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Spring edition of “Vol Court” kicks-off late yesterday in virtual mode

The Spring edition of the “Vol Court Speaker Series and Pitch Competition” kicked-off late yesterday with the first of five sessions that culminates with the proverbial pitch competition.

Roughly two-dozen University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK) students turned-out for the opening session led by Lynn Youngs, Executive Director of the sponsoring Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the Haslam College of Business. He told the attendees that the Center will have awarded $800,000 in prize money to students through three competitions – “Vol Court,” Graves Business Plan Competition,” and “Boyd Venture Challenge” – by the end of the Spring semester.

Youngs (pictured here) focused his presentation last night on ideas vs. opportunities. “I’m here to tell you that they are not the same,” he said, noting that a real distinction is that opportunities bring a real value to a customer by solving a problem or addressing an unmet need. “The best validation of a business idea is to have customers,” Youngs added.

The next three sessions and their focus are:

  • February 9 – Customer discovery with Shawn Carson, Lecturer in the Haslam College;
  • February 16 – Franchising with UTK alumna Shelly Sun, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of BrightStar Care; and
  • February 23 – Pitching with Lia Winter, Co-Founder of Winter Innovations and inventor of the EasyWhip™ device.

Pitch night occurs March 2. All sessions are virtual and begin at 5:15 p.m. at this link.

The Scott and Dianna Roe Foundation provides the cash prize. In-kind partners include the UT Research FoundationPYA, the power behind teknovation.bizMorehous Legal GroupThree Roots Capital; and Innovative Design Inc.

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