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February 15, 2017 | Tom Ballard

“What’s the Big Idea?” finalists named for upcoming event

big-idea-2017Organizers of the annual “What’s the Big Idea?” weekend-long event have announced the finalists after receiving a record number of applications. Nearly 100 people applied to be part of the 48-hour event which begins at 6 p.m. February 24 and concludes with the pitch finale that starts at 6 p.m. February 26 at Scruff City Hall.

During the finale, each of the six finalists will pitch their refined ideas to a panel of judges, and an overall winner will be selected to receive a Big Idea Launch Package that includes access to $10,000 in start-up reimbursement costs, office space, and complimentary business services.

“What’s the Big Idea?” is presented by The Development Corporation of Knox County, Knoxville Chamber, Knoxville Entrepreneur Center (KEC), and Magnum Venus Products.

“This an amazing opportunity to make months of progress in one weekend,” said Jonathan Sexton, KEC’s Entrepreneur-in-Residence. “We give these entrepreneurs access to the best business talent in the region for 48 hours. It’s exciting, it’s exhausting, and it’s a ton of fun.”

The teams are:

  • TrapBeats (Krystal Tran & Thu Dang) – Sound dampening panels with aesthetic designs for college students or consumers living in apartment-styled homes.
  • Command Glove (Brandon Hardin, Erik Stevenson, Todd Johnson, Jon Stirling, and Van Irion) – A glove embedded with contact switches that can be easily engaged by the natural movements of the wearer’s fingers in order to control electronic devices without impeding or detracting from their current physical or mental activity. Click here for a previous article.
  • Organizational Origami (Samantha Lane) – A proprietary system dedicated to helping people visualize, prioritize, and execute the items they have to do on a daily basis.
  • Prometheus (Ruel Christopher, Jared Smith, Kaleigh Veca, Steve Mellar, Anders Brown & Nicholas Padlo) –  An integrated, customized, and detailed risk mitigation tool for the global traveler.
  • BreatheEasy (Laura Odom, Jeff Gotcher and Will McDermott) – A platform that combines a smartphone application with a web-based portal/dashboard that simplifies asthma management.
  • Urban Valle Farms (John Borden) – A provider of sustainable protein sources via the edible insect market, specifically acheta domesticus (house cricket), in the form of pulverized flour products or whole cricket.

To register for the finale, click here.


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