This week is National Small Business Week, and I encourage you to celebrate and support those businesses in your community.
It is a chance for us to recognize and lift up small businesses as the back-bone of the nation’s economy. It is a priority for this agency and this region to maintain a strong and vigilant strategy to grow our small businesses and support entrepreneurs.
While it's no secret that as the economy of the region and the country continues to ebb and flow, we know that there is steady growth in a positive direction. We know, for instance, that the U.S. Small Business Administration and local financial institutions are working hard to deliver small business loans to Delta entrepreneurs – and we know that in every one of the eight states of the Delta Regional Authority, small businesses account for nearly 90 percent of all net job creation over the last twenty years.
The gap between the haves and have nots in this country is at its greatest divide. This is America – we should not have issues of prevailing poverty and unhealthy families; these issues can and should be addressed. We need to put down our political differences and work together to address these challenges and capitalize on opportunities to grow small businesses and support entrepreneurs in the Delta region and Rural America.
That is why today I am proud to announce a new effort to support and grow the Delta’s small business community. Over the next couple of months the Delta Regional Authority pledges to do just that: through access to technical assistance, access to capital and access to networking.
1. Access The Delta: Enhancing Small Business and Entrepreneurship 2012
Over the next 90 days – the Delta Regional Authority and I will be coming to all eight states to host a series of insight sessions for small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs to gain valuable tools and assistance for supporting and growing existing businesses or starting up new business in the region. Below is a schedule of dates and locations where we will be traveling. If you are interested in learning more about these dates, please contact Millicent Dixon at email@example.com
Location Dates Confirmed
AR Cabot (Lonoke County) June 19th
AL Thomasville (Clarke County) July 19th
LA Tallulah (Madison Parish) July 24th
KY Hopkinsville (Christian County) August 1st
IL Carbondale (Jackson County) August 3rd
MO Poplar Bluff (Butler County) August 14th
TN Martin (Weakley County) August 16th
MS TBD TBD
2. Operation Jumpstart 2012
The Delta Regional Authority and the Douglas C. Greene Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) are partnering on an initiative to create more small businesses and more jobs in the 252 counties and parishes in eight states that make up the federally designated Delta Regional Authority.
The objective of the multi-year project is to increase the capacity for communities to train, support, and mentor aspiring entrepreneurs, and to accelerate the number of new ventures created each year throughout the region. The cornerstone of the project is the nationally recognized Operation JumpStartSM entrepreneurship development program offered by the Douglas C. Greene Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Southeast Missouri State University.
For more information about the workshops associated with this initiative, please contact Dr. James Stapleton at firstname.lastname@example.org
Operation Jumpstart 2012 Schedule (as of May 18 – more dates TBD)
University of West Alabama – Division of Outreach Service
May 22 – Selma
May 22 – Thomasville
West Memphis, AR
Mid-South Community College Foundation, Inc..
Pine Bluff, AR
University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff – Economic Research and Development Center
Southeastern Illinois College – Workforce & IL Small Business Development Center
May 23 – Harrisburg
Mid-July – Hardin
Murray State University – Regional Business and Innovation Center
Early July – Madisonville
Grambling State University
Microbusiness Enterprise Corporation of Ascension
St. Mary Community Action Agency
Holmes Community College
August 07 – Winona
August 08 – Greenwood
Mississippi Action for Community Education, Inc
West Plains, MO
Ozarks Small Business Incubator
3. Regional Summit with Small Business Development Centers
On March 21st of this year, the Delta Regional Authority (DRA) and the Association of Small Business Development Centers (ASBDC) announced a new partnership aimed at establishing a framework for cooperation by and between the DRA and ASBDC.
I believe that the success of small businesses often relies on development centers and access to resources and training and feel that this is an important partnership that will benefit small businesses across the region. That is why I am proud to announce that on June 5, I will host the ASBDC State Directors in the region to discuss further opportunities for partnership and greater ways that we can work together to support our small businesses and entrepreneurs across the region
Last August, I made a commitment to write to you about things happening on the ground, policy issues facing the region, and communities and events that I get a chance to attend in the region. In many of my reports to you and those working closely with me on issues facing the region, there is a familiar tune. The citizens of the Delta Region and Rural America are facing rough times, fighting hard to sustain their families, yet emerging from the storm. Slowly, but surely. Small Businesses are saying, “we’re still here, we’re still open for business, and we’re glad you stopped by.”