Delta Challenge-Linden, Alabama

March 03, 2015

LINDEN, Ala. – Three entrepreneurs from the Alabama Black Belt will attend the New Orleans Entrepreneur Week as part of the Delta Regional Authority’s Delta Entrepreneurship Network Fellowship program.

“The Delta Challenge seeks to identify entrepreneurs with the passion, creativity, and business mind to transform his or her idea into a successful business that will grow, create jobs for Delta residents, and help drive local economies,” Delta Regional Authority Federal Co-Chairman Chris Masingill. “Each of these entrepreneurs have the opportunity to connect with the organizations, mentors, and investors that will help them achieve success. Congratulations to all; we look forward to working with these entrepreneurs in the coming months.”

The winners were announced at the final (of four) Delta Challenge pitch competition in Linden-held in partnership with the Marengo County Business Development Center-after six entrepreneurs pitched their business ideas to a panel of local judges.

Winners of the Delta Challenge will receive a $1500 Delta Entrepreneurship Network fellowship to participate in a special segment of the New Orleans Entrepreneur Week—hosted by The Idea Village—on March 25-27 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Network fellows will showcase their ideas to investors, connect with fellow entrepreneurs, industry experts, and mentors, and participate in programmatic workshops.

Each entrepreneur was given three minutes to pitch their idea to a panel of judges that represent business and community entities in Alabama and have a background in entrepreneurship. Three winners and one alternate were announced after all pitches.

The winners of the Delta Challenge-Linden pitch competition are:

Al Barnett of Control Flo Medical Inc. (Union Springs, AL): The ResQ Non-Bladder Invasive Catheter is an innovative urinary blockage and drainage system that restores voluntary control of urination. The product is for the treatment of urinary incontinence, which can be caused by urinary structural disease, nerve damage, prostate problems, surgical complications, disabilities, and other problems. The ResQ Catheter is a new option in terms of patient comfort, security, and ease of use.

Winfield Ezell of Obsidian Creative Studios (Northport, AL): Obsidian Creative Studios tells stories through short films with global impact and underlying themes of diversity, positivity, and community that appeal across generational, racial, and socioeconomic boundaries, particularly to an often-underserved and underrepresented African-American population. (Obsidian Creative Studios on Vimeo)

Jeff Howell of Howell’s Service Center (Marion Junction, AL): Building off of his experience as an electrician and welder, Jeff Howell develops products that address common challenges for active people.  Howell’s Service Center has developed a zero-turn lawn mower that eases yard work and a specialized trailer system that helps drivers back up trailers without jack-knifing.

Four Delta Challenge pitch competitions have been held in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, Jackson, Mississippi, Jonesboro, Arkansas, and Linden, Alabama. The winners from each location will participate in a workshop on March 6-7 hosted by the DRA and featuring a pitch boot camp by Julie Kirk, award-winning entrepreneur and director of the U.S. EDA’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The fellows will then participate in a special segment of New Orleans Entrepreneur Week where they will network with fellow entrepreneurs and mentors and pitch their ideas to national investors.

The Delta Challenge is part of the DRA’s recently launched Delta Entrepreneurship Network, which was created to identify, connect, nurture, and grow the entrepreneurial ecosystems that drive the Delta’s local and regional economies. The Network is addressing regional deficiencies in capital, training, and best practices for entrepreneurship through a connected infrastructure of support organizations, investors, and educators.

Spencer Lucker
(202) 434-4842