Growing Small Businesses & Entrepreneurs

The Delta Regional Authority recognizes the importance of small businesses and entrepreneurship to our local and regional economies. Since 1992, locally-owned establishments with 9 or fewer employees have created more than 91 percent of the net new jobs, bringing more than 58,000 new jobs to the region. With this knowledge the DRA focuses funding and programming towards strengthening support services, training, and financing for small businesses and entrepreneurs in Delta counties and parishes.

In 2012, the DRA collaborated with Dr. James Stapleton and the Douglas C. Greene Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Southeast Missouri State University to outline the DRA's priorities for small businesses and entrepreneurs in a published policy framework.

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Entrepreneurship Network

The DRA Small Business & Entrepreneurship Policy Framework identifies five key components to creating a successful entrepreneurial ecosystem and action steps to support these policies:

  • Developing a Pipeline of Educated and Skilled Entrepreneurs
  • Cultivating Technology Exchange and Innovation
  • Improving Access to Capital
  • Promoting Awareness and Building Networks
  • Optimizing the Regulatory Environment

HBCU Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Initiative

While national entrepreneurial growth is strong among minorities, it is important that we continue to work to create an inclusive ecosystem for these businesses and their owners to grow and thrive. The HBCU Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Initiative was created to support ongoing efforts on historically black college and university campuses targeting minority and women-owned businesses. The Initiative will catalog current resources available to young entrepreneurs, strengthen existing programs, encourage collaboration between partner institutions, and give student entrepreneurs the tools they need to succeed.

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Delta Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Mapping Project

The Delta Regional Authority (DRA) is seeking proposals from qualified academic institution(s), professional(s), or entity(s) to complete a Delta Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Mapping project that will connect rural small business owners and entrepreneurs with the resources, support organizations, and tools that will help them grow their business towards economic success. The project will produce a comprehensive map of resources and a report on those resources, including the identification of strengths and weaknesses of the ecosystem to be used by DRA to guide entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Proposals from research institutions and organizations within the Delta region will be accepted until June 3, 2016. The RFP can be downloaded here.

Listen to the RFP webinar that highlights major components of RFP here.

Direct any questions about the RFP to by May 27, 2016. You will receive a response to your question, and those questions and answers will be posted online once received and answered.

Small Business Initiatives and Investments

DRA supports a variety of activities to promote small businesses and entrepreneurship in the Delta region. DRA's report, Investing in the Delta: Small Business & Entrepreneurship, identifies the investments made and leveraged by the Delta Regional Authority in support of programs that provide technical assistance and skills training, increase access to affordable capital, and help to create an entrepreneurial environment that cultivates innovative solutions to our region's most pressing challenges.

Click on the thumbnails below to learn about some of DRA's Small Business Initiatives and Investments.