By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA
If you were compiling a list of the key ingredients any vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem must have, what would be in your top five? I’m guessing talent would be at or near the top.
That topic is clearly on the minds of the organizers of the Knoxville Chamber’s second annual “Endeavor Summit.” The event, whose theme is “Amplify Your Impact,” helps kick-off the region’s second annual “Innov865 Week” celebration on Friday, September 15. Okay, so the week is actually eight days spotlighting entrepreneurship. Who’s counting!
“We wanted to embrace Innov865 and entrepreneurism while also curating relevant content for a broad audience of young professionals,” Kayla Smith, the Chamber’s Economic Development Marketing Manager, said. “This year, we took the foundation of last year and built on it.”
The event is a combination of general sessions – there are two keynoters – and three breakout tracks with four options to choose from. Regarding the latter, Smith called attention to the topics to underscore the emphasis on entrepreneurship and taking initiative, both professionally and personally.
- The first breakout track has four sub-sessions, all under the banner of “Launch Something New!” The sub-sessions include Jonathan Sexton of the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center and Samantha Lane, a communication professional, discussing managing sideline businesses; three local craft brewers discussing their engagement in the community; Amy Grover of Bush Brothers and Company discussing a new product launch; and Julie Ferrara of the University of Tennessee describing how emotion impacts decision-making.
- The theme of the second track is “Grow What You Got!” Sub-topics include Caleb Bolaz of U30 Group describing ways to quickly click with customers; Maria Antoinette, a blogger and entrepreneur, describing ways to understand and harness an individual’s unique personal brand; four digital specialists describing how they developed products and services that stood-out in the marketplace; and the Chief Communications Officer for Scripps Networks Interactive sharing “how the global businesses of big beat and the small screen can provide answers to the real challenges young professionals face today.”
- The final track is all about “What Makes Knoxville No. 1.” It will include sessions with historians like Jack Neely and Bob Booker discussing the city’s heritage and a special focus on South Knoxville.
Regarding the sessions on developments across the Tennessee River, Smith said that “it’s an up and coming area.” She cited Legacy Parks, the growing number of bars and restaurants, and Regal Entertainment Group’s new headquarters. “It’s the new extension of downtown,” Smith added.
Keynote speakers include one well-known local celebrity – Hallerin Hilton Hill – and New York-based Chris “Bash” Bashinelli. A former actor in shows such as the Sopranos, he is now a world traveler and host of “Bridge the Gap” on PBS and the National Geographic Channel. Bashinelli is focused on using media to build bridges between cultures.
The event begins at 7:30 a.m. September 15 with registration, breakfast and networking. The program runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. followed by a 90-minute happy hour. Tickets are $125 for individuals or $90 per person when bought in a packet of eight or more. Click here for more information and to register.