Spencer Jones, CEO of LineGard Med clinched the first place spot at the 2016 Delta Challenge on Thursday afternoon at New Orleans Entrepreneur Week (NOEW). The showcase, presented by the Delta Regional Authority (DRA), represented the culmination of a multi-month process which kicked off this fall in Memphis, Tennessee.
“This year’s entrepreneurs bring incredible business models that have the potential to disrupt the industries that they’re working within,” said Katie Milligan, director of small business & entrepreneurship for DRA. “These are companies that have grown out of the Delta and plan to stay in the Delta, investing in their local community. We’re proud to be able to support them with a strong network of resources, mentors, and peers.”
Eighteen companies competed for a chance at the $10,000 grand prize. Entrepreneurs from each company presented their ideas for judges and NOEW attendees in a public showcase just off Fulton Street in New Orleans.
2016 Delta Challenge Entrepreneurial Fellows
Billy's Original Foods (MS) – a food company that produces ready-to-eat products in a diversified mix of retail and wholesale distribution.
CoverSix (LA) – CoverSix educates and trains companies on how to deal with the threat of an active shooter.
Cythereal (LA) – Cythereal will bring to market Cy/Malweb, a platform to extract intelligence from malware quarantined by anti-malware systems to help identify targeted cyber attacks.
Divorce Secure (TN) – a workflow and collaboration wizard for divorce attorneys to automate and streamline the intake process, increasing their capacity to serve more clients.
Feather (AR) – an online referral platform that matches seniors with the perfect caregiver for their needs using special compatibility software.
FIN Gourmet (KY) – 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.
FrontDesk Connect (TN) – a cloud-based communication service to enhance the hotel guest travel experience by connecting them to a hotel’s front desk or concierge, while providing the host facility the potential for additional revenue streams by notifying users of hotel events and amenities through direct messaging.
LineGard Med (AR) – provides an added level of safety for IV tubing by allowing a controlled separation from the IV tubing while helping to keep the catheter in place. This saves time and money and allows the medical therapy to continue uninterrupted.
Musistic (TN) – a networking plug-in that enables creative, musical collaboration by transferring uncompressed, high-quality audio to allow for unlimited collaboration and eliminate compatibility issues between music-sharing platforms.
MyCollegeSTREAM (TN) – improves the way guidance counselors interact with their students about college and opportunities after high school by using a single platform for social media that provides quick access to the most relevant content for any college in real time.
N.O.V8.ion (KY) – specializes in air conditioning pre-cooling products and is developing revolutionary water filtration products for residential and light commercial markets under three unique brands: Mist Economics, NegaWatt, and NanoClean.
Prep Tech LLC (LA) – a new medical device that allows for pre-surgical skin preparation to be done in the preoperative holding area before the patient enters the operating room.
Renewable Energies, Inc. (TN) – manufactures biomass gasifiers that convert waste into different forms of energies like electricity, activated carbon or biofuels.
Revival Coffee (AL)- a coffee roaster offering a variety of blends created by using specialty-grade coffee that also donates a portion of its profits to non-profits.
Selma Good Co. (AL) – makes G Momma’s Cookies: southern-style, bite-size cookies made from real ingredients, no preservatives, and no high-fructose corn syrup and produced in small batches.
SweetBio, Inc. (TN) – has created a biodegradable membrane that preserves the socket after tooth loss, which increases functionality and clinic handling and is made of anti-bacterial ingredients that support wound-healing and anti-colonization of bacteria.
Viper Drill (LA) – improves the profitability and value of oil and gas wells by increasing the production from those wells with the use of government-sponsored research that predicts hydrocarbon recovery and the dramatic acceleration of that recovery.
ZUNI Learning Tree (AR) – a cloud-based learning and engagement platform providing educational and instructional resources of all types.
LineGard Med Wins $10,000 Prize
Judges selected three entrepreneurs to pitch for the audience on the main stage at the end of the showcase. LineGard Med (AR), SweetBio (TN) and Zuni Learning Tree (AR) were selected to present a three minute investor pitch to the crowd and panel of expert judges.
After a short judges' deliberation, LineGard Med and the SafeBreakTM technology was selected as the winner of the grand prize. SweetBio came in second and Zuni Learning Tree placed third.
The DRA and NOEW: Partners of Entrepreneurism in the South
The Delta Entrepreneurship Network (DEN) is fellowship program initiated and supported by the federal co-chairman of the DRA, Chris Masingill in 2014. Entrepreneurs from across the eight states which make up the Delta Regional footprint compete in local semi-final pitch competitions and semi-finalists are chosen at each event to join the fellowship of the DEN. The DRA also selects Entrepreneurial Support Organizations (ESO) from around the region to join the fellowship each year. The fellows convene at NOEW in the spring each year for the final entrepreneurial showcase.
“Entrepreneurs from across the Delta have been able to access the investors, information, ideas, and peer groups that will help them build their businesses, attract funding, and succeed in realizing their innovation through the DEN fellowship and NOEW programming,” said Chris Masingill, federal co-chairman of the Delta Regional Authority.
New Orleans Entrepreneur Week began in 2009 as the “IDEAcorps Challenge.” Since then, NOEW has evolved into an annual, 8-day festival and serves as a platform for the New Orleans entrepreneurial ecosystem as a whole. With attendance growing steadily every year, NOEW is an integral piece of The Idea Village’s vision of New Orleans being the hub of entrepreneurship in the South by 2018, the city’s tricentennial.
Entrepreneurial Momentum Builds in the South
With cities like New Orleans taking a noted lead, entrepreneurism is growing across the South. Pockets of innovation are emerging in “flyover” cities in what Steve Case has named the “Rise of the Rest.” Events like NOEW and organizations like the Delta Regional Authority bring together the best of public and private initiatives capitalizing on the strengths each provides. The scope and diversity of the companies represented by the DEN fellowship are just an early indication of the untapped potential is unfolding in the South.