The Delta Entrepreneurship Network | DEN for Entrepreneurship Support Organizations

Individuals or organizations that promote, nurture, and grow entrepreneurs and the entrepreneurship ecosystem in their communities and provide direct entrepreneurship support or education services are encouraged to apply for the Delta Entrepreneurship Network fellowship. Up to sixteen individuals or non-profit organization representatives will be identified to represent the eight-state region and receive a fellowship to participate in a special segment of New Orleans Entrepreneur Week (NOEW) 2017. While at NOEW, participants will have access to programmatic seminars, workshops, and mentorship from panelists, industry experts, and peer organizations. New Orleans Entrepreneur Week 2014 had more than 5,209 participants and $240,644 in startup capital was allocated across 38 startup ventures. NOEW 2015 was a big success for the DEN fellows who pitched in front of regional and national investors, resulting in 10,585 participants and $243,000 in startup capital and resources allocated across 30 startup ventures. Watch the highlight reel here. NOEW 2016 was even more successful, with 13,216 participants (an increase of 25% from 2015) and $649,420 in capital and in-kind resources awarded to attending entrepreneurs. By participating in the Entrepreneurship Network, fellows will have access to emerging entrepreneurs, gain technical knowledge, expand their entrepreneurial network, and enhance the entrepreneurial ecosystem of the DRA region.

The application cycle for the 2016-2017 DEN fellowship is now open! Application instructions are below. The deadline to apply is November 18, 2016.  

2015 DEN fellows


 

Award Information

DRA will provide up to sixteen individuals or non-profit organization representatives a fellowship to participate in a special segment of New Orleans Entrepreneur Week.

Award Funds May Be Used For:

  • Program participation and training
  • Travel assistance
  • Lodging
     

Basic Eligibility Requirements

Individuals and non-profit organizations are must live or work within the 252 counties and parishes that DRA serves. More information on DRA’s service area is here. Individuals or organizations must:

  • Have provided support services and/or education (ie. technical training, mentorship development, etc.) to entrepreneurs in the DRA region for more than 18 months prior to application and at a minimum meet Tier 3 qualifications as described below
  • Have an interest in expanding and strengthening the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the DRA.
  • Cannot be a private business or paid consultant.
     

Application Process

Applications should address the following:

  • Please give a brief overview of your organization.
  • What current support and/or educational services does your organization provide?
  • What is the capacity of your organization to implement programs?
  • What is your current level of funding? Revenue streams?
  • How have your initiatives strengthened or grown the entrepreneurial ecosystem in your community?
  • What is your vision for future support and/or educational (i.e. technical education, mentoring opportunities, etc.) services?
  • What capacity would your organization need to implement future programs?
  • How would this network of entrepreneurs and support organizations benefit your organization?
  • How do you plan to implement the knowledge gained from New Orleans Entrepreneur Week?

Frequently asked questions posed during the webinar as well as to DRA staff can be found here. A recording of the webinar is available on the DRA YouTube page (/DRAvideos).

Application Scoring Process

Applications will be sorted into tiers based on the below criteria. This panel will rank applications into four different tiers based on the following criteria.

 

Services Provided

Expansion of Services

Knowledge of Ecosystem

Tier 1

Organization/Individual offers a wide array of validated direct services or educational programs to the entrepreneurial community.

Organization/Individual demonstrates a history of successfully expanding services or educational programs in their community.

Organization/Individual identify barriers to the expansion and success of the entrepreneurial ecosystem and provide services or networks connections to help overcome those barriers.

Tier 2

Organization/Individual offers a highly specific service or educational program to the entrepreneurial community.

Organization/Individual proposes a highly scalable plan to expand direct services or educational programs in their community.

Organization/Individual identify barriers to the expansion and success of the entrepreneurial ecosystem and propose planned services or network connections to help overcome those barriers.

Tier 3

Organization/Individual offers a general service or educational program to the entrepreneurial community.

Organization/Individual proposes a general plan to expand direct services or educational programs in their community.

Organization/Individual identify barriers to the expansion and success of the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Tier 4

Organization/Individual proposes to implement service or educational program to the entrepreneurial community.

Organization/Individual does not have a plan to expand direct services or educational programs in their community.

Organization/Individual are unaware of barriers to the expansion and success of the entrepreneurial ecosystem

Only those in Tiers 1, 2, or 3 will be considered for the fellowship. Support organizations will be further evaluated during the interview process. All applicants above Tier 3 will be given an interview, which will be held via videoconference or conference call in February of 2017. A panel of independent, industry professionals will judge interviews on a numerical scale from one to five with 1=Undeveloped, 2=Fair, 3=Good, 4=Very Good, and 5=Investable.  Those support organizations with the highest interview scores will be chosen as fellows. 

Interviews will address the following subjects: 

  • Business model 
    • What need is the organization addressing (I.e. Lack of technical training, educational opportunities, etc.)
    • What services are offered? 
    • What is the primary source of revenue
  • Organizational Structure 
    • What is the structure of the organization? 
    • What experience does the team have in your field? 
    • What is the capacity of the organization to implement these programs? 
  • Market 
    • What is the entrepreneurial ecosystem in your service area? 
    • Who is the target audience? 
  • Risk
    • What are the internal/external challenges of the organization? 
    • What strategies are in place to lessen risk? 
  • Scalability
    • What is the scalability of the programs (I.e. Marketing, service delivery, and financial strategies moving forward)? 
    • What is needed to implement these programs? 
    • What is the next step? 
  • Implementation (point value is doubled for this category)
    • What are you looking to gain from this experience? 
    • How do you plan to maximize this opportunity? 
    • How do you plan to implement the knowledge you gain from this experience?

 

For any questions, please contact us at deltachallenge@dra.gov.

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