NEWS: Delta Challenge pitch competition identifies three Kentucky entrepreneurs as winners

October 07, 2015

MURRAY, Ky. – The Delta Challenge pitch competition series has identified three more Delta Entrepreneurship Network fellows at a pitch competition Tuesday, October 6, Delta Regional Authority Alternate Federal Co-Chairman Mike Marshall announced. The competition featured entrepreneurs from across western Kentucky to pitch their business ideas for a fellowship with the Delta Entrepreneurship Network.

“One of the most important investments that we can make in our local communities is in the small business owners and entrepreneurs that are driving our Delta economies,” Chairman Marshall said. “The DEN is helping to connect entrepreneurs to the organizations, mentors, and investors that will help them grow, create jobs, and give back to their community. I am excited to see what these entrepreneurs will achieve in the coming months.”

The DEN fellowship includes future training workshops and the opportunity to participate in a special segment of New Orleans Entrepreneur Week—produced by The Idea Village—in March 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Network fellows will pitch their ideas to investors, participate in programmatic workshops, and connect with fellow entrepreneurs, industry experts, and mentors.

The competition identified three winners to receive the DEN fellowship and one alternate:

  • Dr. Lula Luu and Dr. John Crilly, Co-founders of FIN Gourmet: Fin Gourmet works closely with commercial fishermen in Ledbetter, KY, to obtain wild-caught fish from Kentucky waters and produce boneless fillets, high-grade surimi, and other products that are staples to old-world Asian cuisine. These surimi/fish paste products are sold both wholesale and retail to primarily Asian grocery stores and customers, supplanting what is mostly an import industry.
  • Steve Gough, Founder of N.O.V8.ion: N.O.V8.ion specializes in air conditioning pre-cooling products and is developing revolutionary water filtration products for residential and light commercial markets. Steve has managed his own high-tech start-up business focused on innovative product and strategy development in water filtration and AC pre-cooling applications for ten years.
  • Daniel Beighle, Founder of Bulwark: Bulwark is a Simulated Combat Sport Suit that allows the user to more realistically simulate a Combat Gaming environment. With a vast industry of gamers using safe weapons to simulate combat, there is no current quantification of the combat, but Bulwark creates a hit threshold and keeps up with hits made to better quantify the gaming experience.
  • Alternate-Michael Snyder, Founder of Revolution Labs: Revolution Labs produces Optical Ferrofluid cells for viewing magnetic fields.  Each one of the cells are handmade, signed, and numbered, making demonstrations in classrooms much easier and more exciting, better learning experiences.

Each entrepreneur was given three minutes to pitch their idea to a panel of judges that represent business and community entities in the western Kentucky area and have a background in entrepreneurship.

Entrepreneurs looking to launch or grow their ideas or businesses are encouraged to register for other pitch competitions in the DRA region at dra.gov/entrepreneur. Four more Delta Challenge pitch competitions are being held in Selma, Alabama, Cleveland, Mississippi, Little Rock, Arkansas and Lafayette, Louisiana, from which a total of 21 entrepreneurs will be identified. The two top-scoring alternates from the competition series will receive the final two DEN fellowships.

The Delta Challenge is part of the DRA’s 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 DEN is addressing regional deficiencies in 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 $8.7 million in small businesses and entrepreneurs in the Delta, creating and retaining more than 1,250 jobs, training more than 1,400 entrepreneurs, and leveraging $16 million in other public and private investment. To learn more, visit dra.gov/entrepreneur.

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Spencer Lucker
(202) 744-3544
slucker@dra.gov