NEWS: Delta Regional Authority Announces Arkansas Winners of 2017 Delta Challenge

September 14, 2016

Local entrepreneurs win training, resources, and opportunity to pitch ideas at New Orleans Entrepreneur Week

Chairman Masingill: "These entrepreneurs represent some of the best the Delta has to offer"

NORTH LITTLE ROCK, AR – Four Arkansas-based entrepreneurs, and one alternate, were selected last night as winners of the third annual Delta Entrepreneurship Network fellowship, Delta Regional Authority Federal Co-Chairman Chris Masingill announced.

The winners will receive intensive technical assistance trainings, including development support for their business plans and detailed feedback on their product pitches, as well as the opportunity to pitch at New Orleans Entrepreneur Week on March 19th, 2017.

"These entrepreneurs represent some of the best the Delta has to offer. They are converting what makes our part of the world great – our people, our culture, and our history – into successful business ideas and opportunities. As the Delta Entrepreneurship Network grows, I am excited to work with this new class of fellows to strengthen entrepreneurial development in the region and build a robust ecosystem of talented business leaders," Chairman Masingill said.

The list of winning fellows from the North Little Rock pitch competition are:

  • RaftUp, Corey Boelkens
    RaftUp is a social boating community accessible via the web, enabling people to develop connections on and off the water between friends, family, businesses, and public agencies.
  • Cocoa Belle Chocolates, Carmen Portillo
    Cocoa Belle Chocolates is launching a new line of chocolate bars and barks inspired by classic southern desserts; aimed to be sold at major retailers.
  • Polypatch, Nathan Bailey
    Polypatch is an easier, more cost-efficient patch to apply to polypipe irrigation systems, providing an innovative solution to a crucial tool in Delta agriculture.
  • Clinicpass, Tracy Simpson
    Clinicpass is a web based solution for pharmaceutical and/or device representative event/appointment scheduling and credentialing, allowing medical clinics & representatives to do what is really important: to help improve and extend peoples' lives.
  • ALTERNATE - My Color of Beauty, Eyona Mitchell
    My Color of Beauty is marketplace for diverse women to find information on how to use hair products, apply makeup and implement skin care routines with proven products.


  • Access to a series of technical assistance trainings and business development resources
  • Introduction to regional mentoring and networking opportunities
  • Participation in special programming during 2017 New Orleans Entrepreneur Week

Delta entrepreneurs are encouraged to attend one of the remaining pitch competitions and small business fairs:

September 28, 2016          Jackson, TN                       Lane College

September 29, 2016          Oxford, MS                        University of Mississippi

October 11, 2016                Livingston, AL                   University of West Alabama

November 1, 2016              Ruston, LA                         Louisiana Tech University

November, 18, 2016           Cape Girardeau, MO        Codefi

The winning entrepreneurs were selected through a pitch competition held at the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub in North Little Rock.

The Delta Entrepreneurship Network is a program of the Delta Regional Authority created to identify, connect, and grow the entrepreneurial ecosystems that drive the Delta's local and regional economies. The DEN is addressing regional deficiencies in access to affordable capital, training, and best practices for entrepreneurship through a connected infrastructure of support organizations, investors, and educators.

About the Delta Regional Authority

The Delta Regional Authority is a federal-state partnership created by Congress in 2000 to help create jobs, build communities, and improve lives through strategic investments in economic development in 252 counties and parishes across eight states. Through its Small Business and Entrepreneurship Initiative, the DRA has invested $9.4 million in small businesses and entrepreneurs in the Delta, creating and retaining 1,340 jobs and leveraging nearly $17 million in other public and private investment. To learn more, visit


Media Contact: John Collins