Hattiesburg, MS


John Griffith, Regions Community Banking executive and chairman of the board of SEMCIC, with Nicole and Van Jones, and Ryan Hinton, Regions relationship manager.
Nicole and Van Jones
Nicole and Van Jones encourage their students' artistic efforts at After School Academics and Arts.

Regions Bank and the Southeast Mississippi Community Investment Corporation (SEMCIC) partner in Hattiesburg to help non-traditional business loan seekers.

Many businesses start like this: Someone sees a need that is not being filled and then finds a way to fill it. Nicole and Van Jones' After School Academics and Arts center started in just that way. "I got a call from a friend who said she couldn't find a quality after-school program and she asked if I could watch her daughter once a week after school. One child quickly became three children as other parents asked if I could help them out," Nicole says.

Along with her husband, Van, who was a coach with a children's administration background, Nicole could see the opportunity for something better was right in front of them. The Joneses wanted to create a place where children could receive quality care, help with homework and instruction in the arts. They contacted the Southeast Mississippi Community Investment Corporation (SEMCIC), a resource that helps non-traditional business loan seekers who are looking to expand an existing business or start a new one. SEMCIC is funded in part by Regions. With an initial loan from SEMCIC and subsequent help and guidance directly from regions, the After School Academics and Arts center opened its doors.

"Regions has given so much sound advice. They have been really encouraging and kept an open door. Without Regions our program wouldn't be possible," Nicole adds. "We now have 30 children enrolled in the program. It's great because by the time they are picked up by their parents the homework is done and they can spend more quality time as families."
Mississippi Statewide Small Business Conference Mississippi - Regions, along with other local banks and in partnership with Jackson State University Center for Business Development & Economic Research and the Mississippi Gulf Coast Alliance for Economic Inclusions, hosted a statewide small business conference in Jackson, Miss. Regions was one of the sponsors for the conference, which was attended by more than 200 small business owners from across Mississippi.