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Emerging Markets Partnership Helps Delta Work

Delta Region – The Enterprise Corporation of the Delta/Hope Community Credit Union (ECD/HOPE) recently announced the signing of 11 contracts totaling $500,000 to further enterprise development, housing, health care, childcare, and workforce development for low-wealth people and communities in the Mississippi Delta.

The contracts were made through the Emerging Markets Partnership (EMP), a major component of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Mid South Delta Initiative’s (MSDI) strategy. MSDI is a long-term economic, community and leadership development effort focused on 55 contiguous counties and parishes along the Mississippi River in Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi.

EMP believes that the Delta works through promoting (1) Job creation, retention, and advancement; (2) Entrepreneurship and business development; (3) Asset development among low- and moderate-income individuals and families; and (4) Infrastructure that enables Delta businesses and workers to compete in the new economy.

EMP contract highlights included a bridge loan with West Holmes Community Development Organization, a MSDI partner organization in Mississippi. West Holmes used the funds to purchase a new van to transport children to the organization’s child-care center.

ECD/HOPE also executed a contract with the Louisiana Primary Care Association to provide technical assistance to three community health centers in the Louisiana Delta. The contract built on the lessons learned from an earlier EMP contract with the Mississippi Primary Health Care Association to work with community health centers in Mississippi.

Enterprise development contracts were made to fund FastTrac entrepreneur education and to support BusinessLINC chapters.

ECD/HOPE funded four organizations to conduct FastTrac entrepreneur education. This entrepreneur education covers a range of topics from drafting a business plan to beginning to understand financial statements. Sixty-four participants attended FastTrac courses in the first half of 2004; ECD/HOPE anticipates that another 60 participants will receive training this year.

BusinessLINC chapters connect emerging businesses with established companies. Often the established companies provide valuable technical assistance and guidance to up-and-coming entrepreneurs. In 2004, BusinessLINC chapters will assist 30 emerging entrepreneurs.

EMP is underwritten by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation and bolstered by a major commitment from Fannie Mae. EMP is managed by the Enterprise Corporation of the Delta, one of the nation’s leading community development financial institutions. For questions about EMP or any of its funded contracts, contact Ed Sivak with ECD/HOPE at (601) 944-4174, or check out the EMP pages (http://www.ecd.org/empoverview.cfm) on the ECD Web site.

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