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“Big Idea Competition” down to 12 quarterfinalists

(EDITOR’S NOTE: The following news release was provided by the Knoxville Chamber.)

After sifting through dozens of applications, the Knoxville Chamber, The Development Corporation of Knox County, and Tech 20/20 are proud to present this year’s quarterfinalists in the What’s the Big Idea!? Business Plan Competition. The competition is sponsored by Rodefer Moss and Company.

“All of the applications were very impressive and we’re excited to move forward with these twelve quarterfinalists,” Todd Napier, executive vice president of The Development Corporation said. “Nurturing start-ups and small businesses is a big part of what we do and we’re proud to have Rodefer Moss, the Knoxville Chamber, and Tech 20/20 helping inspire entrepreneurs.”

The 12 quarterfinalists are:

  • Casenova Backpack - Innovative backpack design
  • Dine Touch - Smartphone integration of the dining experience
  • Energy Video Game - Energy awareness video game
  • Games Plus - Mobile video gaming theater
  • IdentID - Web-based credentialing service to assist emergency responders
  • Infinite Aero Solutions - Unmanned aerial vehicles for law enforcement agencies
  • Line Shark - Professional audio output for mobile devices
  • Megnetics - Shoe appearance alteration product
  • Perpetual Inventory - Perpetual inventory counting device for high volume SKUs
  • Squish - Silicon water bottle for easy travel and use
  • Virtuous Products - “Sedonite” product for counter top industry and outdoor furniture industry
  • Winning Diabetics - Multi-lingual diabetic network and affordable diabetic product brand

Each quarterfinalist now advances to a series of courses led by community business leaders with a focus on developing an effective business plan that is ready to present to venture capitalists. Six semifinalists will be identified following judging of an executive summary and will then pitch their ideas to a panel of judges.

The final round of judging will take place on June 14 at the Square Room on Market Square from 5-7 p.m. The three finalists will pitch their ideas to a final set of judges and a live audience. The winner will also be announced at the event.

The winning entrepreneur will be eligible for more than $35,000 in capital and business services including:

  • $10,000 cash grant for start-up costs
  • $15,000 potential equity investment by Oak Ridge National Laboratory & CROET
  • One-year’s rent at the Fairview Technology Center
  • Services provided by: Rodefer Moss & Company (accounting), CEO Advisors (business coaching), The IT Company & Digital Crossing Networks (IT hosting and services), Kathleen Zitzman (legal services), Knoxville Chamber (membership), and Tech2020 (business coaching)

Tom Ballard

By Tom Ballard, Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurial Initiatives, Pershing Yoakley & Associates. P.C.

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