What is the DEN?
The Delta Entrepreneurship Network or DEN is a demostration project and an evolving process because many ideas used within this project have never been tried before. This consists of a partnership between the Arkansas State University Small Business & Technology Development Center; the Arkansas State Library; and Arkansas public libraries.
1. Small rural communities as principle sources of non-bank investment capital for startup businesses.
2. Small rural communities moving money out of industrial recruitment funds and into microfinance.
3. Small rural communities partnering within a region to share "prospects," albeit startup businessprospects.
4. Regional recruitment of former residents of small rural communities to bring their startup buiness plans/dreams to Arkansas.
5. Using small local libraries as economic gardens where local ideas for inventions and startup businesses are nurtured via: a) a special collection of easily accesible helpful informaiton, b) hosting of special events, and c) makers space services.
6. Coordinated hosting of a variety of events and venues in small rural communities for entrepreneurs and startup hopefuls through a) Gone in 60 Seconds pitch contests, b) Entreprenuership networking events, c) Startup Weekend events, and d) Startup training events.
"Gone in 60 Seconds" Pitch Contests
InnovateArkansas.com reporter Mark Carter takes you inside the "Gone in :60" pitch contest. This year's contest featured more than 20 entrepreneurs pitching their business plans in a contest style reminiscent of American Idol and Shark Tank. The contest was held at Michelangelo's in Conway, Arkansas.
The Gone in 60 Seconds elevator pitch contest is designed to allow aspiring entrepremeurs who want to pitch their brightest ideas to local investors and business leaders with the catch being that they have only 60 seconds to do so.
What Can Arkansas Libraries Do?
Local Libraries in partnership with the Arkansas State Library, Delta Entrepreneurship Network (DEN), and local economic development leaders can:
1. Join, encourage and support local participation in the DEN partnership
2. Help train local librarians on a) the purpose of the DEN and their role in the DEN; b) specific actions that will support the DEN; c) ways the State Library will assist them; and d) provide an introductory understanding of the world of entrepreneurship and "economic gardening" i.e., growing one's own business.
3. Facilitate, in conjunction with the DEN, the development of a list of library resources that each local DEN library would make available to a) increase resources/contacts within the DEN partnership and b) facilitate maximum usage of the U.S. Patents and Trademarks databases
4. Facilitate the development and roll-out of local publicity a) materials and b) PR/marketing technical assistance
5. Facilitate the mobilization of Makers Spaces provided by DEN libraries
6. Facilitate DEN libraries' hosting of entrepreneurship events
Useful Websites for the DEN Libraries
Startup Arkansas An alliance of Arkansas entrepreneurs seeking to build a strong Arkansas entrepreneurship / startup ecosystem. This website is meant to be a community aggregator of all things in the startup ecosystem. We encourage you to submit tech talks, panels, networking, conference and other related events and news to our site so we can help you promote and grow our startup ecosystem.
Startup America The Startup America Partnership supports a national network of startup communities dedicated to advancing the success of American startups. Hundreds of passionate founders, entrepreneurial leaders, investors, mentors and executives, (Startup Champions), are working together to strengthen their local communities and help young companies grow.
Startup Weekend is a 54-hour event that brings together developers, designers, marketers, product managers and startup enthusiasts to share ideas, form teams, build products and launch startups.
Startup Little Rock and Startup Northwest Arkansas is a global grassroots movement of active and empowered entrepreneurs who are learning the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures.
The ARK Challenge are a group of advisors, entrepreneurs, key cluster experts and investors interested in economic development through the mentorship and acceleration of young technology startups.
The Donald W. Reynolds Governor's Cup student business plan competition encourages students attending any Arkansas two- or four-year college or university to act on their ideas and talents by entering the competition and have a head start in producing tomorrow’s businesses.
Alt Consulting, Inc. encourages students attending any Arkansas two- or four-year college or university to act on their ideas and talents by entering the competition and have a head start in producing tomorrow’s businesses.
Arkansas State University Catalyst Innovation Accelerator program is a partnership of he ASU Research & Development Institute (RDI), Northeast Arkansas Business Community, Arkansas State University, the Arkansas BioSciences Institute, the Delta Center for Economic Development, U.S. Small Business Administration and the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration. Catalyst offers business services, executive office suites and conference space, and state-of-the-art laboratory facilities to new and growing science and innovation based ventures.
Recommended Books from the DEN