Henry Jones, co-founder of Kopis Mobile, is the recipient of the 2014 Farrington Distinguished Entrepreneurship Award. Named for University of Mississippi alumni leaders and donors Jan and Lawrence Farrington, the award is given annually to an alumnus who exemplifies the best of entrepreneurship.
Jones, a Richton, Miss., native who earned his mechanical engineering degree from UM in 1995, calls the recognition “a big surprise and an enormous honor.”
“I know who the past honorees are; they are entrepreneurs who are working hard to grow businesses in Mississippi,” Jones said. “To be included in that group is humbling, and it is also a vote of confidence from peers who face the same challenges that I do as an entrepreneur.”
The Farrington Distinguished Entrepreneurship Award was created to honor successful entrepreneurs who carry on the tradition of the Farringtons in creating impactful businesses.
“Jan and Lawrence Farrington have been involved in entrepreneurship in the state of Mississippi for many years and have been an integral part in funding a number of businesses,” said Ken Cyree, dean of the UM School of Business Administration. “They are keen business people who help other entrepreneurs bring their ideas to fruition, thereby providing valuable goods and services, as well as creating employment for Mississippi citizens. They give back their time as well to the university and are great ambassadors for the business school and the university.”
Jones – whose Flowood-based company creates apps and app-enabled equipment for use by law enforcement, private security personnel and the military – said the experience gained at Ole Miss set him on a path to success. Jones took advantage of opportunities to participate in student government and study abroad programs. The diverse exposure helped him earn a full scholarship to graduate school at Stanford University.
He also credits his time at Ole Miss with allowing him to build relationships with other entrepreneurs – relationships and friendships that continue to this day – as well as to learn from people as successful as the Farringtons.
“I truly appreciate what the Farringtons have done in creating this award,” Jones said. “What they do to support young entrepreneurs is meaningful to me and to others who also have a vision for a brighter future for Mississippi and are trying to create businesses as a way to make that happen.”
For the Farringtons, lending a helping hand is all part of their desire to give back.
“Lawrence and I want to do everything we can to encourage entrepreneurs in Mississippi,” said Jan Farrington of Jackson, Miss. “We have so many bright, talented entrepreneurs in our state who have had the vision and tenacity to start their own companies. These businesses can and will make a difference in the future of our state if we can keep them here in Mississippi. Encouragement from the government, universities, organizations such as Innovate Mississippi, investors and individuals can help make this happen. This award was just a small way that we thought we could contribute.
“Recognizing successful Mississippians highlights examples of what is happening to brighten the future of our state. We not only want to celebrate these successes, but we also want to help and encourage our students to pursue their own visions and dreams of becoming entrepreneurs.”