WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., Chair of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship made the following remarks after the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Delta Regional Authority (DRA) announced their partnership to improve the small business sector and expand economic development in the Delta Region. 

“More than 26 percent of families in the Louisiana Delta Region are living in poverty according to the 2000 Census,” Senator Landrieu said.  “This partnership will be improving outreach in one of the poorest clusters of parishes in the country.  

“I applaud SBA’s willingness to partner with the Delta Regional Authority.  This agreement should improve upon the deployment and coordination resources for small businesses in the Delta Region.  I look forward to working with both DRA and SBA on programs to assist small businesses and promote economic development opportunities in Louisiana Delta Parishes.”

In April of this year, Senator Landrieu sent a letter requesting the SBA to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Delta Regional Authority.  The DRA covers 252 counties/parishes in parts of eight states (Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee) including the Louisiana Delta Parishes.  The MOU would better coordinate SBA programs in these rural areas, particularly as it relates to supporting community and regional efforts as well as in identifying strategic initiatives/partnerships. 

The partnership between SBA and DRA comes following two signed Memorandums of Understanding between the SBA and the Department of Agriculture on April 22, 2010 to better coordinate programs to assist small businesses in underserved rural areas, and the SBA and the Appalachian Regional Commission on November 12, 2010 with short term goals to assist immediate capacity needs and long-term goals to build new funding strategies for a variety of projects for the region. 

To see a copy of Senator Landrieu’s letter requesting a MOU between SBA and DRA, please click here