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

October 03, 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"

OXFORD, MS – Three Mississippi-based entrepreneurs, and one alternate, were selected today 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," DRA Chairman Chris Masingill said.

The list of winning fellows includes:

  • HigherLearning, LLC: Lee Ingram, Oxford, MS
    HigherLearning offers high-quality, affordable tutoring services for struggling students by pairing them with well-performing students on campus.
  • On The Wall, Inc.: Pontus Andersson, Oxford, MS
    On The Wall is creating the world’s first smart-mirror operating system. Their aim is to make displaying information on a mirror as easy, or as advanced, as using a smartphone.
  • Bootsie's Delta Funk BBQ: Pete Grumbles, Pope, MS
    Bootsie's Delta Funk BBQ offers several small-batch and craft bbq sauces and spices, as well as catering of slow-smoked products. 
  • ALTERNATE - Interactive Languages: Thomas Matlock, Oxford, MS
    Interactive Languages is a situation and tasked-based virtual world that provides those wishing to learn Spanish with an immersive experience that will provide more sensory cues for memory when the time comes to travel.


  • 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:

  • 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 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