Delta Regional Authority
December 21, 2018  
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Delta News Round-up

In this Issue: Chairman Caldwell Year-End Message | DRA Invests $1 Million to Extend Broadband in Missouri | Delta I-Fund meeting in Jonesboro, AR

Chairman Caldwell Year-End Message

As we close out 2018, the entire Delta Regional Authority staff is grateful for the many contributions from our key stakeholders. Support from our local, state and federal partners – including our congressional delegation and governors – allowed our agency to make great strides in improving our programs and investments.

Our goal is to continue enhancing collaboration with our public and private partners so we can increase productivity, raise wages, enable industries to become more globally competitive and help attract new industries that want a well-trained and skilled workforce.

Here are some of our key accomplishments in 2018:

  • Invested nearly $25 million in 88 projects.
  • Helped created and retain 5,200 jobs.
  • Improved infrastructure to support nearly 150,000 families.
  • Conducted three Innovative Readiness Training missions that treated 4,600 patients.
  • Provided 163 doctors to work improve healthcare.
  • Supported 10 rural hospital with technical assistance.
  • Surpassed 550 members for our Delta Leadership Network.

I am proud of the improvements we’ve made in the budget, where we have worked to streamline administrative operations. That’s allowed DRA to provide greater efficiencies at lower costs, which makes more money available to invest in the region.

Our staff has been hard at work in 2018 to deliver the services, initiatives and investments that make a meaningful difference in the lives of the 10 million folks who live in the Delta. We’re looking forward to being even better in 2019.

Thank you for your support, and we hope you and your families have a blessed holiday season,

 

Chris Caldwell



DRA Invests $1 Million to Extend Broadband in Missouri

The Delta Regional Authority is investing $1 million to help build a world-class broadband network in eight counties in the Missouri Bootheel. The underserved communities will receive an additional $15.5 million investment from two electric cooperatives that have pledged to deliver fiber-to-the-home broadband that will enhance economic development opportunities for rural communities, many of which do not currently have broadband service.

SEMO Electric Cooperative of Sikeston will build a fiber network to deliver broadband service to Bollinger, Cape Girardeau, Mississippi, New Madrid, Scott and Stoddard counties, reaching 3,374 residents and multiple employers in the service territory. DRA is contributing $250,000 to the effort, with another $8.5 million being invested by other partners. SEMO Electric has committed $40 million to the project.

Pemiscot-Dunklin Electric Cooperative in Bragg City will extend broadband to residents and businesses in Dunklin, Pemiscot and parts of New Madrid counties. The project is projected to reach 7,517 homes while also providing broadband to businesses and farms in the area. DRA is contributing $750,000 to the buildout and another $6.7 million is being contributed by other partners. The coop projects it will cost $30 million to complete the initiative.

Through this expansion, many Bootheel communities will receive broadband service for the first time and will gain new opportunities to expand business growth, increase economic competitiveness and help retain residents and jobs. DRA investments will benefit families, businesses, farms, businesses, hospitals, schools and libraries.



Delta I-Fund meeting in Jonesboro, AR

DRA Chairman Chris Caldwell joined Delta-region leaders at the A-State Delta Center for Economic Development in Jonesboro this month to discuss agriculture initiatives that can create more economic development opportunities across the region. The two-day conference, led by Winrock International’s Delta I-Fund and AgLaunch of Memphis, include cohort teams from Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana and Tennessee.

The Delta I-Fund offers three resources to create opportunities for early-stage entrepreneurs:

  • Virtual, one-on-one training
  • A dedicated mentor
  • $5,000 in technical assistance

During the kickoff weekend, agtech entrepreneurs learned the basics of lean startup methodology, including how to gather data from potential customers. Over the next ten weeks, the Delta I-Fund will work with the cohort teams to help them make a “go or no-go-decision” to start their businesses.

Other participants in the session included the University of Arkansas Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, AgLaunch of Memphis as well as Chamberlain Research, which advises numerous entrepreneurial efforts.



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