Delta Plastics named title sponsor for collegiate startup competition, Arkansas Governor’s Cup

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 325 views 

Delta Plastics of Little Rock, a national leader in irrigation polytube manufacturing to serve the agriculture industry, has been named the new title sponsor for the Arkansas Governor’s Cup Collegiate Business Plan Competition, presented by Arkansas Capital Corp. through its nonprofit arm, the Arkansas Economic Acceleration Foundation.

Delta Plastics has invested in the Governor’s Cup since 2004 and as the title sponsor in 2018 will fund a $154,000 cash prize pool for the first-, second- and third-place overall winners in both the graduate and undergraduate divisions, according to a joint press release from Arkansas Capital and Delta Plastics.

The 2018 Governor’s Cup begins in February and will conclude with 90-second pitch presentations from 12 finalists and an awards luncheon  April 18 in Little Rock, according to the  release.

“We love the Governor’s Cup,” Dhu Thompson, Delta Plastics’ owner and chairman, said in the release. “It’s a perfect fit for our company. Delta Plastics’ core values are excellence, integrity, discipline, collaboration, innovation and sustainability. These values are also hallmarks of the Governor’s Cup that we’ve observed over the years, both through the work of the student teams, the faculty advisors, and the collegiate institutions, as well as commitment of the staff of Arkansas Capital in its management of the competition.”

Delta Plastics is one of the country’s largest recyclers of heavily soiled and contaminated plastic, according to the release.

Since 2001, more than 2,500 students from 24 Arkansas colleges and universities have competed in the Governor’s Cup, according to Arkansas Capital. The competition has reportedly produced 839 business ideas.

“I know collegiate faculty members, administrators and others beyond the campuses will agree with me when I say the Governor’s Cup has been pivotal in building and feeding today’s

flourishing entrepreneurial ecosystem in Arkansas,” Thompson said. “There are several flourishing companies in Arkansas that have their roots in the competition. Even competitors who didn’t go forward with their business ideas tell me they have far greater appreciation for the entrepreneurial process and have applied both the hard and soft skills they learned from the competition in their professional careers.”

In addition to financial support for the Governor’s Cup, Delta Plastics will have representation on the volunteer judges’ panel for next year’s competition.

“This gave us the great opportunity to interact directly with Arkansas’ incredible collegiate entrepreneurial talent,” CEO Sean Whiteley said in the release. “The Governor’s Cup is unique in our state’s economic development in that it showcases our future entrepreneurs and lets them discover that we have the resources here in Arkansas to start and grow successful businesses.”

Delta Plastics takes the place of the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, which is ceasing operations later this year.

Rush Deacon, Arkansas Capital CEO and a former member and chair of the corporation’s board of directors, said the Governor’s Cup began as a way to “promote and support college students in their entrepreneurial endeavors and new venture creation, to encourage commercialization of promising ideas emerging from colleges and universities, to build bridges between these collegiate institutions and the entrepreneurial community, and to become one of the premier business plan competitions in the United States,” according to the release.

Deacon said at least 10 Arkansas colleges and universities now offer certificates, majors, minors or entire degree programs in entrepreneurship.