The Venture Center Awarded DRA Fellowship

The Delta Entrepreneurship Network

The Venture Center recently joined the Delta Entrepreneurship Network, comprised of entrepreneurs and entrepreneur support organizations (ESO) across the Delta Region.

The Delta Regional Authority launched this initiative as part of its ongoing efforts to enhance and support economic expansion across the territory of the Delta Region.

Julie Lenzer Kirk with Entrepreneur

As part of this exciting endeavor, Chairman Chris Masingill oversaw the #DeltaChallenge, a pitch competition held in 4 different cities across the region. Sixteen entrepreneurs and fifteen ESOs were selected as DRA fellows to participate in the New Orleans Entrepreneur Week (NOEW) organized by the Idea Village.

ESOs and Entrepreneurs recently met in Memphis in preparation for New Orleans. Julie Lenzer Kirk, Director of the Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship with the Economic Development Administration (EDA) provided keen insights and invaluable one-on-one consultation for the entrepreneurs preparing to pitch in New Orleans. ESOs from across the region provided additional support and mentorship.

March 24, The Venture Center will represent Little Rock in New Orleans and join ESOs and entrepreneurs from the Delta Challenge to observe the advances that the NOLA startup community has made in the last decade.

Exciting First Steps

The Delta Entrepreneurship Network represents an exciting concerted effort to connect the individual startup communities in cities like New Orleans, Memphis and Little Rock to more rural or less-populated areas of the Delta.

The DRA has provided a powerful framework from which support organizations and entrepreneurs can work across state lines and around the whole region to advance the growth of startups and economic expansion.  By plugging into broader, more established ecosystems like New Orleans, entrepreneurs from around the region can access training and mentorship which will expand the influence and reach of innovation in the Delta.

But this is only the first step. As Chairman Massingill said at an ESO luncheon at the Memphis event, "This is your Network. Now it is your job to make it work for you."