Business Permitting Process

Hattiesburg has a rich history of providing pro-business support for economic development projects. Within the last few years, public and private sector leadership in Greater Hattiesburg have worked hand-in-hand to ensure expedited and seamless start-up operations for multiple economic development projects. In 2013, 100,000 sq. ft. of space in the former Cloverleaf Mall was renovated in under 90 days to allow a customer service center operation to open its doors with over 1,000 employees. Within the last year, a 400,000 sq. ft. industrial manufacturing facility was constructed that is now home to the 6th largest paper company in the world. This site preparation, design, and build process was completed in under 10 months. Greater Hattiesburg not only has a pro-business environment, it has demonstrated results of faster market access and bottom-line impact.
Permit Process Graphic- Pre-application, Site plan review and local approvals

1. A Pre-Application meeting with the City of Hattiesburg Planning staff is required prior to submitting a Site Plan Application. At the meeting, the applicant will describe and present their project in the conceptual design stage in order to ensure adherence to applicable land use and building codes.

2. The Site Plan Review is the process whereby the planning department shall review all necessary documentation to ensure the project meets applicable zoning requirements and is safe for employee access, while maintaining the proper appearance and landscaping per city requirements.

3. Upon site plan approval, a building permit is issued for construction to commence. At the conclusion of the construction process, a final inspection is performed and a certificate of occupancy is issued.


Program Overview

Individuals looking to start a new business or expand an existing business in Greater Hattiesburg have a unique option available to help provide financing through the Southeast Mississippi Community Investment Corporation (SEMCIC). SEMCIC is a non-profit Mississippi Corporation dedicated to job creation, business creation and expansion and support of small business loan seekers. SEMCIC has approved a variety of small business loans throughout Greater Hattiesburg. SEMCIC has provided loans to businesses from restaurants and retailers to manufacturers and healthcare providers. This gap financing tool, in part, is a partnership with member banks to provide small business financing to new business start-ups or existing business expansions in the Pine Belt region.

For SEMCIC Inquiries please complete the form below or contact our  Community Development Manager, Colby Bennett.

For assistance in completing your business plan or starting a small business, please contact the USM Small Business Development center at 601-266-5892.

Success Stories

the-thirsty-hippo“Without SEMCIC, it would have been impossible for our small independently owned business, The Thirsty Hippo, to grow. Not only were they able to assist in financing, but were an invaluable resource of information and knowledge.”

– Brad and Sarah Newton; The Thirsty Hippo


Interested in Learning More about SEMCIC?
Request More Information

Partnership in Innovation

The Accelerator

Program Overview
The Mission of USM’s Accelerator is to drive economic development through technology innovation and commercialization. The state-of-the-art facility serves businesses as an innovation center for accelerated technology development, scale-up, market validation, manufacturing and commercialization– all under the same roof. The Accelerator fosters entrepreneurship and job creation through the acceleration of new business formation, growth and viability.

60,000 Total Square feet

4 miles from the USM Campus

10 Laboratories

12 Private offices

30 Work Cubicles

15,000 Square Feet Total shared resources


Mississippi Polymer Institute

Program Overview
Serving as the industrial outreach arm of the School of Polymers and High Performance Materials The University of Southern Mississippi, the Mississippi Polymer Institute (MPI) has played a key role in growing the state’s multi billion-dollar-per-year, high-tech polymer industry, and has directly assisted in the creation of thousands of jobs. While the primary focus is supporting growth of high-tech businesses within Mississippi, MPI performs contracted work for companies worldwide.