Delta Regional Authority
May 03, 2016  
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Delta News Round-up

In this Issue: HBCU Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Initiative | DRA to host Twitter Town Hall for NSBW
RegionSmart continues regional development conversation | EDA Regional Innovation Strategies program

DRA and partners launch HBCU Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Initiative to grow minority entrepreneurship

The DRA joined partners Mississippi Valley State University, an HBCU in Itta Bena, Mississippi, and the Allen Entrepreneurial Institute to launch DRA's HBCU Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Initiative. The Initiative will help HBCUs and their student populations expand their local entrepreneurial ecosystem by engaging HBCU leaders, community leaders, and student entrepreneurs in a series of activities that support the growth of minority-owned businesses on college campuses in the Delta region.

Campuses participating in the inaugural round of the Initiative will be selected through a competitive application that is open now through May 30, 2016 and available at Five selected schools, in addition to MVSU who is serving as program coordinator, will receive funding and support to host a two-day technical assistance and rapid acceleration workshop to teach aspiring and advanced student entrepreneurs about the skills and resources needed to launch and scale their businesses.

Learn more about the program and begin your application >

DRA to host Twitter Town Hall in celebration of National Small Business Week

National Small Business Week (May 2-6, 2016) is an opportunity to recognize and appreciate the major contributions that entrepreneurs and small business owners make to our local, regional, and national economies. It also affords us the chance to recognize the resources and organizations that support these small businesses in their endeavors. This year's theme is "Dream Big, Think Small," and that mantra is evident in no place more so than right here in the Delta.

On Wednesday, Chairmen Masingill and Marshall along with DRA staff will be in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, to highlight the work this community is doing to empower its local entrepreneurs and small business owners with a strong and supportive ecosystem. While there, DRA will host a Twitter Town Hall at 12:30-1:00 pm on Wednesday, discussing the barriers entrepreneurs are facing in the Delta. You can join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #DeltaSmallBiz. If you have questions about addressing the barriers you’re facing, we will have the talented team at Southeast Missouri State University's Institute for Regional Innovation and Entrepreneurship (IRIE) and Frank Scott, a bank executive with First Security Bank in Arkansas, with us to answer your questions on these barriers and resources for small businesses and entrepreneurs. 

Keep up with all this week's opportunities for Delta small businesses with @DeltaRegional

RegionSmart Summit convenes 300+ leaders to discuss regionalism to advance Mid-South

In partnership with the Urban Land Institute and the DRA, the Mid-South Mayors' Council hosted the first-ever RegionSmart Summit that brought more than 300 regional and local community leaders, engineers and planners, and government officials together to discuss collaborative, realistic solutions to address the Mid-South's most pressing social and economic challenges.

The one-day summit featured remarks from local faces such as Shelby County Mark Luttrell and Dr. Glen Fenter of the Greater Memphis Alliance for Competitive Workforce, who highlighted the necessary steps the region must take to better train and prepare its workforce. There were also national experts who emphasized the importance of economic diversification and entrepreneurship, which are cornerstones of DRA's and other regional entities' economic development efforts.

Read the article recapping event by summit media partner Memphis Daily News >

EDA opens cycle for 2016 Regional Innovation Strategies funding

The U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) has released the Federal Funding Opportunity and begun accepting applications for the 2016 round of Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) Program funding.  The application period is open for 60 days and will close at 11:59pm Eastern Time on June 24, 2016.

In this 2016 round, a total of $15 million in Federal funding is available to create and expand cluster-focused proof-of-concept and commercialization programs and early-stage seed capital funds through the i6 Challenge and the Seed Fund Support (SFS) Grant competition, respectively.  Under this FFO, $13 million is available for i6 Challenge grants and $2 million is available for SFS grants.

EDA will be hosting a post-launch webinar this Thursday, May 5, 2016, at 2:00pm ET.  During this webinar, EDA staff will present a detailed overview of the 2016 RIS FFO and will take questions from attendees.  If you are unable to attend, the webinar will be made available online at

Learn more about the RIS program and apply for funding >

Upcoming Events:

Register or Apply Today

May 4, 2016
National Small Business Week Twitter Town Hall: Barriers Facing Delta Entrepreneurs
May 9, 2016 - May 10, 2016
ECRC Training on Disaster Recovery- El Dorado, Arkansas
May 12, 2016 - May 13, 2016
ECRC Training on Disaster Recovery- Baton Rouge, Louisiana
May 17, 2016
Quarterly Board Meeting - FY16 Q3
May 23, 2016 - May 24, 2016
ECRC Training on Economic Development- Gilbertsville, Kentucky
June 6, 2016 - June 7, 2016
ECRC Training on Disaster Recovery- Gilberstville, Kentucky
June 9, 2016 - June 10, 2016
ECRC Training on Disaster Recovery- Red Bud, Illinois

Click Here To Submit An Event

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Delta Regional Authority

236 Sharkey Avenue - Suite 400
Clarksdale, MS 38614
(662) 624-8600 | DRA.GOV

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