NEWS: West Tennessee business wins Delta Showcase during Entrepreneur Week in New Orleans

March 22, 2017

NEW ORLEANS, LA. SOMAVAC, a West Tennessee business that has created a wearable, post-surgical drainage device that supports patient recovery, has won the Delta Showcase at New Orleans Entrepreneur Week (NOEW). SOMAVAC co-founder Josh Herwig helped develop the innovative drainage system that restores patient mobility and dignity during the recovery process. The Delta Regional Authority (DRA) brought nearly 50 entrepreneurs and support organizations to NOEW to participate in one of the nation’s leading events to highlight startups and small businesses.

“Josh and SOMAVAC represent the entrepreneurial spirit that is thriving in the Delta region,” DRA Chairman Chris Masingill said. “We are grateful for the nearly 50 entrepreneurs and organizations that represented our region here and we are especially proud of Josh and his team for their contributions to helping patients and their families ease the recovery process.”

SOMAVAC is a cost-saving solution for hospitals and insurers to improve healthcare for patients. “This is an incredible opportunity to help build our business and give it the boost it needs to gain more publicity and attention,” Herwig said.

In addition to SOMAVAC, HABERDAShe of New Orleans founded by Smydge Perry won the “Crowd Favorite” award, which was given to the Delta business selected by the hundreds who attended the Delta Showcase event Tuesday evening. “This experience with the DRA has been a great opportunity to network with emerging entrepreneurial talent in the Delta region and I am grateful for this access to technical experience and mentorships,” Perry said.

“DRA is proud to showcase all these Delta businesses that will contribute to the growth of our region and will be a part of our efforts to help create jobs and let the world know that the Delta is open for business,” Masingill said. “SOMAVAC showcases to the world what the Delta represents. All of our participants embody the entrepreneurial spirit that is thriving across the Delta, and they will play a vital role in the continued economic development and job creation in our communities.”

The 16 entrepreneurs who participated in the Delta Showcase are:

  • B-G Safety Systems, Marcus Boykin, Lexington, TN
  • Betaflix, Sreenivasa Sanakam, Ruston, LA
  • Bootsie’s Delta Funk BBQ, Peter Grumbles, Pope, MS
  • Cocoa Belle Chocolates, Carmen Portillo, Little Rock, AR
  • Cosmetic Car Tech, Jason Todt, Marble Hill, MO
  • Edible Education, Ann Butler, Cape Girardeau, MO
  • EntreLinc, Amelia Thomas, Memphis, TN
  • HABERDAShe, Smydge Perry, New Orleans, LA
  • KALIKOE Galaxy, Quentin Allen, Pine Bluff, AR
  • My Veggie Chef, Mark Rigdon, Cape Girardeau, MO
  • Myra Mirrors, Pontus Andersson, Oxford, MS
  • Nature’s Own Carol’s Spring Water, Moses Weaver, Tuskegee, AL
  • RaftUp, Corey Boelkens, Little Rock, AR
  • Skycision, Brendan Carroll, Memphis, TN
  • Somavac, Josh Herwig, Memphis, TN
  • Think I.N.K., Carl Morgan, Tuskegee, AL

The Delta Entrepreneurship Network was started three years ago as part of DRA’s  Small Business & Entrepreneurial Development initiative. DRA has worked with industry experts, lenders, and entrepreneurial support organizations to help build a connective ecosystem that develops and grows startups and small businesses.

DRA has increased its own investment into small businesses and entrepreneurs by 200 percent compared to investments made in the first eight years of the agency. These investments have helped train more than 1,000 current and aspiring small-business owners. DRA investments in entrepreneurs and support programs have reached nearly $11 million, with a total of $27 million being leveraged in partner dollars.

Featuring our entrepreneurs and support organization this week culminates a three-year partnership with The Idea Village, a New Orleans-based group that is one of the nation’s leading entrepreneurial support organizatons.

NOEW provides a unique setting and access for these entrepreneurs. In 2016, the event had over 13,000 participants (an increase of 25% from 2015) and nearly $650,000 in capital and in-kind resources awarded to attending entrepreneurs. 

To view live video highlights from the Delta Showcase at NOEW, visit www.facebook.com/delta.regional.authority
 

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. To date, the DRA’s SEDAP investments, together with its state and local partners, have leveraged federal resources into more than $3.3 billion in public and private investment into local small business owners, entrepreneurs, workforce improvement, and infrastructure development projects. DRA investments have helped to create and retain more than 26,000 jobs, train more than 7,200 workers for 21st Century jobs, and deliver water and sewer improvements to more than 64,000 residents. Learn more at dra.gov.

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Media Contact:
Andrew Moreau
202-744-3558
amoreau@dra.gov