Delta Innovator Search launched 

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 77 views 

Entrepreneurs, scientists, agricultural leaders and other innovators with ideas to improve the health and economy of the Mississippi Delta Region are invited to join the inaugural Delta Innovator Search. The Rural Innovation Alliance, will accept applications for the search through July 30 at

The search, part of a planning process launched in May 2023 and funded by the National Science Foundation’s Regional Innovation Engines program, will identify new solutions that have the potential to advance the region’s economy and contribute to better health outcomes for Delta residents.

Solutions could include new goods or products, scientific or technical innovations, services, business models, financial strategies or other projects that help build the necessary infrastructure for resilient economic growth in the Delta. Projects should align with at least one of three target categories: Scientific or Technical Innovations; Economic or Financial Innovations; and Community Impact 2040. 

“Our alliance believes that with dedicated support, it is possible to seed, incubate and translate these innovations into tangible outcomes that will have a positive economic and societal impact on the region,” said Dr. Joe Thompson, president and CEO of the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement. “This search is an integral next step in our planning process to outline a strategy that leads to the development of new businesses, innovative technologies, creative workforce development programs and inclusive wealth creation in the Delta.”

Applicants selected as finalists will present their proposals to the Rural Innovation Alliance and its partners at a showcase and awards banquet in September. At the showcase, innovators will be selected to receive awards of $20,000, $10,000 and $5,000 to support their initiatives, in addition to gaining access to networking support and additional funding opportunities — including a pathway to participate in the upcoming $160 million second-phase NSF Regional Innovation Engines grant application process.

Both individual and organization applications are welcome. Applicants must be at least 18 years old and residents of Arkansas, Mississippi or Louisiana or demonstrate authentic partnership with an organization from the area that serves residents.

“Rural health care access, sources of quality food, and other challenges the Delta faces are intertwined with economic resiliency,” said Thompson­­­. “This search presents an opportunity to foster new ideas and innovative leaders from within our own communities with the clear understanding that their success makes the entire region stronger.”