CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Dec. 14, 2015 – Southeast Missouri State University’s Institute for Regional Innovation and Entrepreneurship (IRIE) recently received a Delta Entrepreneurship Network (DEN) fellowship and will participate in a series of intensive technical assistance trainings and New Orleans Entrepreneur Week.

The Institute joins 35 other entrepreneurs and support organizations from the Mississippi River Delta and Alabama Black Belt regions as 2016 Delta Entrepreneurship Network Fellows.

“As we move into our second year of building and growing the Delta Entrepreneurship Network, I am excited to work with this new class of fellows to strengthen our region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. These fellows represent some of the brightest entrepreneurial minds in our region, whether using their knowledge to advance their own business idea or helping others pursue their entrepreneurial dreams,” said Chris Masingill, federal co-chairman of the Delta Regional Authority (DRA).

The 22 winning entrepreneurs were selected through a series of six pitch competitions throughout the DRA footprint. Fourteen entrepreneurship support organizations, including the IRIE, were identified through a competitive application process. These regional experts and practitioners represent organizations providing a variety of technical assistance services to entrepreneurs.

Southeast has partnered with the Delta Regional Authority in a number of ways in the past to advance and grow entrepreneurship, and the Institute is looking forward to continuing the relationship, said Crystal Jones, interim director at the IRIE.

“Being named a Delta Entrepreneurship Network fellow is another great opportunity for us to participate with the DRA and help entrepreneurs across the Delta start or grow their business,” said Jones. “We are always excited to network with other entrepreneur support organizations and are looking forward to potential collaborations with them through this program.”

Fellows will participate in a series of technical assistance trainings on business development and facilitated discussions around the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Delta region. They will then take part in a special segment of New Orleans Entrepreneur Week — hosted by The Idea Village — March 11-18 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Fellows will showcase their ideas to investors, participate in programmatic workshops, and connect with fellow entrepreneurs, industry experts and mentors.

“Our hope and expectation is that with the skills, training and network that fellows will gain from the next year of engagement, the DEN fellows will be better poised to go back to their communities and create even more opportunities for themselves and other entrepreneurs in the Delta,” Masingill continued.

The Delta Entrepreneurship Network is a program of the Delta Regional Authority created to identify, connect and grow the entrepreneurial ecosystems that drive the Delta’s local and regional economies. The DEN is addressing regional deficiencies in access to affordable capital, training and best practices for entrepreneurship through a connected infrastructure of support organizations, investors and educators.

For more information about Southeast’s Institute for Regional Innovation and Entrepreneurship, visit