Dr. Thomas O. Mensah is spearheading an effort with leading entrepreneurs to make Mississippi (MS); the Magnolia State, the silicon valley of the South.
Dr. Mensah, a Fellow of the American National Academy of Inventors and President of Georgia Aerospace, (an Atlanta based company) says “even though my Atlanta base is home to major Fortune 500 business headquarters, I am personally now branching out into the MS Delta which presents a promising opportunity for the creation of the next silicon valley of the South in the USA.”
Earlier in May 2016 at the ‘Silicon Valley of the South Conference’ in Tunica, MS where Dr. Mensah was a keynote speaker, he envisioned the creation of innovation centers in MS to focus on the development of drone manufacturing and business accelerators. As the architect of the Silicon Valley of the South Dr. Mensah’s stressed that these centers should include cybersecurity sensors, advanced batteries, precision agriculture, big data, aerospace systems, virtual reality, and nanotechnology products among other next generation technological developments.
These innovation centers according to Dr. Mensah would work hand in hand with MS based industries and leading universities as they collaborate to enhance the competitiveness of the USA in the world of global technology and commerce.
Why Mississippi makes a great Silicon Valley of the South
In his response to why he thinks MS stands a great chance at becoming the USA’s a ‘Silicon Valley of the South, Dr. Mensah disclosed to TheAfricanDream.net that because it is home to ‘The John C. Stennis Space Center’ (a NASA space rocket testing facility) as well as home to former headquarters of Noththrop Grumman Ship Systems; builders of nuclear submarines and aircraft carriers for the US Department of Defense in Pascagoula Mississippi, it is awash with the brainpower to support a Silicon Valley of the South.
The inventor feels the Magnolia State is one of the few states in the USA with highly trained engineers and scientists that end up seeing these intellectuals leave MS to work in industries outside that state, creating a brain drain and loss of intellectual power.
“Creation of these innovation centers with business accelerators will however create industries and job opportunities for these graduates and I believe this will encourage them to stay and work in their home state. I am talking about students from Some of the best educational institutions in Mississippi like the University of Mississippi (Ole-Miss), Mississippi Sate University and Delta State University as well as other top historically black colleges and universities in the state” Dr. Mensah said.
He also continued to say he believes that the next generation cybersecurity sensors would be developed in his envisioned innovation center located in the state capital of Jackson, MS as detailed in his plan presented at the Silicon Valley conference.
Dr. Mensah feels that this silicon valley of the south could become a model to inspire emerging African countries like Ghana and neighboring Ivory Coast and others elsewhere that are also grappling with the issue of human capital flight by helping them to retain their best and brightest individuals to stay home and help improve their economies and accelerate technological advancement in other emerging countries.
Each of the innovation centers would have a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) component to inspire children who have interests in these fields creating the pipeline for the next generation scientists. Dr. Mensah believes it is important for young students to be given an opportunity at greatness through STEM, which was what happened in his case growing up to become a world leading fiber optics innovator and inventor.
Watch Dr. Mensah’s vision for Silicon Valley of the South courtesy of Facebook.
Source: Oral Ofori