Cooperative Energy Fosters Economic Development in Mississippi

Cooperative Energy, together with the 11 Member systems, invested $169,000 in strategic economic development efforts across the state in 2021.

The grant funds were awarded as part of the Cooperative Competes program which provides funding for proactive site and community development, with the goal of increasing competitiveness of the region to attract new jobs and investment.

“Electric cooperatives are unique because we’re owned by those we serve—our Members—and we strive to make a difference, not a profit,” said Christa Bishop, executive vice president, and chief communications officer. “Our team’s commitment is to improve the quality of life in the communities our Members serve, and the Cooperative Competes program is a prime example of this commitment.”

In 2021, the following grants were awarded in the following regions to enhance community and economic development efforts at the local level:

Leflore County – $25,000. Funds assisted the University of Mississippi Medical Center’s expansion of the North Mississippi Emergency Response Station to enhance urgent healthcare accessibility in the Mississippi Delta.

Harrison County – $5,000. The Harrison County Development Commission used funds for the SEA Force (Skills. Experience. Adventure.) career exploration program which involves partnerships with local high school juniors and seniors and businesses to match students with career pathways in the region.

Claiborne County – $5,000. Funds were awarded to support Claiborne County’s Summer Work STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) program for graduating and incoming high school seniors.

Hancock County – $9,000. The Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission used funds to conduct additional geotechnical surveys and environmental due diligence of available industrial property in the Port Bienville Industrial Park.

Greene County – $25,000. The Greene County Board of Supervisors used Cooperative Competes funds to match state and local site development grants to conduct environmental due diligence reports for exploration of the Greene County Rail Site.

Franklin County – $25,000. Funds were awarded to assist with environmental due diligence to support the planning and development of the Lake Okhissa Conference Center.

Pike County – $50,000. The Pike County Economic Development District used grant dollars to clear trees along the Interstate 55 right of way for better visibility and marketability of the Gateway Industrial Park.

Montgomery County – $25,000. The Economic Development Partnership of Montgomery County used funds to assist with public infrastructure costs related to the newly announced Biewer sawmill in Winona.

Aimed at increasing product and community competitiveness, the Cooperative Competes initiative was unveiled in early 2019. A component of the initiative allows economic development organizations to apply for grant funds to offset industrial property development costs or invest in other community and economic development efforts. These funds are provided jointly by Cooperative Energy’s 11 Member systems.

Since the program’s inception, 34 Cooperative Competes grants totaling nearly $1,000,000 have been awarded across 20 counties in the Members’ service territories.

For more information about Cooperative Competes or the economic development efforts of Cooperative Energy, visit