Delta Challenge for startups comes to Little Rock

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A startup pitch competition planned at AR Venture Center Nov. 5, will be one of a series of six regional competitions created to claim more of the venture capital pool of investors for entrepreneurs in the Delta Region.

Dubbed “The Delta Challenge,” the competitions will be conducted by the Delta Entrepreneurship Network, which is part of the Delta Regional Authority. DEN is seeking a group of 36 new entrepreneurs and organizations to drive the startup ecosystem in the Delta Region.

“Research indicates that 75 percent of all venture capital is being invested in just three states, California, New York, and Massachusetts,” said Tim Williamson, cofounder and CEO of The Idea Village, based in New Orleans. “By partnering with the DRA, we are leveraging our collective efforts to showcase the South as a hub for innovation, entrepreneurship and new thinking.”

Through its Small Business and Entrepreneurship Initiative, the DRA has invested $9.4 million in small businesses and entrepreneurship in the Delta — creating and retaining 1,340 jobs, training more than 1,400 entrepreneurs and leveraging $17 million in other public and private investment.

The regional pitch competitions will identify two types of entrepreneurs: those who are in their “idea” or pre-revenue phase who have highly scalable, investable ventures throughout the region, and those in the “post revenue” phase.

“As we enter the second year of the Delta Entrepreneurship Network, the DRA is excited to identify 36 new entrepreneurs and support organizations that will join the vibrant entrepreneurial network and ecosystem built by the drive, talent and innovation we have in the Delta region,” said Chris Masingill, co-chairman of the DRA.

The event will launch Sept. 18 at the offices of Start Co. in Memphis. In addition, pitch contests will be held in Cleveland, Mississippi, Sept. 22 at Delta State University; Selma, Alabama, Oct. 8 at Arsenal Place Accelerator; Little Rock, Arkansas, Nov. 5 at the AR Venture Center; and Lafayette, Louisiana, Nov. 14 at Innov8 Acadiana.

Over the course of six competitions, the DRA and the DEN will identify up to 20 entrepreneurs and 16 entrepreneurship support organizations to receive a fellowship for technical assistance and training. The fellows will also participate in a special segment of New Orleans Entrepreneur Week, an entrepreneurship festival that includes workshops and mentorship from panelists and other industry experts. The event is scheduled for March 11-18, 2016.

Entrepreneurs interested in competing can register for each competition here.

Source: Delta Regional Authority


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Jeannie Oliver

Jeannie Oliver is a writer and PR practitioner with a long string of awards behind her name. With a degree in journalism from the University of Oklahoma, Jeannie has worked as a high school journalism teacher, an editor for the Appaloosa Journal, and a media spokesperson for...