LITTLE ROCK — The Delta Regional Authority and nonprofit organization Operation Hope said Friday they will invest $250,000 each in an initiative to provide entrepreneurial training and education in financial literacy across the Delta region.


The Delta Region Uplift initiative will begin by focusing on six rural parishes and counties: DeSoto and Natchitoches parishes in Louisiana; Tate and Tunica counties in Mississippi; and Fayette and Haywood counties in Tennessee. In the future it will expand to more Delta communities, including communities in Arkansas, the groups said.


The initiative’s goal for 2017 is to serve more than 3,000 people and businesses.


Operation Hope will install certified financial well-being coaches in the communities to provide free one-on-one counseling and mentoring to help people manage money and credit and raise credit scores, as well as provide resources to help with the start-up and development of small businesses.


“That means more opportunities for improving credit and home ownership for individuals, support for entrepreneurs to own their own small businesses and to start their businesses and to build more successful businesses in our part of the country,” Chris Masingill, federal co-chairman of the Delta Regional Authority, said in a conference call with reporters.


The Delta Regional Authority is a federal-state partnership that promotes economic development in the Delta.


Operation Hope Chairman and CEO John Hope Bryant told reporters that improving financial literacy is vitally important because the lack of it perpetuates poverty, low self-confidence and an absence of hope.


“The most dangerous person in the world is a person with no hope,” he said.


Information about accessing the programs and services offered by Operation Hope is available at www.operationhope.org.