology Innovation with the theme, “Invent Your Future,” in Jackson, Nov. 12-13;

• Pathways to Prosperity Conference for eighth graders to explore career options in Biloxi, Nov. 13-14;

• 36th Annual Southeast U.S.-Japan Association (SEUS-Japan) Meeting with the theme “Success through Harmony, Tradition and Innovation” in Biloxi, Nov. 17-19.