The Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub has hired a manager for the Delta I-Fund program.
Amy Hopper, now senior financial analyst at Newell Brands, will relocate to Little Rock from Atlanta in the next few months, according to a newsletter from the Hub.
Founded in 2015 with a focus solely on Arkansas student startups, the Delta I-Fund is a program that provides funding, mentorship and training for early-stage, proof-of-concept companies in the Delta region of Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.
Eight student companies were chosen to be in the fall 2016 group. Schools initially participating in the partnership were the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Arkansas State University and the University of Arkansas.
The companies were given $5,000 upfront, once admitted to the program, and had the potential to receive up to $50,000 if they choose to apply for additional grants in the following months. The additional funding is contingent on the students opening a viable company, as opposed to keeping the idea as an academic pursuit, said Jeff Stinson, director of entrepreneurship for the Hub and Delta I-Fund director.
The training portion of the Delta I-Fund is based on the National Science Foundation’s I-Corps program, Stinson said.
Delta I-Fund is supported by the Delta Regional Authority, headquartered in Clarksdale, Miss.
As Delta I-Fund manager, Hopper will manage operations, help develop curriculum and help recruit startup teams to participate in the program, according to the Hub.
“I couldn’t be more excited to add Amy to our leadership team at the Innovation Hub,” Stinson said in the newsletter. “Her background in finance, entrepreneurship and economic development are perfectly suited to lead our efforts with this program. She’ll be a tremendous asset to Arkansas and the region.”
Before joining Newell brands in August, Hopper worked in finance for INVISTA, a Koch Industries subsidiary and producer of polymers and fibers.
She graduated with a bachelor’s in finance from the University of Oklahoma in 2013.
More information on the Delta I-Fund program is available at deltaifund.com.