Editor’s note: Each Thursday, Talk Business & Politics provides “Startup Talk,” a round-up of startup, technology and entrepreneurial news.
DELTA REGIONAL AUTHORITY, WINROCK INTERNATIONAL LAUNCH STARTUP INVESTMENT FUND
The Delta Regional Authority and Winrock International launched the first-of-its-kind, multi-million dollar investment fund for Delta startups. The I-Fund, which includes an initial $1 million investment from IBERIABANK as well as another $1 million from the DRA, will target local entrepreneurs across the eight-state Delta region and provide key training, mentoring, and capital investment to help them build their businesses. The initiative includes investing $50,000 in individual startups in the Delta region.
“This strategic investment aligns with our core mission – creating jobs, building communities, and improving lives by making the Delta an innovative hub for the startup leaders of tomorrow,” said DRA Chairman Masingill.
The Delta I-Fund began in 2016 by supporting student-led startup businesses at five universities. The expanded initiative will provide a structured, 12-week training program that includes mentoring from accomplished business professionals and the potential to provide up to $50,000 of investment for each startup. The DRA, together with support from the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub and the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA), will work in underserved communities to develop key partnerships, secure “buy in” from public, private, and university programs, and create jobs and businesses in the areas that need the opportunities the most. To learn more, go to www.dra.gov.
PENTAGON CROWDSOURCING EFFORTS PRODUCE INNOVATIVE PROPOSALS FOR FUTURE MILITARY CAMPAIGNS
A crowdsourcing effort launched last month by the Pentagon to inspire creative thinking inside and outside the Defense Department on key operational challenges has produced two primary submissions and several others that will be presented for consideration directly to top officials in the department.
The Operational Challenges Crowdsourcing Initiative was intended to provide access to take the best ideas, wherever they came from, and connect the ideas to leaders who are in a position to effect change. Defense Department officials said the initiative got nearly 100 submissions across five operational challenges the department is focused on to seek innovative approaches.
DENSO TO UNVEIL VIRTUAL REALITY TECHNOLOGY, ROBOTS AND SELF-DRIVING CARS AT CES SHOW IN LAS VEGAS
Global auto supplier Denso Corp. will unveil new virtual reality and advanced manufacturing technologies at the International Consumers Electronics Show on Jan. 5-8 In Las Vegas, as well as meeting with startup companies to consider early-stage investment for 2017.
Denso, which operates a 500-worker auto parts plant in Osceola, said it will display conceptual technologies that allow users to control vehicle systems through holographic images without physically touching a button, and also demonstrate how virtual reality systems can manage complicated traffic situations. Denso and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology will also provide a glimpse into the future of autonomous transportation, including a self-driving car with wireless charging, and self-operated driving modes, HVAC systems and exterior lighting. In addition to the booth displays, Denso Corporate Ventures Director Tony Cannestra will be available to meet with early-state tech companies during the four-day trade show.